>How To Take Great Newborn Photos

>Newborn babies are so awesome, especially when they aren’t yours and you can hold them and smell their heads but give them back. Which is why I love to photograph them so much. So today that’s what I’m going to talk about. I’ll give you just a few tips for how to bring out the best in your newborn photos.

But FIRST! I must introduce to you my new niece, who inspired this post, born on Sunday morning. My mom’s husband’s daughter Jenny gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Kayla, born at 7 lbs 9 oz and with the cutest cheeks and blonde hair ever. Here she is!

Unfortunately she’s way up north and I live way down south, so I won’t be able to meet her until maybe this summer. She’ll look much different by them I’m sure. 
Ok so now a bit about photographing newborns. The best time to capture them in all their new, sleepy, cuddliness is within the first two weeks. After that they become less sleepy and easily curled up into a tiny ball, and they start to get that baby acne and cradle cap that moms hate to see in their photos. The exception to this is with preemies, like this little one who was five weeks or so early.
Another tip of mine is to make sure baby has a full belly before you start the shoot. That definitely helps him sleep. Also he is used to the warmth of the womb so it’s a great idea to crank up the heat in the room, so high that you may start sweating. I’ve even used heating pads or hot water bottles underneath a blanket. 
Speaking of blankets, make sure you have extras on hand, because naked newborns WILL pee on them. I have several colors, blue for boys, pink for girls, cream and chocolate brown. More than that actually. All very big, solid colors and with fuzzy texture. I will either wrap them around a pillow and stuff them in a basket, as seen above, or drape them over a bean bag chair, which is how I got this shot below. 
With newborns, I go very easy on the props and backgrounds. Simplicity is my M.O. I like naked babies, with the except of the occasional tutu or bow on baby girls like this one. 
Also don’t forget to focus in on the details of these newborns, because they grow SO fast and you will want to remember every little thing about their tiny fingers and toes. I do a slight amount of skin smoothing in my post-processing with Lightroom but I don’t go overboard because it’s the realness of their delicate skin that makes these photos great. I don’t like photos that are so retouched they look like plastic dolls. 
One more very important tip! Use natural light. Window light is the best, so pick a time of day that the sun shines brightly into a big window…french doors even. Then make sure the flash is off, use a prime lens if you can, like a 50mm at f-1.8 and as low an ISO as possible, ideally 200. Play around with the aperture to find the shot with exactly what you want in focus and the rest out of focus. Sometimes if you want the whole baby in focus, or in the case below…both babies…you will need to make sure the aperture isn’t TOO low. I’ve made this mistake before with portraits of multiple people and been disappointed with the results. Don’t trust your LCD screen either, it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s tack sharp and what’s not on that tiny screen. 
If you’re like me, you will beg people to let you take photos of their brand new babies. Go for it, practice, practice, practice! Oh and if you can, bring a baby handler along with you to help rock and pose the baby while you get ready, aim, and shoot. 
I hope this post is helpful to someone, even if it is just an excuse for me to show off some of my favorite photos. There are tons more where these came from!
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4 responses to this post.

  1. >…..and who is the best baby handler ever???

    Reply

  2. >Alexis Moretti is THE BEST baby handler EVAH. No doubt about that one. I would imagine she is available for hire.

    Reply

  3. >Yes, that's a perfect opportunity to grab your new DSLR and a few blankets and practice!

    Reply

  4. >Thanks for sharing these great tips…Now that I'm armed with a DSLR I'm so excited about learning to photograph babies…I hadn't thought of begging friends to go take pictures of their babies, but I should do that – my friend had a baby 2 days ago…but I do have to find the time I guess…amber 🙂

    Reply

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