My son is just 12 weeks old and I took his pictures for the first time today. Well, I mean, I have about a million iPhone pictures - but hadn’t taken any with my Nikon. Life is busy with a newborn; between his fits of crying and trying to get stuff done during the quiet times when he sleeps, there just never seemed like a great time for pictures. But today I made it a priority and we spent some time with blankets and pillows in the backyard. I quickly found out that taking his pictures were not as easy as I anticipated, especially because he’s the kind of babe that gets upset unless you’re giving him all your attention. And by all your attention, I mean making direct eye contact at all times. Looking at him through the camera lens makes him irritable. So, although I still have a few things to learn about taking newborn pictures, I thought I would give you a quick list of the tips I used to take my sons photos.
KEEP A BOTTLE OF MILK ON HAND
My sweet boy is a chub & he loves his milk. I made sure he wasn’t filled to the brim before we took our pictures, but full enough to be happy for a while. When he seemed like he was getting upset that I wasn’t staring right at him, I gave him a sip of milk from his favorite bottle and it instantly calmed him down.
MAKE SURE BABY FEELS COMFORTABLE
Make sure babe is dressed in clothes that are comfortable and have blankets on hand to keep them snuggly and warm. Yeah, this seems like a no-brainer, but we’re excited to take our little one’s pictures, we’re focused on the setting and the lighting, and it’s easy to forget that the cute headbands can be uncomfortably tight, the diapers can get twisted, or that their sweet baby toes quickly get cold without socks.
SHOOT IN THE SHADE
Again, for those of us who take pictures frequently, this is a no-brainer - shooting in direct sunlight is extremely difficult and usually makes for bad photos. But for those who don’t know, shooting in the shade on a sunny day provides the perfect amount of natural light. This is also important for an outdoor newborn shoot because sunlight can hurt baby's eyes, s/he probably won’t even want to open their eyes very wide, and it isn’t good for their fresh baby-soft skin!
TURN YOUR CAMERA’S SOUND ON
Make sure your camera’s silent mode isn’t on. I found that my son looked at the camera when he could hear the beeps and clicks, trying to figure out what was making that funny noise! If you don’t have a noisy camera, try clicking your tongue or making cooing noises to get baby’s attention.
PILLOWS, BLANKETS, & MORE PILLOWS
Babies are floppy little creatures! They need lots of support and cushion so you can adjust them as needed. I used my Boppy pillow and threw a solid colored blanket over the top of it so I could prop babe up and support him on either side so he wasn’t flopping over. Blankets and pillows with fun textures make for an additional photographic element and can add some fun color to your shoot.