Clara is already two months old, and I’ve been catching up on some photo taking and editing. It’s fun to compare her photos to her brothers’ and see how the they look similar in some ways. And it’s reminded me that, holy smokes, I’ve taken a bazillion photos of these kids!
Here are some tips I use for newborns and young babies to get the most out of staged and everyday photos:
Is it just me or do newborns have the ability to look different in every photo (and sometimes quite awkward)? One trick I’ve discovered is taking photos looking downward on their face. It’s a good angle on everyone, in fact. In the photo above, the baby didn’t move, but I changed my perspective for a more flattering angle.
I’m as guilty as the next guy, taking a million pictures in the bouncer before baby can sit up. We have this frog bouncer with wild bold colors, and every picture starts to look the same. So sometimes I cover the bouncer!
For this picture, I put a plain white towel over it to take her picture in this little gnome bathing suit. It was mine when I was a newborn!
The trick to making it not look like a bouncer that you covered up is to crop in on baby. Get close, crop out the sides, and the only thing you’ll be able to focus on are those cheeks!
My husband calls Clara his Fragolina — little strawberry in Italian — so how could I resist taking this cheesy strawberry pic?
Angles and staging don’t mean much if the lighting is bad. Turn lamps off to get rid of that yellowy effect, and put baby in natural daylight. A few feet away from a window or sliding glass door work best, preferably with baby facing the light.
Putting the baby in direct sunlight or using a flash will wash her out and create harsh shadows. It’s better for a soft light to shine downward on baby if possible.
The after photo, above, was taken after I turned off the lamps and opened up the blinds in our bedroom.
If I’ve paid attention to lighting, I only do minimal photo editing. I like filters occasionally, but usually I prefer natural looking photos. What I end up doing to almost every photo is simple and can be done in nearly every editing program, though I’m showing Photoshop menus here.
I lighten the midtones to brighten the photo and then only slightly increase the saturation. That’s all there is to it and it makes a big difference.
List of newborn photos to take
- with each family member (siblings, grandparents)
- with mom and dad (together and separate)
- swaddled in the crib
- in the buff with no props
- a profile from the side
- holding your finger
- in a bath towel
- lips and cheeks
- fuzzy back and shoulders
- funny newborn expressions: grinning, yawning, grimacing, eyebrows up …
- with something from the past: Mommy or Daddy’s baby blanket or outfit
- in a cute hat
To get my favorite shots, I usually take five or more photos of the same thing with slight variations. The more pictures you take, the better your chance of getting great shot.
Lastly, I adore taking pictures of my little people, but I’ve learned it’s more important to be in the moment sometimes than trying to capture it. You can only cram so many pictures in the baby album of that precious little nugget, so don’t get so consumed with pictures that you forget to take it all in too!