They’re more important than senior class pictures, get more exposure than a drivers license photo, and serve as a visual debut to the world… The birth announcement photo! If you’re like me, newborn photo announcements are a standard parent operating procedure. I have a huge collection of my friends’ and families’ newborn announcements, most of which are still stuck to my fridge.
Professional newborn photos are wonderful, but if cash is tight you can hit up Target and Sears photo studios for a newborn shoot for less than $100.
Better yet, if you’ve got a decent camera, some flair, and a bit of time, you do your own newborn shoot.
DIY Newborn Shoot – ten tips to get you started
1. Do it early! The first few days is ideal. Anything before 10 days works. After that babies don’t sleep as deeply, so you can’t pose them as easily. Also, after 10 days newborns start to get baby acne and God forbid your little one has a blemish for his first photo!
2. Bring a space heater. Even if it’s summertime, newborns get the chillies something fierce when they’re changing clothes or in their birthday suit. A space heater on the spot will help make things comfy for your munchkin model.
3. Wait until baby is good and sleepy before you start your newborn shoot. This way you can pose her however you like. If you catch your baby in the first few days of her life, this won’t be a problem. But if, like us, you try to do the photos around day seven or beyond, be prepared to twiddle your thumbs for an hour or so until the newborn is snoozing steadily.
4. Be sure baby’s recently fed and changed. If you want to prevent a mid-photo-mishap, change your baby right before the newborn shoot. You’ll also want to be sure he’s well-fed, relaxed and content.
5. Pose baby on a beanbag or a bunch of pillows. This soft perch will enable you to set her into various positions in a safe and comfortable manner. Of course you never want to leave baby unattended in such a setting!
6. Get a black backdrop. Want those classic black and white photos of baby isolated against a black background? Grab a large piece of black fabric, blanket, or anything similar, drape it over your beanbag, perhaps pin it to your wall behind you, and, voilà, instant home studio.
7. Think texture. If you want something more interesting than the black backdrop, think textures. Shoot baby against a thickly woven blanket, fuzzy fleece, or a corduroy cloth. These patterns pick up nicely in photographs and create an organic feel.
8. Experiment with settings. We’re used to seeing photos of babies in cribs, in beds, the bath, etc. But how about asleep on dad’s chest, nestled inside of a box, or positioned atop a decorative rug? Unexpected settings can add visual interest to your shots. Of course, you want to be extra careful with creative settings too! Most of the amazing pro photos have a spotter’s hand in the shot to keep baby safe, and then is later photoshopped out of the photo. Don’t ever pose baby in a precarious position and then step back to take a photo.
9. Sink to their level. Great photography’s all about perspective. Experiment with photos down at your baby’s level. Your shots will feel like you’ve entered the baby’s world rather than looking down on them.
10. Seek inspiration from the pros. Do a Google image search for newborn photography. Browse some of the most popular photographer’s blogs. Or hit up Flickr for some inspirado for your newborn shoot.
Please add to our list! Any tips you can share with us on having a great newborn shoot?