Photos: 10 Tips for Newborn Photography

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From landscape photography to documentary photography, event photography to portrait photography—there are many different types of photography that help you express your emotions, viewpoint, and style. Out of all of the different types of photography, the one form of photography that many people find the most difficult is portrait, specifically newborn photography.

newborn photography

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10 Tips for Newborn Photos

Feedings, naps, screams, cries, diaper changes—there are many issues that can get in the way of capturing newborns on film. Here are 10 tips to help you capture your newborn in a safe, stress-free, and creative way.

1.) Keep the Baby Warm

The warmer the baby, the happier the baby. If a baby is chilly during a photography session, you can guarantee that you will encounter a lot of screams and cries. To avoid an unhappy baby, place a space heater in the room to increase the temperature. You can also place blankets in the dryer and warm them up before placing the baby on them. If you're sweating during the photo shoot, then the room is warm enough for the baby.

2.) Feed the Baby

If the baby is hungry, then the baby will not be happy. The baby should be fed right before the photo shoot begins so that his/her tummy is full. Plus, a full tummy will make the baby more relaxed during the photo shoot.

3.) Bathe the Baby

After a bath, a baby is usually very calm and relaxed. Make sure the baby has a bath right before the photo shoot. Not only will the baby be calmer during the photography session, but the baby will be clean and his/her hair will be fluffy instead of greasy.

4.) Have the Session Early

The best time to capture newborns on film is within the first 14 days after the birth. Why? That's when babies are the most sleepy. Babies this young can also curl up into super cute positions and adorable poses. Be careful not to photograph the baby too early or else you might encounter jaundiced skin. Usually, anywhere form seven to 14 days is a great time frame.

5.) Use Props

Not only do blankets help comfort the baby, but they also help to add depth to photos. By using textured blankets, they add a softness to the photos. Baskets come in all different shapes, sizes, and textures. Be sure to use baskets that are sturdy enough to support the baby. Decide on what look and feel you want your photos to have and then make sure that you have the necessary props, decor, etc. on hand to make that look and feel come to life in your photos. You can also dress the baby in cute hats and bows. Shops like Etsy are full of great photo shoot props for newborns.

6.) Stay Calm and Relaxed

Babies can sense when people are stressed. Photographing babies can be frustrating at times. Plus, by keeping the room hot for the baby, you might grow a little uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and stay calm. The calmer you stay, the happier the baby will be.

7.) Practice Safety

Even though you are trying to create the perfect photos, you must remember that the subject of the photos is a newborn baby. You never want to use props or put the baby in a position that will place the baby in danger. You never want to force a baby into a particular pose or situation. Be sure to use common sense when it comes to photographing newborns.

8.) Research Positions and Styles

Prior to portrait photo sessions, research subject positions and photography styles. Create a shot list so that you know what shots you want to create. By doing so, you can work your way through a checklist and streamline the photo shoot. Using a checklist will result in a shorter amount of time spent photographing the newborn. Plus, the checklist will ensure that you capture all of the poses, faces, etc. that you desire. Also, be sure to capture all of the baby's features—from the fingers to the toes, the ears to the nose, there are so many special features that you will want to capture on film and cherish forever.

9.) Use Natural Light

When it comes to photography, there is nothing more flattering than natural light. However, keep in mind that you don't want harsh natural light. Instead, you want to photograph subjects in soft natural light. You should photograph newborns either during the mid-morning hours or during the late afternoon hours. The sunlight during these time frames is softer and creates less shadows. Plus, babies don't enjoy harsh sunlight so scheduling the photo shoot around the softer sunlight will only make for a happier baby.

10.) Understand that Accidents Happen

When photographing newborns, expect to encounter accidents. If shooting the baby in the buff, expect to get peed on. Or, expect that your blankets will end up a little damp. Be sure to have plenty of blankets, wipes, etc. on hand to take care of the mess. If shooting the baby in a diaper, you can hide the diaper with blankets, bloomers, or a diaper cover.

What are your favorite tips to use when photographing newborns?

jen-tilleyJen Tilley has an insatiable appetite for all things related to baking and cooking. She is the author, photographer and recipe developer on How To: Simplify, a blog that shares tips, tricks and recipes to simplify life in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing recipes that require very few ingredients and only a small amount of prep and cook time, all of which make time spent in the kitchen simple and enjoyable.

You can find her online at JenTilley.comHow To: Simplify@HowToSimplify, and Jen Tilley Photography.

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