Updated: Sep 23
SAFETY FIRST Always, always, safety first. This is the most important thing to take into consideration when doing your own baby's photographs. A quick Google of newborn photography will bring up a plethora of poses that can potentially be unsafe to attempt if you are not trained in newborn photography. Many of these shots are created by layering multiple shots together, known as composite imaging. I would NOT recommend trying this at home - you can capture stunning, natural images without the need for complex poses and composite imaging.
THE BASICS So I always say the ideal time to bring your baby in for a studio newborn session is from birth up to 14 days. This is primarily because babies are still very sleepy at this stage which also makes them easier for me to pose. However, as you are looking to photograph your baby at home this isn't really as crucial. As a newborn photographer, I've only got a few hours to provide you with a full gallery of beautiful images, whereas if you're attempting this at home, you've got a lot more time to capture those perfect shots of your little one.
Make sure the room is nice and warm before you start. This is particularly important if you want to capture images of baby naked or just in their nappy. Newborns are not great at regulating their body temperature, so watch for signs of baby being too hot or too cold - the best way is to feel their tummy or their neck.
And lastly, decide what you want to photograph baby on. I would suggest shooting on a soft but firm surface and layering it with a pretty blanket or throw. So that could be your sofa, your bed or even putting a sofa cushion down on the floor and throwing a nice blanket on top.
Neutral colours go a long way - I mainly shoot with soft toned backdrops on my beanbag, as I don't want to draw attention away from the most important thing - your baby, of course! But if bright colours and bold patterns is your thing, then go for it - you do you!
The most important thing is that baby is full and content before you go ahead with your shoot. NATURAL LIGHT When it comes to newborn photography, you don't need expensive studio lights to capture beautiful photos. I always use natural light in my studio as I find it more flattering on baby's delicate skin and it is actually really easy to work with if you follow these few simple steps. Firstly, time your session right. Try to shoot mid morning or mid afternoon to avoid the harshest light from the sun. Avoid placing baby in direct sunlight, but rather try to diffuse the light using sheer curtains. I always place baby next to a large window, with the light gently illuminating one side of baby's face. In the image below, the window is on his left - notice how this creates a lovely, soft shadow that feathers across his face, giving the image more depth and character.
I would suggest swaddling your baby for at least some of the images. Most young babies love being swaddled as it makes them feel secure and cosy. If you want to try swaddling, you can either use a large muslin or a blanket. I always swaddle with at least two layers - for the inside layer I use a stretchy fabric to make sure their little arms don't break free and for the outside layer, I use a pretty, textured fabric. There are lots and lots of simple swaddling tutorials on YouTube. If you're feeling up to it and baby is asleep, try to get one (or both!) hands out from the wrap and play around with some different poses.
IT'S ALL IN THE DETAIL Go in for closeups of their little hands, grab a few detail shots of their cute button nose and tiny little toes, pull back for some overhead shots and try out a few different angles - don't be afraid to experiment!
SIBLING SHOTS There's a few different ways of going about this, depending on the age of your older child(ren). If you've got a toddler, I would suggest you try either of these two poses.
The image above is my classic, go-to pose whenever I get asked to capture sibling photos. Get a nice, comfortable rug to throw down and get your eldest to lie down first. If your toddler is willing, lie baby down resting on their arm. Some toddlers will flat out refuse this, in which case you can have them lying next to each other instead. A little tip - ask another adult or older child for help, in holding up a phone with your toddlers favourite TV-show up above the camera. Then snap away!
If your toddler refuses to lie down next to your baby (many do, I promise!), another option is laying your newborn down on their back either on a rug or on a cushion and asking your toddler to sit next to baby, holding their hand. I'll usually ask them to point out their baby brother or sisters nose, mouth and toes - making it into a little game (and all the while giving lots of praise!) which can make for some super cute photos as you can see here. Try to encourage natural interaction as much as possible and give lots and lots of praise the whole way through.
Below are some more examples of sibling shots you can try if you have older children.
PARENT SHOTS These are usually the ones parents aren't so sure of - when I ask if parents would like some photos with their newborns I am often met with comments like, "I've not done my hair/makeup today", "I've not yet lost the baby-weight" and the one I (sadly!) hear the most is "I hate photos of myself". But I can say for a fact that you won't regret having them done - but in a few years time, you may regret NOT having them done.
Instead of posed shots, looking straight at the camera, I prefer more natural looking silhouetted profile shots - for instance, of the parents lovingly gazing down at their little one or giving them a little kiss on the head or nose, like the lovely image seen here. The back-lit shots are easily achieved - but you will need the help of another adult or older child unless you have a tripod to hand and can set your camera on a timer.
Find a bright window and position yourself in front of it. Make sure the person taking the image is stood facing the window and that the cameras focus is on you and baby.
Don't miss the opportunity to capture a few silhouetted shots of baby on their own, making sure to include the hands of whomever is holding them! A lovely shot for you to look back on, to remember just how tiny they once were in your hands.
AND FINALLY... Don't worry if you can't get the exact images you set your mind on getting straight away. You can always try again later. Take your time, don't rush it. And most importantly.. Enjoy your newborn cuddles!
About Starspeckled Hearts Photography
I am a specialist newborn, baby and toddler photographer based in Aldershot, Hampshire - servicing the greater Surrey and Hampshire area, including Farnborough, Farnham, Fleet, Bracknell, Reading, Woking, Basingstoke and Guildford.
I offer newborn photoshoots, milestone photoshoots, toddler portrait photoshoots, cake smash & splash photoshoots and maternity photoshoots in my fully air-conditioned boutique photography studio. I've got a wide variety of props and beautiful, handmade outfits, of which you will have full access to during your session - each and every photoshoot is bespoke and tailored to your specific requirements.
Please see my website for pricing and feel free to get in touch for more information!