I’ve always been incredibly impressed with those moms who have the wherewithal to schedule an in-home newborn session with a photographer in those early days of bringing baby home. They make some of the most beautiful, treasured memories you can capture as a family. But, sometimes a professional photographer isn’t in the budget, or you’re just not mentally prepared to change out of your milk-stained nursing bra and welcome a stranger into your home, much less be camera-ready.
You can still capture beautiful, quality memories with a few simple tricks and a tap of your phone camera.
01. Keep it simple
You’ll find that the sweetest DIY newborn pictures are the simplest. Neutral swaddles and a sweet knotted hat are really all you need. When deciding on outfits for your new babe, less is more. Same goes for your background. White bedding or blankets with texture can be your base. Simplify your shoot by keeping the focus on baby.
02. Remove clutter
You don’t need a professional photo studio to capture your newborn photos. But you do need a clean workspace. Once you designate a spot for your photos, gather up all the “clutter” into a laundry basket and move it out of the way until you’re finished.
03. Opt for natural light
This is a big one if you’re DIYing your newborn photography. Turn off the overhead lights and embrace the natural light in your home. Whichever room offers the most natural light is your best bet. Overhead lights create tones and shadows that distract from our picture-perfect moments, so pay attention to where the best light comes from and at what time of day.
04. Practice makes perfect
Trial and error makes for great photography. Natural window light changes from day to day (depending on the weather) and room to room (depending on the direction it faces) and hour to hour (as the sun moves across the sky). Test it out throughout the week by taking your phone and a basic object (like a stuffed animal) and walk it around the house, taking pictures of it in different places. Then compare your shots to determine what works best.
05. Get creative with props
Everything you need for your newborn shoot is already at home! Try using these props to set the scene.
- Breastfeeding pillow: Drape a white or neutral colored blanket over your breastfeeding pillow as a support for underneath a sleeping baby.
- Towels: Have rolled-up bath towels or washcloths on hand to use under blankets or swaddles to help with positioning.
- Moses basket: You can create some really sweet shots of your newborn in this tried-and-true prop.
06. Aim for sleepy babies
The easiest way to get a great shot is when baby is peacefully sleeping. Try timing your shoot around one of baby’s morning naps and give them a feed before you’re ready to start. You’ll also want to keep the room nice and cozy. A cold baby won’t sleep well through a photoshoot, so crank up the thermostat and steer clear of drafts.
07. Safety first
If you’ve been scrolling Pinterest and adding inspiration images to your “newborn shoot” board, A+ for preparedness. But one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of what you can see online is slight of hand, aka the magic of photoshop. Remember, these new squishy babes aren’t able to prop their heads up on their hands or support their neck in staged positions. Let your baby lead the posing and just focus on all the delicious newness in front of you.
08. Get in the pictureEnlist your spouse or your handy tripod and get in that shot, mama. Even if you don’t feel your most glamorous right now, please trust us when we say you will be SO happy to see yourself with baby later on. Sit with your babe and rub their back, hold their hand, feed them or count their toes—these are all things that’ll make your photo look more natural and create those truly beautiful memories.