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10 tips from a professional photographer

How to take Newborn photos, newborn photography, baby pictures, how to

Who doesn't love a good Pinterest fail?! Bored Panda recently shared some DIY photo shoot fails … and they're hilarious!

Of course, it's not funny when it's YOU who can't bring to life a Pinspiration.

A professional newborn photo shoot is a wonderful experience for families. But if it's not in the budget, or if you just want to attempt the photos yourself for other reasons, here are a few general tips.

         1.         Take your time. When I photograph a newborn in a client’s home, I'm often there for 3 to 4 hours. Newborns are needy! They need snuggles, feedings, and changings. On top of that, often times when you put them into a basket or lay them on a blanket for photos, they don't want to relax right away. But with some soothing and a little time, they relax. 

         2.        Enlist the help of a babysitter if you have older children. Perhaps Grandma can have a play date to keep older siblings occupied while you have your newborn photo shoot.

         3.        Nurse baby and change her diaper prior to starting your photo shoot. Full bellies and clean bottoms make newborns happy and snoozy. If you know you want to photograph your baby with a hat on, try slipping the hat on her while you're still nursing rather than once you're done.

         4.        Crank the heat 30 minutes before you begin. Babies LOVE to be warm. If you are feeling comfortable, then naked baby probably feels chilly. If you're sweating, then you've probably got the temperature right! Space heaters and heating pads can help, too.

         5.        Choose an area with beautiful natural light. Wander around your house and look for a space where window light is soft but strong and even. You may have to move things around to gain access to the best lighting. Light matters! Never use flash with babies.

         6.        Wait until your baby is truly asleep. Once he's reeeeeally knocked out (the heater really helps with this), you'll be able to pose him easily.

         7.        NEVER try poses that look dangerous. Pinterest is full of photos of babies hanging from trees or posing with their chins resting on their hands. These are composite shots that are created in Photoshop. (At least, they should be!). Stick with set ups that are completely and totally safe.

         8.        Break out your white noise machine or app. These work WONDERS to help babies really relax and sleep soundly.

         9.        Remember to try and shoot the same set up from different angles. Zoom in on little bitty fingers, toes, and ears. These can turn into some of the sweetest photos. 

         10.      Once you've captured the individual shots you wanted, then bring older siblings out to join in the fun. Activities like reading (or pretending to, anyway!) to baby are a great way to capture little ones together. 

What poses work well for DIY newborn shoots? Come back next week and I’ll share some of my favorites.

Happy (and safe) shooting!


Kate Callahan is an on-location photographer who LOVES to capture authentic memories for families. She’s available for weddings, senior photos, child photo sessions, and family photography.  Kate works with clients throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC,  Delaware (and the tri-state area), and beyond. Visit her photography blog.

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