From my experience spending so much time with many many babies over the years there are 4 major milestones I've found the best to focus your photography efforts on: sleeping, smiling, sitting, standing...oh and then 1st Birthday if that doesn't coincide with the standing phase.
Today we will focus on the first one: sleeping and getting a great basic first portrait of your baby! So babies usually sleep a lot for their first week of life. Now this is not the time frame most parents want to get out their camera and get creative so we'll keep it basic here. If you just don't have the energy to do a thing during this first week, give me a call and I can do it for you of course =)
- The first thing to remember when photographing your baby at home is to turn off your lamps and overhead lights in your home to eliminate unwanted color casts (yellowish or random colors you might sometimes notice in your photos). You may have heard me say this before but it's so easy to forget this important detail.
- Then move your baby to a window so you have a good amount of natural light.
- One great product to purchase when you have a baby if you plan to do a lot of your own photography is a bean bag! Especially for the younger ages when they can not sit up or control their body. I use www.beanbags.com and like the "puck" beanbags. **one note please don't ever leave a baby alone in or on a beanbag**
- I personally love sleeping baby photos, their so serene and angelic. So once baby is asleep place a neutral colored blanket over your beanbag---does not have to be a baby blanket, try finding one with some texture, and place your baby on the blanket. I like neutral colors like cream, brown, white but if you like more bright or colorful looks try something a little more vibrant. I definitely recommend not to use one with a lot of prints or designs so the focus stays on your baby and all those intricate little features.
- If your baby is not wanting to sleep or has past this stage already (they typically "wake up" after 2 weeks or so) try swaddling them up nice and snug so they are comfortable (I love swaddle blankets from Sarahs Gift Boutique on Etsy) Be assured your baby will likely fuss while you are swaddling but should calm down after their all snug as a bug! Sometimes it takes 2 people to swaddle a baby =) Then when baby is comfortable lay him on the beanbag. Maybe watch this VIDEO if you need swaddling help.
- Put your camera on the "Portrait" mode (the picture of the face) and place the camera strap around your neck or wrist. Stand above your baby so you are photographing directly from above (might need a little stool, careful not to loose balance and fall on the baby) and snap a couple shots--look at your photos to be sure they are looking good and not blurry or too dark and then go ahead and try a few different angles.
Here are some samples of the baby portraits I am describing taken with only natural window light:
- Be sure your baby's head is not leaning too far back or too far sideways--you want to be able to see most of both eyes and the tip of the nose versus seeing up his nostrils.