Find a window. Light is light. Find the largest window or sliding door you can and pick a time of day when the light is shining through the window. However, make sure to avoid HARSH light (think the streaks of sunlight that shine in and cast shapes on the floor (your fur baby will love laying in these) if you can order some sheer curtains on Amazon to diffuse that light, this will be your best bet. Avoid going out to the stores to buy anything right now. Having things shipped is FREE for the most part right now and it allows you to get everything ready for baby, and you can practice if you order these ahead of time.
Simple. on the props, grab textures you have around the house. A rule of thumb is if your forearm can fit inside the prop, you can fit a baby in it. If you have any neutral textured rugs, wooden bowls, crates, greenery, pieces of fabric, etc- use those! In my opinion, the more layers/textures, the better. They add more dimension to the image. Also, make sure to use SOLID colors. No busy patterns, they will not photograph well at all!
Don’t try to be an expert. This isn’t the time to attempt things like froggy pose or anything where you have limbs or fingers curled perfectly into place, as these types of poses should only be taught by trained professionals and need to be done safely to ensure a newborn’s breathing isn’t impeded. Keep it simple with baby swaddled up, laying on their backs or sides, maybe hold a hand up by their cheek. Just don’t overthink it, I promise it’s just as amazing having that little one laying on his/her side with his/her hands by his/her face and you capturing that sweet sleeping new bundle of joy!
Swaddling. I wish I could give you the key to achieving expert swaddling on your first try, but the reality is it takes many many tries to nail it just right. However, keep in mind when finding a swaddle wrap that fabrics like jersey knit work best. You can order these on amazon as well if you don’t have any jersey knit fabric lying around. Keep the wrap nice and tight, but not so tight that you hear baby grunting when they breath.
Get your partner involved. If your partner is quarantined with you, ask them to grab the camera (or phone) and stand perpendicular to the window- don’t stand with the window behind you, or too far away from the window. You want the window light to be coming from a 90 degree angle across the side of your body- this will be the most flattering lighting. As far as posing angles go, make sure your partner is shooting DOWN on you, not directly in front or from below. The angle from slightly higher up will be the most flattering. Wear neutral colors like black, white or beige. Avoid patterns like plaid or floral. A pretty lace kimono over a simple white cami is one of my favorite looks for parent poses! You never know they may just surprise you with their skills!
Details are important. Get close-ups of baby’s toes, peach fuzz on their back, their fingers, their dimples, any birthmarks, eyelashes, etc. These details will change SO quickly and you don’t want to forget them! In the first few days of life baby changes so much that you want to make sure and remember these moments for a lifetime!
Editing. most people probably don’t have or are proficient in Photoshop or Lightroom, however, there is a free Lightroom app you can download to load your images into. You don’t want to go crazy on presets or anything, all you need to know for now are a few basics. If your images are too bright, lower the exposure slider until they look appropriate. If the whites in your image are way too bright (also called blown out) lower the highlights slider. Add a bump of the contrast slider for some depth to the colors in your image. Just be SIMPLE. you don’t need to overthink these things. Remember this is a crazy time in our lives and we are doing the best we can until we can get a truly professional photographer to capture your family!
Well, there you have it. These are a few of my tips for you to capture your new bundle of joy the best you can. You can use these tips for your newborn images or even use them to take better images in everyday life!
I send all my love to the mommas that are having little ones during this crazy time in our lives. Stay healthy and safe and I can’t wait to see you all again once this is behind us!
Brooke is a birth, newborn, and maternity lifestyle photographer serving Washington DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Reston, Leesburg, Manassas, Gainesville, Haymarket, Stafford County, Prince William County, and Fredericksburg. I am located in Stafford, Virginia and I’m available for travel in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC areas.
You can find Brooke at https://www.brookeflanagan.com/