You’ve had your little one and I’m absolutely heartbroken that I won’t be the one to capture your newborn images for you. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. The newborn phase is precious, even more so in such a difficult time. So I wanted to put together some tips and tricks to help you get some DIY baby photos at home, either on your smart phone or a dSLR.
For the best results set up near a large window. Direct sunlight will create harsh shadows so choose a time during the day when it is light outside but there is no direct sunlight coming through the window. This will leave you with a nice, soft, flattering light. Your baby will need to be at a 45 degree angle to the window, with their head closest to the window.
Get set up before you start settling your baby for their photoshoot. Use a beanbag, a large sofa cushion, a pouffe, or the bed and cover it with a blanket. Your little one will lie on top of the blanket but you may want to have some flannels, small towels, scarfs (or similar) nearby that you can put under the blanket to help provide padding and support your little one. If you can pull your blanket tight (attaching it to something can help), this will help give a smoother background on your final image with less distractions.
The best time to take your newborn images will be after they have had a feed, they have a nice full tummy and they are nice and sleepy. Take your time with it and enjoy it. You can always do it in a few parts if your little one isn’t quite as settled as you would like.
For natural portraits in the home, I would recommend having your baby either naked or in a plain white short sleeve vest. If you have a stretchy scarf you could always have a go at a wrapped image. See the video for advice on how to wrap.
For those of you that follow my work and my page, you will know how seriously I take safety. There are many newborn poses that would be very dangerous to try without adequate training. A number of them are composite images which means they are created from multiple images. I will guide you through some basic newborn posing – please don’t try the more complex poses at home.
For all your images you will want to focus on the eye closest to you. If you are using your phone, tap on the eye to focus on it. On a dSLR you will need to use the focal points and use one over the eye. I recommend trying keep baby’s eyes level with the horizontal in your images.
Lay your baby on their back on the blanket that you have set up. Gently bring their legs up on top of their tummy and place a support under their bum and their head. If you are photographing your baby on a flat surface you may want to roll up a blanket and make a little nest for your baby. This will help them feel supported as well as help keep their little legs up. If you have a long scarf, you may want to wrap this in a circle around the baby for added support and to capture a variety of images.
Once they are in a position that you are happy with shoot from above. Shoot down the nose, you don’t want to be able to see up the nostrils as this will be very unflattering.
Try to shoot from different angle and get some close ups of eyelashes, lips, hands and feet.
Then without moving your little one, fold the blanket over them as if they are tucked up in bed. You can add in a teddy here if you like. I often have parents bring along baby’s first teddy and you can get a lovely image here.
Close ups of eye lashes, feet, hands can also be really beautiful. Remember, they are only this tiny for such a short amount of time. Capturing those tiny details is important.
Another very easy image to capture in baby lying in Dad’s arms. Dad will need to be sitting on kneeling with his arms together resting on the bed (or similar), palms facing upwards. At no point is baby lifted in the air during this pose, it is captured on a black background and edited afterwards (please see the end of the blog to find my offer of editing). Place baby on Dad’s arms and ensure they are secure. Photograph this image from above, again making sure that you are not able to see up the nostrils.
Siblings? Here is a pose which you can try. For this make sure that your children are lying on something soft, you may want to fold a duvet up on the floor and then cover it with a rug or blanket. In this pose baby’s head is resting on her older brother’s arm. Babies can be pretty heavy for young siblings so you may want to put something under babies head and siblings arm to help support them both. Either way, I would aim to set this pose up and capture it as quickly as you can. You will also need another adult who can sit very closely to the children whilst you take the photo. Young siblings may move without necessarily thinking about their baby brother or sister- this can be avoided if another adult is there to help.
Safety is the most important consideration during newborn photoshoots. Please stick to these basic poses and do not try to replicate the images you see on my page/ instagram or pinterest. Without appropriate training newborn photography can be dangerous and harmful to your baby. Some images are created with parents hands on baby and edited afterwards, some are combination of more than one image put together in photoshop.
I hope this has been useful for you and that you are now able to use these tips to create some beautiful DIY baby photos at home. Please feel free to comment or message me with any questions. I’m also offering my editing services to 5 new mummies and daddies in Shropshire who have taken photos of their little one using these tips and would like them professionally edited, limited to 3 images per baby please.
Vicki is a trained newborn photographer based in Shrewsbury. You can see more of her baby photography here.
If you would like more ideas of how to make the first few days and weeks a little easier during the Covid-19 lockdown, Steph from Birth Nerd has written a lovely blog listing some very useful resources.
So tonight it was announced that the country is in lockdown! We’ve pretty much been that way since I shut my business, due to the pandemic and my little girl finished school but now it’s official! Its a difficult time but we have had a lovely first day of homeschooling and we are 100% trying to find all the positives and make the most of what is a scary, surreal time. I tried to put a ‘plan’ together for today- nothing too rigid but an idea of when we might do certain activities and I made a not of any live activities that I though my 3 and 5 year old may be interested in. The plan went out of the window before 8am. My daughter loves school and she was excited to have loads of activities to do and did all the work I had planned before she had even changed out of her pajamas! Great for now, but I wonder when the novelty will wear off and we’ll run out of stuff to do…
So with that in mind I have been trawling the internet and many facebook groups to find as many resources as I can. I have included ones for homeschooling and ones for fun. This list is nowhere near finished and I will continue to add to it daily. One thing that has amazed me out of this situation is just how much people have pulled together- there are so many good things going on on the internet for children to keep them entertained and so many people creating resources and activities that take the children away from teachnology and into the garden or encourage creativity (I’m halfway through another blog about isolation activities to do at home so that will be up later this week!) and may of what I have found I have linked. For many small businesses online classes is the only way for them to protect their business as they move forward through what is an incredibly difficult time so please keep showing them your support 🙂
This is amazing! I haven’t shown my two yet but I know they will love it! We were planning a zoo trip for my daughter as she had wanted to go for her birthday but obviously this will be delayed for a while so we will use these video livestreams as an alternative. Here you can access video footage from zoos and aquariums all around the world!
Drama Tots UK are doing a live sing along each morning at 10am. My little boy took part in the dinosaur stomp-a-long and absolutely loved it! Perfect for those up to the age of 6 (and probably older too!)
Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) is offering PE lessons for children and adults at 9am each weekday morning on his youtube channel! My advice- Dress for the occasion! Don’t wear jeans like I did thinking it would be easy because it’s for children. We lasted 15 minutes before my daughter decided she was too tired and I was trying to do squats whilst holding a 3 year old- but it was so much fun and we laughed a lot!
I am so excited to launch my new photography course- ‘Photography for the Total Beginner’. Do you have a DSLR or bridge camera but are totally overwhelmed with the settings and buttons? Are you frustrated with inconsistent results? Would you like more control over your images? Then this beginners photography course is perfect for you!
My new course will run as a group workshop with a maximum of 8 attendees. Throughout the one day course you will learn about focusing, aperture, shutter speed and lighting. The aim will ultimately be to gain more control over your images, get off auto and begin to understand how to use your camera settings to get the best results- whether you want to photograph landscapes or capture better images of your children.
We will have time in the classroom as well as time to put what you have learned into practice whilst I am there to help and support.
The first course was due to run on the 2nd May (venue to be confirmed), however, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, a date and time is not yet confirmed. The course will run 10am-2pm and will see 5 people get a free place! The course will then be launched at £79.
Interested in applying for the place on the beginners photography course- all you need to do is fill in the contact form here
I’d love to help you take images that you are proud of!
Victoria is a newborn, baby and family photographer in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Find out about her and her work here.