You guys were super excited about this blog post, so I made it a priority to write it as soon as I could. I’m going to cover how to take great pictures of newborns at home. If babies aren’t your thing, keep on scrolling — we’ll get to adults on my Instagram!
This is Nora in her natural state — hanging out on a playmat, covered in toys. When I’m taking pictures for Instagram, though, things tend to look a bit more ~aesthetic.~ I never want to make Nora sit for a long photoshoot, especially at this age, so I’ve perfected my strategy and am excited to share it with you. If you’re sending out birth announcements and want a cute picture to put on the cards, read on for tips that will help.
How To Take Great Pictures Of Newborns At Home
1. Pick The Right Location
Her nursery has a nice window, so I love shooting in there. I have to rearrange things to make it work, but one important thing to remember when shooting indoors is that placing your subject in front of a window will usually give you really nice light on their face and body. I pull back the curtains in her nursery to make sure it’ll be bright enough for any pictures. If you’re taking a picture of someone in a room with a window, open the curtains and have them stand facing the light source.
Natural light makes pictures so much easier, so consider the time of day before you take pictures. I usually aim for when’s the house is brightest, which is around 1 or 2 p.m., but I’ve taken pictures right before sunset and been fine. I can’t emphasize enough how much lighting If you only read one thing in this post, let it be this: You need to understand light to compose a good picture.
2. Add Props
I’m often holding a coffee mug, cup, or cocktail in hand in my pictures, because my hands feel awkward otherwise. While Nora isn’t old enough for coffee, I still surround her with props to make a picture seem more complete. Stuffed animals, shoes, toys — anything can work. Just lay the baby on a flat surface and include a few knickknacks in your picture. You can play around with it to figure out what works! Nora is quickly outgrowing the Moses basket pictured above, but when she was a teeny baby, it was my go-to for pictures of her.
3. Take The Picture!
When you’re moving with a baby, you have to move FAST. I usually stand over Nora in front of a window, and push the shutter button on my iPhone repeatedly until I’m satisfied that I have a winner. Once I do, I edit the picture with the Tezza app on iPhone and adjust lighting, contrast, and colors. Then I’m done! I used edit my pictures exclusively in Lightroom, but I try to use mobile apps these days for convenience’s sake.
Here’s what my camera roll looks like when I do this, by the way. Practice makes perfect! I can usually take all the pictures I need to in a matter of minutes, but don’t be afraid to take your time, especially with a newborn — they’re a lot less wiggly than older infants. If you take a live photo, you’re able to select the best frame and often find a better picture than you would otherwise. Babies change their faces up a lot, so having options is a good thing.
4. Time The Picture Right
Timing is everything. Imagine if you were hungry, or tired, or sitting in your own poop (seriously hoping that isn’t something you’re doing!) and someone asked you to smile big for a picture. If you’re anything like me, you’d probably want to curse them out instead. I want to make sure Nora is as comfortable as possible when I’m taking pictures of her.
That means a fresh diaper change and a feed before taking any pictures. I will sometimes do mini-photoshoots when she’s tired just because she less squirmy and more likely to cooperate. I try to remember that babies have limits to their patience, just like adults do! If she seems cranky or uncomfortable, I immediately stop what I’m doing. At the end of the day, her happiness is way more important to me than a picture, and she’s not a doll for me to play with (although she honestly looks like one).
Professional Photographers vs. iPhone Photography
In the age of COVID, it’s totally valid to decide against having a stranger in your home, taking pictures of your baby. Or maybe you can’t afford a newborn photographer — baby photography isn’t cheap, with some photographers charging thousands of dollars. Can you use an iPhone for newborn photography instead of shelling out a ton of money? The answer is complicated. DIY baby photos can look great, especially if you have an eye for composition. But if these are the only pictures you’ll have of your baby, you might want to hire a photographer for a newborn photoshoot.
I hired a newborn photographer and life ended up so chaotic after I gave birth that I had to cancel. But if I did it again and had the choice, I would hire someone. Many of the photos you see on Pinterest of newborn baby posing are taken by photographers who have extensive training and knowledge of Photoshop photo editing. Attempting to take pictures of your newborn at home like this without any prior experience could be dangerous. When I take newborn photos of Nora, I usually prop her in a basket or bassinet to make sure she stays safe.
I hope this has been helpful and you feel like you know how to take great pictures of newborns at home — my goal is to empower you to try something new. Now head to Instagram to watch my video for posing adults! And let me know in the comments, have you attempted to DIY newborn pictures using your iPhone? How did it go if you have?