Successful DIY Newborn Photo Session In Just Few Steps?

Newborn photographer is a growing market of professionals. Their artistic rendition of infants can be seen all over products and posted on Pinterest pages across the board. If you cannot afford to splurge on a professional sitting with a seasoned photographer, all is not lost though. There are ways to replicate great newborn photos on your own, and to be honest, you, as the parent or loving relative have a clear advantage over the professionals.

Namely, that advantage is the ability to be flexible. You do not have to stick to a scheduled appointment or be at the mercy of a someone, other than your infants, timetable. 

                                                         Image: Claudette Gross

With that said, babies do grow at an amazingly fast pace, so it is important not to postpone even a DIY newborn photo session for very long. The following tips will give you all you need to know to execute excellent keepsake photos without the expense or pressure of dealing with a studio sitting. 

Newborns are fragile and unpredictable, this fact is undeniable. They also do not take instruction well. It is up to you to do the research and study the techniques of professionals in order to produce photographs you will be proud to share with friends and family for years to come. 

Spend time looking at photographs. Browse the internet for images of infant photography that you admire. Check out Pinterest boards devoted to the subject just to gather ideas and help determine the style you are looking for when taking your DIY newborn photos. 

Make a running list of these ideas. Mark down must-have photos of your infant with your spouse, other children, meaningful props. Include the basic photos as well, such as close-up shots of their face, feet, and hands. You have a limited time-frame to really capture how small their fingernails and toes were at this stage. 

Plan the shoot. Consider the best time to take your photos. The baby should be happy, which means, well-fed, with dry diapers. Choose the outfits and have them ready to go. 

Stage the area. Look for a place in your home with a neutral background, or hang a solid color sheet for a backdrop. Great natural light is a plus, or you can arrange the lighting to create the best effects. 

Keep it cozy. Set up a space heater if your home is even a little chilly. This is especially important if you want your infant in their birthday suit for some of the photos. It may seem warm enough to you, but to a sleepy baby, cool air can be cause for alarm, (which translates into a ruined photo session!) 
A heating pad placed under a soft blanket is another great tip to use when taking the photos. It is also a good idea to wear a pair of soft gloves when handling the baby between photos. This can help eliminate the shock of cold fingers on baby's skin. 

Enlist help. DIY does not mean you have to do it all by yourself. Safety is an issue and if you are working with a camera, it becomes important to have a spotter for the infant and someone to help make minor, and major, adjustments as you go. This could be moving the infants arm, or changing the direction of the lighting, or simply grabbing a bottle for quick calming. 

DIY Newborn Photo Session Tips 

Start soon after birth. While flexibility is important, there is a time frame to keep in mind. Taking infant photos within the first 14 days of birth is the best for all involved. At this point the infant is still sleeping for a great portion of the day and can be easily adjusted even during nap times. 

Keep safety first. While you may see wildly creative images online, it is important to note that those images with unsteady props or where the baby is set up high, are most likely edited. Use common sense when planning your photos, and take full advantage of photo editing tools. Multiple images taken now, can be transformed into unique and impressive composite shots at a later time, while your baby sleeps safely.

For example, if you want to perch your infant on a meaningful object like your car, take a photo of the car by itself, then have your spouse or a friend carefully hold the infant in position. Later you can merge the two images online and completely eliminate the adult. Never place an infant in a precarious position for the sake of a great photo!

Stay flexible. If your infant is not cooperating, forcing the child will never work. Stop what you are doing to attend to the infant's needs before going on with the photo session. Pushing through only results in uncomfortable images and frustration. 

Basic photos come first. Before setting up creative shots, take the time to get the must-have basic photos first. Once those are complete and you are happy with the images, then you can move on to the more advanced time-consuming creative poses. Basic photos include; on the tummy with hands and legs tucked, on the back, closeup of face, hands, feet and swaddling shots. 

Take multiple shots of the same pose. Infants facial expressions, even while sleeping, can change rapidly. Take many shots, at different angles, to capture all the different looks and then choose the ones you like best while editing.

Good luck with your photo session!

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