5 Tips For Photographing Newborns

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Image adapted via Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Contrary to popular belief, photographing your newborn baby is actually easier than you think. If you can't afford a professional newborn photography session that is so much in vogue, fear not. You can capture those early days (and years) yourself, and you don't even need any fancy equipment. All you need is a fairly cooperative baby, a decent smartphone, a good eye (which you can practice), and good lighting.

The early months with my twins were a really fun time for me, as I had the privilege of photographing not just one, but two babies. I captured moments of my twins individually, as well as together and, yes, I did set some shots up.

Here are my 5 tips on photographing newborns with both a smartphone and a DSLR camera. (You can definitely use a point-and-shoot, too, if that's what you have.)

Lighting
Image via Alison Lee

Lighting

The best kind of light is natural light. Pick a spot in your house that has the most natural light and snap away. Light is always best nearest a window, and I found that the light around 9 or 10 in the morning was the best to photograph my twins in. Depending on how much light you get, your preferred time may differ. Play around with different times of day and find your sweet spot.

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background
Image via Alison Lee

Background

Personally, I prefer a clean, white background. That ensures that the eye is drawn to the subject, rather than what is in the background. For my twins, I used my bed covered with a white sheet. However, you can definitely stick to just a plain background that is not white. I photographed my daughter's (almost) daily outfits on our grey-ish couch, and it worked just as well.

Take-lots-of-shots
Image via Alison Lee

Take A LOT of photos

Babies move. Sometimes your camera or smartphone camera (or you) doesn't move as quick as they do. Expect a lot of blurry photos. Fret not. Just snap away continuously. That is the beauty of digital photography. You are bound to capture one clear, perfect shot.

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Set-it-up
Image via Alison Lee

Set it up

You may not always be readily armed with your phone or camera, so for posterity's sake, set up some shots. Pictures do not always have to be candid or be a “moment.” I loved putting my twins together on the couch or bed, side by side, and just snapping away.

Composition
Image via Alison Lee

Composition

This is only slightly technical. It is the very basis of good photography. Composition simply means where do you want to position your subject? The rule of thirds is a grid divided into three equal sections horizontally and vertically, creating four points of interest — where those lines intersect. Your subject should be placed at the intersection of two of these lines. There are many ways to play with composition — try different heights and distances, for instance.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your baby. Capture those moments, but don't forget to live them, too. Happy photographing!

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What's your best tip for photographing a newborn?

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5 Tips For Photographing Newborns

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, she traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode,On Parenting at The Washington Post,The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, Club Mid, andDrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of Melanie Melanie says:

    To be honest if you want to get better pictures that don’t look like they were taken with your cell phone your cell phone, then you need to hire someone who knows what they are doing. While the pictures in this article are cute, imo they aren’t print quality….more of pics you would just post on facebook.

    If you are on a budget try finding a local college with a photography program. Photography students are always looking for people to photograph for their portfolio. I am a photographer and to build my portfolio I would do free sessions. I would give the client a cd with 5-10 images with printing rights in exchange for them signing a model release allowing me to use the images for my business and portfolio. It’s a win win on both sides.

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