Firstly, huge congratulations. I know during this Covid-19 pandemic being congratulatory feels odd but a baby is the biggest source of joy you'll ever have and you deserve this time to be happy. There are positives to come out of every situation and your baby is definately one of them. I've written this guide for my clients who were scheduled in with me to have professional photo's but have had to reschedule due to self isolation and social distancing guidance, however, if this helps anyone else during this time I'll be happy.
Ready? Let's get started...
Like with most things the better the quality the better the outcome and cameras are no different. If you have a DSLR dig it out however, if you only have your phone camera you can still achieve beautiful images, in fact, most of my children's newborn pictures were taken on my iPhone!
Tips: Filters, everyone loves a good filter but just bear in mind that babies typically have crazy skin tones. Some blotchy, mottled, red, purple skin and some babies are jaundiced. Filters can sometimes make everyting look worse.
The basis for a good photo is light. Light is so important. I won't bore you with the science of it all but I will give you some guidance on how simple tweaks will hugely improve your images.
Tips: Don't take photo's in direct sunlight. I recommend trying to diffuse any light by hanging a white sheet up at the window. The sheet will act as a filter and the light will be much softer.
Direction of light will make or break you photo. Always have the light falling from the top of the babies head downwards. Don't have light illuminating a baby from below. Remember when you told scary stories as kids with a torch shining under your nose? The term used for this is 'ghoul' lighting. Yea, we don't want scary looking babies now do we?
Light has colour. Early morning light will be cool & therefore have a blue tinge, early evening light is a warm light, the best light in my opinion. Light bulbs generally throw off a very yellow colour cast so probably best to switch them off and stick with the window light.
The key is simplicity. Think about using neutral colours to create a timeless memory. You don't need any props, you can use the baby's crib or even your own bed. Choose neutral bedding and a cream blanket and you're good to go
Tips: Choose simple clothing for your baby to keep the focus on the baby rather than their outfit.
If you want to go for sleepy nude shots make sure the room in which you plan to use is VERY warm. My studio is heated to between 28 & 30° when I photograph unclothed babies. Remember that their immune systems aren't fully developed so they will feel the cold much easier. A chilly baby will not be a happy baby.
I recommend giving the baby a nice long bath, moisturising them afterwards, taking your time so they stay awake but relaxed and then make sure they have a nice full tummy. This will make them much more sleepy and settled so you can snap away.
Clear the decks. Literally, clear all the clutter away and only have things in the room you don't mind being in the photos. Our eyes are drawn to obvious objects in a photo. I'm sure we would rather be captivated by the baby than anything else distracting.
Let's be honest babies look cute from any angle however, there are some things to bear in mind.
As you know, if someone has ever taken an unflattering photo of us we usually blame it on the angle. The angle can emphasize things we'd prefer to hide and can make featues seem bigger than they actually are. It's the same with a baby. If you get too close you can distort the shape of a baby's head or enlarge their cute little nose.
Finally, don't take a photo with their feet closest to the camera. Their feet will look like the BFG's!
You probably won't believe me when I say that newborns are different every day but my eldest is way taller than me now and if it wasn't for photo's I would've forgotten so much. It's important to capture all of them including the little milia spots on their nose, their flakes, wrinkly hands and feet, their tiny eyelashes and all the fuzzy hair all over their little body.
Don't forget to get in the frame. Take it in turns with your partner and document feeds, cuddles, even nappy changes. You are making memories, embrace and capture the chaos.
Remember, you will have all day everyday with your precious baby so if you're energy leves are low and you can only manage a few photo's then give yourself a break and do some more tomorrow. Above all, enjoy the process of capturing your precious bundle and think of all those beautiful images you'll be able to put together to show your precious loved ones.
I hope you've found this little guide useful.
Stay safe, Jemma xx