August 7, 2012

DIY Newborn Photography With Props

I was happy with our last iteration of new born photography. One thing about me, though, I can never have enough photos!

For the DIY maternity photos I used two props: a pink ribbon and my stuffed unicorn, Phia. I thought it would be fun to use the same props with Nicole, so I could compare in-the-belly with out-of-the-belly.


With Ribbon

Props are also great because they give you a point of reference as to how big the baby actually is. Nicole has been on the smaller size on height/weight charts. She was under 8 lbs and only 20 inches at two weeks, so I doubt she’d be much more than 9 lbs flat now. Some babies are born larger than that at birth! Yet her full head of hair and tendency to stretch out tends to make her look older than she actually is. I also have a tendency to fill the whole frame with the baby, which gives the perspective that she’s much bigger than she is in reality.

The fact that she can now lift her head, if but just for a second, and follow people with her eyes also makes her look older. But it’s darn cute to take of picture of her doing that!


Hi, Mama!
I need to find some craft project to do with that ribbon. Maybe a picture box with the pregnancy and newborn photos.

One new trick I learned was to use a heating pad under the blankets. Nicki is much more inclined to stay in the newborn “frog” position on the heating pad. The bunched up look also makes her look a little smaller and more ‘newborn’ like. She’s also much more inclined to sleep on the heating pad. And I thought my days of sleeping baby photos were over! I think she looks much more ‘newborn’ in these photos then the ones I took over a week ago. (I ended up retaking some of the same poses from last time for just that reason!)

I set my heating pad to low, and placed it under the waterproof blanket. It is electric after all! Alternatively, I could have left it on to warm up the spot, then turned it off before placing the baby on it.

She was so content on the heating pad that I was able to experiment with a lot of different angles and camera settings. I’ve found that shooting from a low angle, with the camera perfectly parallel to the baby tends to make the baby look a little longer and leaner. Shooting high and at a slight angle will make her look a little more chubby and cute. Getting her to arch her back a touch while she sleeps also helps. I also found a wide aperture really does wonders for making baby’s skin look smooth. For the one with Phia, I set the F-stop to f/2.5.



With ‘Phia’

If Phia looks a little different it’s because, well, she is. Someone had a little accident on our first photography attempt, and someone else made the mistake of putting Phia in the washing machine and dryer. Phia came out of the dryer looking like she had had one of those army buzzcuts. Her main and tail were so matted down they were completely flat. I was able to brush them out using corn startch, but they are still quite bushy rather than straight and wispy like before. She’s still drying out. At least I can now add “restore a stuffed animal that was destroyed in the washing machine” to my list of skills. Of course, I can also add “destroy a stuffed animal in the washing machine” too. In the mean time, this is Phia’s stand in, Phia #2.



Phia and Nicki before the great Pee Incident of 2012. It’s not the best photo, but we only got three in before the event happened.

We’ll try again with the real Phia later.

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  1. [...] shot’ take a couple more from different angles and different distances. I loved the photo of Nicki and Phia (the second). I wanted to have a canvas print of it, but what looks good as a 3:4 aspect ratio, does not [...]

  2. [...] photos and there’s only so many different sleeping baby photos one can take. There were 392 Nicki and Phia photos. In my defense, I wanted a canvas print, and I wanted to be sure I had a photo that would [...]


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