Tips for photographing your newborn baby at home

Although we hope that Lockdown “3” will be over as soon as possible, we realise that many new parents may miss out on the opportunity of taking a newborn photoshoot session with us, simply because the usual time limit on this type of photography (normally up until baby is around 2 weeks of age) means that due to the national lockdown regulations, we are unable to offer this type of photoshoot. Because of this, we are going to try to give you some tips on how to get the best out of your home photos with your newborn.

Please remember that professional, newborn photography is highly skilled and an art that is learnt through years of experience.  We can only offer advice on how to do the best you can with whatever you have available to hand so that, at least you have a record of these precious first days with your newborn.

If you happen to own a good quality DSLR camera then knowing what the various settings are for will give you a good head-start but most families use camera phones or i-pads to take pictures of their children so we’ve based the following information on the probability that this is how you will be planning for your newborn home shoot.

First – make sure you turn off any filters, camera smoothing or other effects of any kind and that your camera setting is on the highest resolution possible.  This is really important to do in advance – imagine taking a great picture only to discover that your image won’t print to anything bigger than a passport size photo because of poor quality!  The higher the resolution setting on your camera, phone or tablet, the better.  This way you will get the best chance of bigger and clearer prints from your images.

Next – find the biggest and brightest room in your home. A bedroom with great natural light through a window would be perfect as you can use the bed as a prop but a room with a large patio window would also work well.  However, what you don’t want is for too much direct sunlight to stream through onto baby’s skin as this can cause areas on your image where detail is lost through over-lighting. So think about how the light works in whichever area you are planning to use – you will need to choose a time of day where the light is more balanced and evenly distributed to get the best result.

Have a look around your home for various fabric textures that might add some interest to the shots and compliment your baby’s skin tones.  Some colours work better than others, depending on baby’s skin tones. Things like cushion covers, duvet covers, chunky knit blankets and soft throws can all be used as backgrounds but try to keep to neutral or pastel colours for backgrounds and choose things that aren’t too patterned as these can look too “busy” on your finished images.

If you plan to photograph your baby so that they are showing lots of bare skin, make sure that the room is warm enough. Turn the temperature up, even if you feel warm yourself.

If taking photos of your baby wearing clothing, make sure you try to keep things simple – no heavy patterns or very bright colours as these will dominate the image. Also, try to avoid clothing with things like fussy collars as these almost never seem to lay flat and can spoil your picture by hiding part of baby’s face.  If you do want to photograph your baby in an outfit, make sure it fits well.  Newborn sizing tends to vary hugely and your baby may be swamped if you choose something that doesn’t fit well.

When you start to photograph your baby, make sure that you try to always have the main source of light in the room (ideally a large window or patio door) to the side or above baby’s head.  Never position baby with their feet closest to the light.

Always ensure that you have somewhere secure to place baby while taking your photos and make sure that you have someone else in the room with you who can stay right next to your baby at all times to ensure their safety.  Do not be tempted to use a cot or moses basket as this will create shadows on baby.  If you use a blanket, as a backdrop, make sure you smooth out as many creases as possible as these will be distracting on the finished image. Never leave your baby alone with any kind of “soft” prop such as blankets or cuddly toys, even for a moment and please always follow the safety advice you will have been given by your midwife or health visitor – if you are unsure please take a look at The Lullaby Trust website or similar for guidance on safety for your newborn.

When you begin to take your home photos, stand over your baby and try to shoot straight down over them, shooting down baby’s nose rather than up (it’s a much better angle and is much more flattering!).  Don’t forget to make sure that you hold on tight to your phone/i-pad or camera strap so that there is no risk of dropping it onto your baby.

If you are using an area of a room with distracting objects in the background, take a test shot first and see whether you need to move anything out of the way. Declutter as much as possible, before you start, or make sure you get closer to baby when you take your photo.

Please only use simple posing positions – your professional newborn photographer has had years of training when it comes to putting babies into safe positions and many of the images you have seen on professional newborn photography websites are created as “composite” images, by blending and editing several photographs together to achieve the finished result.  Never place your baby at risk by attempting unnatural poses or using unsuitable props.

Some simple poses you could try might include baby on their back with a blanket pulled up to just under their chin, baby on their front with their head turned towards to side where the light is coming from (you could try gently placing baby’s hand under their face for an additional photo). You could also carefully position them on their side by placing a small rolled up towel behind their back so that they don’t roll back and startle.  This would be a great way to capture some close up detail of those beautiful lashes, rosebud lips and also those gorgeous baby fingers and toes (these can make a great collection of photos to put in a frame etc). Make sure you remove any “props” or posing ads as soon as you have taken your photos and make sure that your baby is returned to a “safe sleep” position.

We really hope these tips and wrinkles will help you capture images of your new-born baby in a way that you will treasure and help you make a lasting memory of those early days together but please contact us on 01249 816707 or via email if you need any further help.

Most of all, we want to wish you well on the amazing journey that is parenthood and hope to see you and your family in the studio at Hallmark Photography in the not too distant future.


Best wishes

Kevin & Jayne