These days, it’s not like you need a professional portrait photographer to make sure you’ve got those newborn baby photos covered. With 8 million relatives (more or less) visiting in hospital, we’ll guess that one or two of them just might have brought a camera along.
But when you’re ready for something a little less blurry, a little more stylized and maybe your own hair is a little more brushed, here are some tips that professional photographers have shared with us over the years, to help make sure you capture those first baby photos in style.
1. Pick the clothes you feel best capture the spirit of your baby. We remember putting ours in these foo-foo welcome home outfits that relatives had given us, and looking back, it was more what we thought a baby should be dressed like, and not how ours actually dressed. Whether you think you’ve got a t-shirt and rolled-up jeans kind of kiddo or a swingy sundress girl, go with your gut and not with what you’ve seen on baby announcement websites.
2. Play with framing. Get close-ups and get wide shots. Try getting down on your baby’s level and shooting really low for great intimacy. Also, try standing above him, capturing more of the tableau, which can be kind of artful and cool. Just be mindful of the backgrounds if the baby is on the floor or on a chair. (We weren’t so great with cleaning in those early months.) Or let a parent or grandparent hold him while you snap. In close-ups, the sense of comforting arms holding a baby can be really powerful.
3. Don’t wait for the “perfect” moment. You may have in mind a particular pose or expression that (sorry) just may never happen. Let your baby be who he is and opt for more of a documentary style than a staged portrait; you will be happier with more candid results. And don’t stop clicking when he yawns or cries–those may end up being your favorites in months to come! In fact, we love the charm framing a happy and sad photo side by side to depict the reality of new motherhood.
4. Know when to shoot–and when not to. The more you get to know your baby’s routine, you’ll know he has happier and more alert moments than others. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good; if he’s crying to be fed, you may find out a beautiful nursing photo ends up being your favorite.
5. Don’t be afraid of color! Sometimes babies look adorable in plain white or soft pastels, but bright pops, especially in the spring and summer, can be really stunning.
6. Don’t be afraid to go simple. Sometimes all a baby needs is a super cute baby bodysuit and maybe a fun little pair of socks.
(DVF for babyGap bodysuits come in 4 very cute styles)
7. Props can make the photo. Of course if you don’t have a giant paper elephant lying around, like the photo at top, try a rocking horse, a big stuffed animal, Grandma’s handmade quilt or even a sweet hand-knit rattle or clutch ball if the baby’s old enough to hold it. (At top: printed skinny jeans for baby; zebra bodysuit)
8. Get outside. Especially if you’re shooting in the warmer months, there’s just no substitute for natural light, even on a cloudy day. Or at least find a spot indoors near a window. Flashes are not typically great for babies’ skin which can be ruddy, splotchy or scratched from those little nails. And early morning or late afternoon light is always flattering. Not that your baby needs it, of course.
9. Don’t delete! Some of the so-called outtakes that we might have deleted for their imperfections turned out to be our favorite baby pics in months or years to come. Trust us, give it time. You’ll realize every photo has its own perfection in some way.
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