DIY Home Lifestyle Newborn Photoshoot
Your baby being born during the Covid – 19 pandemic is not necessarily what you expected or wanted. Missing family, waiting to introduce your gorgeous baby to grandparents, aunts & uncles and precious friends is difficult. Add to that, the inability to be able to follow through on the many elements of new parenthood that you had imagined. You may feel a little bit robbed of the experience. But like every situation, it comes with pro’s and cons. Having time at home with your new family, no steady stream of visitors who may overstay their welcome and expect to be waited on with tea and biscuits isn’t a bad thing in the first few weeks. You’ll have lot’s of time to bond and get used to your baby with no outside pressure.
Some of you may have had a photoshoot booked, to capture your baby and all of their tinyness. Precious family photographs to look back on with your child are so special. But all is not lost. I would like to give you some tips to help you create your own home lifestyle newborn photoshoot.
Whether you have a swanky DSLR, a compact camera or just your smart phone, you can still create beautiful images. The only downside may be that dependant upon the camera used, the image may not be suitable to print large, as phone camera and some compact cameras have less pixels, meaning that when the image is enlarged, the existing pixels are stretched and the image will be distorted or blurred. These images will still be perfect for a photobook or to share with family & friends on social media.
Phone Camera – I find that most of the smart phones now have a setting which gives you a lovely depth of field (blurred background). If you have this setting on your phone, so use it for the individual shots of baby. Try to avoid using the flash as this doesn’t always flatter
Compact Camera – Most compact cameras nowadays come with the option to use setting for every occasion. If it has one use the portrait mode
DSLR – If you are comfortable with your camera but not ready to use full manual mode, I would recommend using aperture priority, This means that you set the depth of field (background blur) and the camera will work out what the other settings need to be to ensure your image is correctly lit (exposed) I would use a aperture of F4 for baby and F8 for the family shots. Using aperture priority it is important that you know how to set the focal point as this setting makes sure than anything in your focal point is sharp and anything away from the focal point becomes softer and slightly blurred
Here are some top tips to help you prepare, before you begin your own photoshoot
- Think about where you will take the photographs and declutter the area around it, such as bedside tables and coffee tables. Choose rooms where you can sit comfortably and have good light. Nursery, lounge & bedrooms are good choices.
- Check the light flowing into the room. If you have a south facing room you will need to diffuse the light particularly on a very sunny day as this will give very bright spots. Alternatively wait until later in the day when the light moves. If you’re room doesn’t have direct sunlight, make sure the light can flow in
- Once you have looked at the light, think about where you will be seated in the images or where you will place baby. Further in the blog I take about positioning for the best light & shadow
- Think about what you will wear for your photographs. If you like the idea of trying to create a backlit image, which will look more like a silhouette, you will need a dark coloured top for this shot.
- If you would like to get some nice shots of a young sibling with baby, think about the best time to do this, when they’ll be at their happiest and in a more cooperative mood
Taking photographs of your newborn
A home lifestyle photoshoot is very different to a posed studio photoshoot. During a studio photoshoot, I will pose your baby in various props and use my vast training and knowledge to safely pose baby into poses such as tushy up and head on hands. These poses should only be attempted by a trained photographer. Your photoshoot at home should be relaxed, capturing baby in comfortable positions with minor adjustments to allow you to capture their beautiful features and enhanced their squishiness.
You can get some fantastic ideas of lovely angles and positions to use to photograph baby on pinterest. Check out my pinterest board for home lifestyle photoshoots.
Start by having baby in a moses basket or lying on your bed. Aim to place them with their head pointing towards the window and their feet furthest away from the window. You can adjust them so that they’re on more of an angle if needed. You are aiming to have the light coming down their face, which will create a tiny butterfly like shadow under their nose. This is much more complimentary and creates shadows which flatter. If their eyes are open, look for the light reflecting their eyes and adjust their placement slightly so that their feet are pointing more towards 5 o’clock.
