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Planning a Newborn Photo Shoot

April 25, 2012

Whether you plan to photograph your own baby or someone else’s, a little pre planning will go a long way in ensuring the success of your newborn photo shoot.  If you have never photographed a newborn I would suggest planning about a month in advance of your “scheduled” photo shoot.   Newborns are always best photographed before they are 10 days old.  If this is your first time photographing a newborn or you’re photographing your own baby, I would suggest having your photo shoot on about day 5.  If the photo shoot is a flop or you realize after the fact that you missed something, you can always try again in the next few days.  Through the next several blog posts, I hope that you are able to feel inspired and equipped to take some of your own newborn photos or help a friend with a new baby.  I’ll be posting about how to build your own back drop stand, basic newborn poses, using props in your photos, newborn details, black and and white photos/ editing.

The first thing to consider is what style of photographs you would like to end up with.  Do you like a lifestyle approach where baby and family are photographed in their home (natural environment) or do you prefer the classic look of photographs featuring just baby?  You can always incorporate both styles into your photos, however it’s good to recognize what the main style is that you’re going for.  Since you’re likely a MWAC (mom with a camera) and therefore probably behind the camera, the classic posed approach is the style that we’ll be focusing on

Lifestyle Approach:

Baby photographed in natural home setting / environment (in crib, with parents, bath, etc).  Photos have a really personal feel since the family home and members are incorporated.  The images are a bit more unique than other styles of newborn images.  This style aims to capture more emotion between parents, siblings and the new baby.

Classic Posed Approach:

Baby is posed in a variety of different positions on blankets, bed, etc.  The images feature the baby and their little details.  Lots of close up/ macro shots of hands, feet, etc.  The images can incorporate the use of props, hats, headbands, etc.

I’m going to focus on the classic posed approach in the next several posts.  The objective it to get great, natural looking photos that show off all that wonderful baby goodness.

Gather up your Supplies

Several weeks before your photo shoot, gather up the items that you hope to incorporate in the photos.  Things like blankets (2 for variety), hats, headbands, props, etc.  If you need to order something online (etsy is great) or go shopping, you’ll have plenty of time to do so if you plan in advance.  If you don’t know if baby is a boy or girl, consider purchasing a boy and girl hat (for example).  Chances are that you’ll be able to give the extra one away as a gift or perhaps you’ll want to use it another time.  You don’t need a ton of things, one hat and perhaps one headband (for girls) will do the trick.  There’s no need to get caught up in all the prop and crocheted madness.  I find that less is actually more when it comes to newborn photos (my personal preference).

Make sure that you have a small space heater, some extra towels or changing mats, etc.  A back drop stand and clamps are great to have when photographing newborns (instructions on how to make your own in the next post).

Find the Sweet Spot in your Home (or the place that you’ll be photographing baby in)

Spend some time checking out the light in your home.  Do you have big north facing windows?  Is there a sliding door that lets in amazing light in the morning?  If you know the best place to take the photos ahead of time, the day of will be that much more less stressful.

Get an idea of what you want to do with the Photos

Are you looking to create a birth announcement?  Do you want to make an enlargement for the big frame in the nursery?  Do you want to make a collage? Are you hoping to create an album?  Think about the kind of images that you hope to come away with.  If you want to put an enlargement in a frame, is it horizontal or vertical?

 Flower Headband from etsy shop Sew Whimsy.

**If you’re planning on taking your own newborn photos please remember to be realistic.  You will likely be tired and without a lot of patience (very necessary when taking newborn photos).  If you can do it, I would suggest hiring a professional to take your newborn photos.  If you would like to do it yourself, ask a friend to come help you out.  If you already have other children at home, try to get daddy or a friend/ family member to take the other kids out of the house while you photograph baby.  Trust me, it will make your life MUCH easier!

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