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How to Photograph a Newborn.
Having your newborn professionally photographed can be costly, but you can take gorgeous shots of your own with a little patience and care.
Find a spot with good natural light, like a north or south facing window.
Make a backdrop by hanging a blanket or curtain, and lay your baby on a bean bag covered with a soft sheet.
To prevent fussy fidgeting, feed your newborn beforehand, keep the location warm, and use a white noise machine to drown out startling camera sounds.
Capture high quality images by using continuous shot mode, a small aperture setting, and an ISO setting between 100 and 400.
Keeping Your Newborn Calm
Feed your baby before the photography session.
It’s best to photograph a newborn after a full feeding.
They’re more likely to stay calm during or sleep through a photography session on a full stomach.
If your newborn is fussy or needs a feeding, take plenty of breaks as needed.
Keep the space as warm as possible.
Try to keep the location around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
Newborns need a warm environment and have trouble regulating their body temperature.
Feel their skin to make sure they’re warm, and look for splotchy patterns or any discoloration.
If necessary, take a break to swaddle the baby in a warm blanket.
If the baby is sweating, it’s too hot and you should turn down the heat.
You can use a space heater to help warm the room, but make sure to keep it far away from the infant.
Use a white noise machine to drown out camera noises.
While photographing your newborn, your camera might make lots of strange noises.
Turn on a white noise machine to drown out the noise and avoid startling your newborn.
That way, you’ll reduce the chances that they’ll be fussy during the photo shoot.
Soothe your newborn constantly during the session.
Try continuously making cooing noises to reassure your newborn.
They might be a only a few days old, but if you’ve already discovered calming techniques that they like, use them frequently to keep your newborn from fussing.
For example, if you’ve found that your newborn loves bouncing, try keeping a yoga ball on hand so you can take calming bouncing breaks during the shoot.
Try using sound to get your newborn's attention.
Getting a newborn to look at the camera is tricky business, so you might want to embrace capturing a natural or sleeping pose.
A newborn can only see within a foot of their face, so your best bet is to use sound to get them to look at the camera.
Try cooing, speaking softly, or making other quiet noises.
Try not to startle your newborn, and if they’re sleeping, just let them be.
Setting up Your Studio
Choose a location with lots of natural light.
Look around your house for a well-lit spot, like by a north or south facing window.
A slightly diffused natural light source, like a window covered by a shear curtain, is your best option.
That way, your shot will be well-lit without exposing the newborn to direct sunlight.
If your home doesn’t have any good natural light sources, see if you can set up a photo shoot at the home of a friend or family member.
If necessary, you can also push the ISO setting up to make your camera more light sensitive.
While it won’t cause any damage, a flash can startle a newborn, so it’s best to go with natural light.
Use a blanket or duvet as a backdrop.
A simple backdrop will give your newborn full focus.
Try creating your own backdrop by hanging a solid-colored blanket, duvet, or curtain by the natural light source.
You can use thumbtacks to hang the backdrop or drape it over a pair of tall chairs.
Go for a solid, neutral color like black or beige.
Prop your newborn on a bean bag.
Try swaddling your baby in a blanket or just pose them in a diaper.
Cover a bean bag with a soft, solid-colored sheet or baby blanket that will be comfortable for your newborn.
Place the bean bag in front of the backdrop, then lay the newborn on the bean bag.
If you want to photograph your newborn in the nude or without a diaper, try placing a puppy potty pad under the sheet to avoid soiling the bean bag.
Getting the Best Shots
Use continuous shooting mode so you don’t miss a shot.
Babies can be unpredictable, and taking rapid consecutive shots will help make sure you get the photograph you need between fussing and fidgeting.
Chances are, if you can take 30 pictures over the course of several seconds, you’ll find at least one winning shot.
You’ll also increase your chances of capturing an adorable happenstance expression using continuous shot mode.
If you’re not sure how, check your camera’s user guide or look through its settings to find a continuous shooting mode.
Use an aperture setting smaller than f2.
The aperture size is similar to your eye’s pupil:
it controls how much light enters the lens and which part of the image appears in sharp focus.
When photographing a newborn, use an aperture setting of f2 or smaller.
A smaller aperture will increase your depth of field, or give you a larger area of focus.
Keep in mind an aperture set to f2 is smaller than one set to f1.4.
The larger the number, the smaller the aperture.
The larger the aperture, the smaller the area in focus.
Choose an ISO of 100 to 400.
ISO controls your camera’s sensitivity to light.
When a camera is too light sensitive, lots of distracting background “noise” will appear in the photograph.
If you have a good amount of natural light, set your ISO between 100 and 400.
As you take photographs, check the backgrounds for undesired spots or patches. Lower the ISO if your camera is picking up too much light.
The higher the ISO, and the more sensitive a camera is to light, the less time it takes to capture an image: ISO 100 takes one second to capture an image, while ISO 400 takes a quarter of a second.
Try to find an ISO setting that eliminates background noise but gives you the quickest capture time.
Zoom in to capture tiny details.
In addition to full portraits, grab a macro lens or use whatever zoom function you have available to capture tiny details.
Zoom in on little fingers, feet, toes, noses, lips, and other features to preserve your newborn’s precious proportions.
Try placing your newborn’s hands over your own (or your spouse’s or other children) to create size comparisons.