You can lie them on the bed and put a small rolled up flannel underneath the base of their neck under the duvet, this will lift their head a little and mean that they are not a flat. Then roll up a small hand towel and place this under their bum (under he duvet). this will lift up their legs as they love to have them crossed over and curled up just like in your tummy. you can photograph them to start just as they are and then perhaps add in a blanket. It’s particularly cute to get their hands poking out of the blanket (see image). Whilst they’re in this position, if younger siblings are feeling like giving baby some love, it’s a great position to have them lie besides baby or even at the side leaning in to give them a kiss.
Close up detail shots are also lovely. Take a few from different angles. If you have a DSLR and understand the settings, put it in “Aperture Priority” and set the aperture to F4 or below. This will give you the lovely blurred background. Be sure to make sure the camera is focussing on the nearest eye to you. There are some examples below of close up detailed shots of baby’s features.
When photographing baby, one of the things to remember is to try to not photograph up the body or up the face. Being able to see up baby’s nose isn’t always the most flattering. Instead, try to take the photograph from their head downwards or from above baby, which is much more flattering.
Sibling & Family Photographs
I always find that sibling photographs are far easier on the bed. The can lie next to baby or sit with them on their lap without fear of them falling or moving too rapidly. Always aim to have your partner close should you choose to let your younger child sit with baby on their lap.
This is also a lovely place to take the full family photograph. If you’re feeling the love for it, some families like a group shot on the bed in their PJ’s too! The group shots with all of you can be achieved in several ways.
- Iphone popped up opposite with a timer on
- DSLR camera on a stand or tripod at the end of the bed. Most can be linked now to an app on your phone which can be used to take the picture
- Skype or FaceTime. This is a bit of a cheat, but if you would like someone behind the camera, FaceTime a friend, place the phone in the best place to capture you all and ask them to screen shot the image. The image quality won’t be amazing but it will look great on social media and to share with friends.
Posing wise, mix it up. It’s good to have some of both Mama & Dadda with baby as well as sibling and baby
These are so special for any Mama. We sweat blood and tears to make breastfeeding work for our baby as very often it doesn’t come easy. This is a moment to remember. Capturing that bond is super special. And knowing that you (often you alone) fed your baby and helped them grow is a huge achievement and one that should be celebrated & remembered. So if you feel comfortable please do capture this special moment too. I have included some images which show how subtly this can be done.
A few extra points about light
We discussed where to place baby for the best light. The same principles apply to adults. It’s extremely flattering to light the eyes, so always aim to stand with the light on your face but not directly facing the window.
You can see from the 2 images below, that image one is flat lit. In this image I was facing the window directly. My whole face is lit and there are no shadows. In the 2nd image, I have moved so that my body is roughly at around 10 o’clock and angled towards the window as opposed to facing it directly. This has created a shadow down the right of my face whilst still giving lovely catchlights in my eyes.
Finally, be very careful of taking an image with light coming in behind the subject (having the window behind them) unless this is intentional. Having light behind the subject will cast them in shadow and will likely mean that the area where the light comes in is very bright (we often call this blown) the 2 contrasting levels of light only suit images where you are wanting to achieve a silhouette type photograph. These are beautiful if done correctly.
To achieve a lovely silhouette, wear a dark coloured top. Hold baby in front of you with their legs against your chest. Stand about 1 metre away from the window (This is best done in front of a glass door unless you want just waist & above in the image) The you take the image, ensure that your focus on the eye of your subject. Thes images look great in black & white.
I hope you found these tips helpful!
Rest assured that as soon as restrictions are lifted my studio will be open again and I would love to capture some professional shots of your baby. Regardless of age, we can always create beautiful images for you.
I photograph babies up to 12 weeks old as newborns. Do check information pages for Little Sitter Sessions and 1st Birthday cakesmash celebrations. If you missed the newborn window, these are stunning sessions and they really capture the personality of you little one.
Hope to see you on the other side! xx
Sussex based family photography by Louise Ferguson
Studio based, outdoor on location or in your own home
Serving clients across Sussex in Haywards Heath, Cuckfield, Lindfield, Brighton, Shoreham, Worthing, Uckfield, Horsham and Lewes