I’m sure you would agree, nothing is better than a squishy, new baby- NOTHING! Bringing your brand new baby home from the hospital is such a special time, you want to remember it and capture it forever. I know too well now how much they change in just a month or two so taking their newborn photos is so important.
My husband and I decided to have a professional do our daughter’s newborn photos but there’s no way around it – Newborn photos are pricey! If money is an issue or you have other reasons, you can take some gorgeous pictures yourself. I’m here to give some tips and tricks to DIY that all on your own.
Holding your Newborn Photo Shoot within the First Ten Days
Newborn photos are best when the baby pretty much sleeps all day and can be easily moved without waking. This is your sweet spot and you should plan to do your pictures in this time frame.
Setup Everything you Need for your Photo Shoot in the Morning
You want everything ready beforehand because you are going to feed and play with your baby. As soon as they start to fall asleep, that is the time to get those newborn photos done.
Set Aside at Least an Hour to Take all the Photos
You want to set aside enough time to get the photos and poses you want. Most babies nap for an hour or so at a time at this age so, take full advantage of her sleepy state. This way they are easier to move around and get them in those cute poses that everyone ooooohhhhh and aaaahhhhhs about.
Babies Look the Most Darling Naked
You don’t really want them naked for an entire hour because you will have lots of messes to deal with but, they sell the most adorable little diaper covers you can get the cute effect of them being naked. This is really not the time to put them in some little dress or suit, there will be plenty of time for that later. Newborn photos are all about remembering your baby in their most natural state.
Find a window with some good natural light
This isn’t the time for using a flash; you could disturb baby and it just won’t look as natural. So just go ahead and disable it on whatever you are using to take your photos. You want all natural night if you can swing it. If not, use as much as you can. You can use a softbox or a ring light to add a little more light but still keep the natural light. We’ll go over setup in just a little bit.
Use What You Got
If you happen to have a DSL, I would suggest a 50mm 1.4 if you have a full sensor camera, if you own a crop, go for the 30mm 1.4 instead. If you haven’t mastered Manual yet, go ahead and shoot in auto. If you have another type of camera, use it. Even if all you have is a phone camera, that’s fine, too! Use whatever you got. Don’t worry about going out and buying something new. You’ll get some great shots and capture your memories on whatever device you have already.
Set it all up
- Find yourself the biggest window with the most light in your home.
- You want the baby to be off the ground so elevate her onto a chair, table or counter. (Be careful!!! Brace her, surround her with barriers and make sure she’s secure before ever taking your hand off her and only do this with newborns who can’t roll over.)
- Use a whiteboard for the background. You can add blankets or fabrics later.
- A soft pillow or boppy adds support and allows you to position baby comfortably.
- Someone to position and spot the baby (Try asking a neighbor or a family member that’s desperate for some baby time.)
- A tarp or plastic to protect the furniture and floor (if baby isn’t wearing a diaper).
Some Extras You May Want to Have on Hand
- Some different blankets with color and textures
- Pacifier, if your baby takes one
- Some sweet hats or headbands (I’ve linked some below for you)
- A space heater or maybe just turn up the temperature in your house
- White noise machine or the Shhh app on your phone
What You Should Photograph
You’ll want to remember those sweet little hands so don’t forget to capture them. It’s always cute to put your wedding rings on their hands or their cute little feet. Their faces change so much in the months to come so make sure you get every facet of their face. A full-length shot is a must have and so is one on their tummies. If you can incorporate your husband hand or yours in these shots, too. Doing so is extra nice because you get a good measure of their true size (spoiler: ultra teeny) when you do this. All-in-all, just be sure you are capturing the best parts of your little one. (So let’s be honest; that entire sweet baby.
And there you have it! All the information you need to take your baby’s first photos! Below I’ve linked all the cute things you may need or want to get for your shoot. But really, just use what you have available to you! If you decide to do a DIY newborn shoot, email me a gorgeous memory you were able to capture!