There is probably no more exciting time in life than the birth of a newborn baby. For many moms and dads, it’s the reason they got into photography in the first place. These pictures are the ones you’ll keep looking at for years to come. That’s why it’s so important to get them right, and to do it within the limited 3 to 4 month time window you have before they start growing up. Here are a few tips for taking timeless newborn baby pictures.
Turn The Flash Off
Nothing ruins the gentle and kind atmosphere of newborn baby pictures more than the harsh light from a flash. To get the best newborn baby pictures, you’ll want to be in a room with big windows that can take in all of the light from outside. Make sure this room also has white walls that reflect the light, brightening everything up. If you don’t have a room like this in your own house, find a friend who does.
You can also take pictures outside, but be aware that you’re exposing your little one to the elements. This might limit the time you have to take the photos, especially if it’s a little chilly or a bit too warm outside. Newborns will start crying if they’re uncomfortable, so it’s best to keep the shoot inside if you can.
Shoot In Aperture Priority Mode
Choose Aperture Priority Mode and pick F5.6 or F4. These two apertures are for portraits, and they basically blur out the background to emphasize your newborn’s face. Just place your newborn on a blanket and get down to his or her level to take the picture. Focus on your newborn’s face and snap the photo. With these aperture settings, only your newborn’s face will be in focus. The rest of the scene will have a softer focus, creating a much more soothing image.
Try Different Angles, But Make Sure You Get Down To The Newborn’s Level
There are all kinds of different angles you can use for newborn photography, but make sure you at least get a few candid portraits at eye level. Many new parents just snap images from above, and these don’t do much justice to your newborn. They make your newborn look less dignified. When you take the picture from eye level, your newborn looks like his/her own person.
I will offer this one caveat. A direct overhead picture of a newborn can turn out quite good, especially if you place your newborn on circular blanket or some other symmetrical bed. The purpose of doing this is to create a symmetrical image. That means getting rid of any other distractions that might take away from the symmetry.
Which Brings Me To My Next Point…
Reduce Clutter As Much As You Can.
You really want to focus on the newborn with these images. That means getting rid of bottles, toys, and anything else that could get in the way of your shot. I usually limit my newborn pictures to three things. It’s okay to have the baby, a blanket, and a parent. That’s it. I suppose you can add in some other decor, but it needs to be consistent, and it should have a theme. Rose petals are one such example.
Make Sure You Take Your Newborn Pictures At The Right Time
As any parent knows, newborn babies often work on their own schedules. They aren’t going to cooperate if they haven’t been fed or rested. The ideal time to take pictures of newborns is right after they’ve done both. Usually that means feeding them, letting them take a nap, and then taking pictures just as they’re waking up.
Newborn babies aren’t really going to pose in your images, so you’ll need to do all of the posing for them. Just make sure they’re comfortable through the process by making tiny adjustments. The last thing you want is for them to start crying and ruin the whole shoot because you were being impatient.
One More Thing. Try Black And White.
Black and white images of newborns will never go out of style, and with digital photography, you can take all of your pictures in color and then make them black and white later on. Look at all of your images in black and white (checkout my article on creating black and white images for help), and then pick the ones you like.
Care to share your favorite pictures of your newborn son or daughter? I’d love to see them. Upload them to our baby gallery. Make sure you tell us a little bit about how you captured the image in the description.