tiny newborn cuddling his teddy in cute red hat and red blankets
Newborn Photography

How to Take Great NEWBORN Photos Yourself

 

Great Newborn Photography Ideas

If you have a bundle of joy on the way, you’ve probably considered having a newborn photography photoshoot. Unfortunately, the coronavirus (Covid-19) means that soon-to-be mums will have to postpone their professional photography sessions for now. But don’t let that get in the way of your newborn photography plans! We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks so you can take gorgeous newborn photos at home.

Optimise the natural lighting for your newborn photos

As with almost all types of photography, you’re going to need great natural lighting! So, be sure to set up your DIY photoshoot in whichever room gets the most light. Perhaps it’s your bedroom or the lounge-room? Either way, both spots can make for great DIY photoshoots.

To really get the most out of natural lighting, don’t have the light directly onto your baby, position your set up just back from any direct light, the light will then be lovely and soft. Babies are generally best to be photographed in the morning, soon after a satisfying feed when they are ready to nod off back to sleep. Later in the afternoons is known as the “witching hour” where they can be more unsettled, hungry and not likely to co-operate. 

 

 
yawning newborn on zebra print in the studio
Take your newborn photos early on

When photographing newborns, it’s important to photograph them when they’re really new. We recommend photographing them no later than 3-4 weeks. If your baby is already older than this, there’s no need to worry! You can, of course, still take beautiful photographs. However, babies are often more restless and wake easily after about 4 weeks. So, if you’re wanting to capture those peaceful newborn photographs, it’s best to start taking photos as soon as you feel comfortable, especially within the first 10 days.

 

newborn photos are best taken early whilst settled

DIY home studio

To really get that “professional” feel, set up your own DIY studio! This can be as easy as finding the best lighting in the house, and setting up a backdrop for your photography session. You can use a clean bed sheet or a throw rug to create a simple backdrop. We recommend using a bed sheet with a simple design to ensure you don’t risk detracting from the main focus: your little one! Place several layers of towels underneath for comfort and any accidents, more on that later. Perhaps put all the towels and sheet in the dryer for a short while before to warm them up and have a happy baby!

You can also go to town with cute props and accessories! Headbands and cute hats are a crowd favourite, as well as soft cuddle toys, flowers and beautiful wraps that you can style alongside your newborn.

 

pink newborn props with sleeping baby girl

Keep the room warm enough for your newborn

It’s important to keep the room at a comfortable temperature, particularly if you’re planning on taking nude newborn photographs. If the room is too cold or too warm, you’ll find that your baby is less comfortable and you mightn’t be able to snap peaceful newborn photos.

Don’t leave the nappy off for too long!

This is an important and all too often forgotten tip! You’ve probably seen plenty of beautiful nude newborn shoots, and would love to take similar photos of your own newborn. What you don’t see is the pile of washing most Newborn photographers have afterwards. We recommend positioning your baby in a pose before removing the nappy fully to avoid any surprises.

 

newborn photos with nappy off

Don’t forget the rest of the family!

If you have older children and/or a partner, it’s a great idea to get them involved in the photoshoot too. Big brother or sister can hold the little one whilst you take some candid shots of them in awe of the new little person in their arms. But be warned: oftentimes young children won’t stick around too long, especially if they’re getting bored! So have an idea of how you’d like to shoot (i.e. poses and angles) before you ask them to join the photoshoot. Laying them down together and photographing from above is probably the safest position when toddlers are involved.

include the siblings, black and white of big sister giving her new brother a cuddle

Include yourself in the photos with your newborn

This is a step new mothers often forget! Although you might feel exhausted and think you don’t look your best, make sure to include yourself in the newborn photos too. Trust me, you’ll be thankful to have these photos to look back on.

 

include yourself in photos, soft high key black and white of newborn and mum wrapped in tulle

Ask for help

If you have someone at home who you can enlist as a helper, then you should absolutely ask them! This can be especially useful if you want to include yourself in the photos. However, if you don’t have anyone at home to help, then we recommend using a tripod (or simply propping your camera on a table) and setting your phone or camera on a timer.

Capture all the little details

If you’re using your mobile phone, turn portrait mode on and take some close-ups! It’s all about capturing those little tiny details that you want to have immortalised forever. Those teeny tiny toes? Photograph them! The littlest of fingers? Yep, get them on camera!

capture all the details, little newborn toes

Keep it super simple

You don’t need to stress yourself by expecting perfect photos. The odds are, you’re probably super tired. You are a new mother after all! So, the best way to ensure stress-free newborn photos, is to keep it simple. We recommend using a simple background with little to no clutter in the background. A simple photoshoot on white bedsheets with plenty of natural lighting and a camera is more than enough for a great photoshoot!

keep it super simple, white background newborn photos

Take your time

Capturing stunning newborn photographs won’t happen on the spot. It will take some time before you have photographs that you’re delighted with. But don’t give up! The key to taking perfect newborn photos is simply having patience. Play some peaceful music in the background and get comfortable as you take photographs of your new baby.

You don’t need to do it all at once

The beauty of taking DIY newborn photos is that you can do it on your own time. Photographers need to capture perfect images in a matter of hours. You’ve got several weeks to take your time and capture beautiful images when you have the energy.

Take lots of photos

There’s no limit to the number of photos you can take, and the more you take, the better your chances of capturing that one perfect photo. So, go all out and snap as many photos as your heart desires.

take lots of photos of your newborn, expressions

*MOST IMPORTANT – PLEASE DO NOT DO – you will see some popular newborn poses, the “frog pose” being one that comes to mind and baby’s appearing to hang peacefully in slings, asleep on shelves, etc, please DO NOT try to do these at home. These are created by professionals, blending several images in photoshop, the babies head and body is supported at all times. At no time should you ever place your baby in an unsafe position for a photo, their little heads and necks are not strong enough to hold themselves up in some of the photos you may have seen. The safety of your precious little one should always be priority number one!

Edit your photos afterwards

The last tip is also one of the most important ones! Good editing skills can make a world of difference. Learning to use Adobe Lightroom could be a great idea, otherwise you can simply play around with the editing apps on your phone! 

 

edit your photos, before and after

And, of course, once things return to normal and we’re able to resume the regular schedule, Julie is available to capture perfect childhood photographs for you. In the meantime, take a look at her newborn portfolio for inspiration.

professionally crafted photo layouts on art paper

This article is written in collaboration with Babysits – the babysitting community of Australia. If you’re looking for babysitters in Melbourne, be sure to check us out! For more parenting tips, you can also check out our helpful community resources.