How to take beautiful portraits of your newborn baby

To begin with – please make sure you do it!

Even if you are tired, busy and your biggest dream is to catch up on sleep. Your newborn will not stay this tiny for long.

Soon, holding your energetic, smiling infant, you won’t believe how small he/she once was and you will be glad to have the photographs to remind you.

And by photographs I don’t mean iPhone snaps or selfies. They are great on the go but you also want more special, considered pictures of your little new person.

So here are my top tips on taking great photographs of your newborn baby.

  • Instead of using a lot of props which can be quite overwhelming concentrate on your baby’s face and all those fleeting newborn details – eyelashes, tiny ears, hands and feet or that cute little tuft of hair on top of their head.
  • Your partner or baby’s grandparents could make good props too! Photographs of newborns cradled in grown-ups’ arms really show how tiny and vulnerable they are. Plus new babies are much happier while held and you would capture a beautiful, loving connection. (For this reason make sure you get in some of the pictures too!)
  • Make sure you have good light – it will take your photo form a nice snap to an artistic image. Place baby close to a window, with light falling at about 45 degree angle, from the top of baby’s head downwards.  We are used to seeing faces lit from above by the sun so it looks natural to us. Having the light falling at an angle rather than flat onto baby’ s face, on the other hand, will create interesting shadows and help to make the image look three-dimensional.
  • Photograph when the baby has been fed and winded and is content and sleepy.
  • When you are trying to get baby into that sleepy state for photos wait about 20 minutes after they have fallen asleep. This is roughly how long it takes for them to fall into a deep sleep when they are easier to move and less likely to be disturbed and awaken.
  • If you decide to photograph your baby naked or wearing just a nappy, make sure the room is warm enough. Your newborn is used to being in a very warm environment and needs the room much hotter than grown-ups to feel comfortable.
  • Don’t try to recreate professional images or pictures you have seen on Pinterest. Professional newborn photographers would have had a lot of training and experience enabling them to pose and photograph babies in a safe way. Often professional newborn portraits are composites of two photographs or have certain elements (like assistant’s hands) edited out. When photographing at home opt for more natural, lifestyle images instead.
  • Always make sure that baby is safe – don’t place them on furniture, book or towel stacks or other object which they may fall from. Newborns have a very strong startle reflex – you would be amazed how far they can travel when startled. Placing baby in the middle of the bed or on a large armchair, with someone else close by for added safety is the way to go.

Happy photographing!

Agata Szymanwicz is a professional photographer www.agataphotography.co.uk

Agata is exhibiting at The Baby Show (www.thebabyshow.co.uk) from the 21st – 23rd October at Kensington, Olympia

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