Most of you know that Im a Newborn Photographer in the Portland Oregon Area. What some of you may not know is that I decided to specialize in newborn photography because I didn't want parents to look back and regret not having photos of their littles at their smallest like I do. The current situation has made that much harder. I cant go to my clients homes like normal and get photos for them to hang on their walls or put in photo albums but I still want them to have photos of their littles. So here is a few tips to help you get photos even if all you have is a cell phone.
1-Work area, - As you know I am an on location photographer. This means that I bring my gear and knowledge to your home and do sessions in your home. So there is no reason you can not get some great photos there as well. Pick an area where you are comfortable. If it is hard for you to get down on the floor don’t try to do a full set on the floor. Instead Use the bedroom or nursery. Just make sure the area is clean and clutter free. If you have to move things to another room then put them back when your done. Most of the time my set ups are done using a couch or ottoman as a posing surface. Below I have set up a blanket on my couch how I would set it up for a background. Make sure it is as tight as possible. You can use pillows or rolled receiving blankest below it to Lift babies head if you need to.
2-Lighting- This is something that may be tricky for many depending on lighting in their home. When using a cell phone camera lighting is EVERYTHING. You need to make sure you have as much light as possible. First thing to try is open windows as many as you can in a given room and take a test shot. Does it look light enough or did the camera have to work too hard to lighten the photo and cause it to look grainy and out of focus? If there is not enough light close the curtains and start bringing in artificial lights. Like turn on the over head and then bring in lamps and place them around your area. When I am setting up with artificial light I usually put one light to light behind baby and one to light at an angle from head to feet as seen in the diagram. I'm not sure why this uploaded backwards... hopefully you can decipher. if not email me ill send it to ya. If you can make sure all bulbs are the same color ( soft white, outdoor, cool whatever you use in your home). Take another test shot. Does it look good? If you still don’t have enough lights as a last resort Go ahead and open the curtains back up. This will mean some mixed light but that’s better than grainy blurry photos.
3-Props – When doing photos yourself Keep it simple. You don’t have to have a million props to make a cute photo. If you have a cute headband feel free to use it but simple baby only photos are the best ones to attempt on your own. Full body and close up photos can be done this way. Below is a sample of a wrapped little one and a closeup of Little with a hat on. Both are easy to get on your own as you dont have to worry about hurting them in strange poses.
4-Posing don’t try to get your baby to go into any of the super stylized poses like froggy or taco. These take time to learn and if done incorrectly can hurt your little one. Instead look on instagram or google for lifestyle newborn photos. These are going to be the best style to do and will provide amazing photos that document your newborn. Heres a few samples of what can be done without a lot of posing. Below I have used one of my daughters stuffy's to show some simple swaddle poses as well as some simple photos I have done of real babies. In the Stuffy photos you can see where I would place a pillow or rolled receiving blanket under babies head to help lift them up.
5-Swaddled. Swaddle your babe in a small receiving blanket. Then wrap them in a scarf or piece of stretchy fabric in the color of your choosing. Then Lay baby down with the main light source at their head. Shoot from eye level to where they are laying. This may mean kneeling or just bending over so that the camera is at the same level as the baby. You can also do some snuggling photos for this one have your partner or older kiddo take the phone and snap the photos for you of you sitting on the bed snuggling or couch or standing in front of the window. Snuggle in close and bring babe as close to your face as possible cheek to cheek or kiss them (without puckering your lips) on the forehead. This is a point when you can also use a self timer or a remote to get both parents in the photo OR if you don't have anyone to hand the phone to.
- Simple White Onsie. For this one grab one of your littles white onsies and dress them in it. Then lay them on down in their crib (or on the bed or couch or chair) this one you can shoot a couple different angles of From the top, from the side. Get a close up of just their faces.
You can use either of these Ideas and build on them and either idea will work for parents photos as well. You may need to get a tripod for your phone and use the timer feature if you are doing the photos yourself with no assistance but make sure to get in the frame as well. Here's a few samples of parents photos that can be done at home.
5. One last thing to think about before you start is your settings. Different phones have different options and many have pro mode where you can choose your setting just like on a pro camera. Unless you already know how to use these setting I would not suggest trying to learn while taking your little ones photos. Instead choose one of the auto modes. On the I phone I would suggest portrait. This will blur your backgroud and keep your foreground in focus. Just make sure before taking the photo that you tap the part of your photo you want in focus so the phone knows where to focus. On the Samsung Galaxsy's I would suggest Selective Focus as it does the same thing (this is what I use when I take photos with my phone if I don’t want to mess with pro mode) There are lots of different options for settings. If you don’t like the result that this gives ya Play around with it before starting the photos. Here is some samples of what the different settings on my Galaxy produce. There are very slight differences in these photos. This means that you can use almost any settings for this. Don't mind my model we got married in the french quarter in NOLA and this was our cake topper :)
I really hope this helps you to take some great photos of your new baby while in lock down. If you have any questions please feel free to email me Here. Or find me on Facebook here to chat. Or instagram here. My inbox is always open As I just want everyone to have the best photos of their newborns that they can get at any given time.