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Newborn Photography Recap
Now that Nicki is on her way to two months, I think our ‘newborn’ photography days are over. It was fun, and I certainly learned a lot. I wish I could photographer her in this stage forever! I wish I could cuddle with her in this stage forever!
I know I’ve said this before, but apparently I don’t follow my own advice, so it bears repeating: Take lots of photos! Even if you think you have ‘the 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 necessarily work for a 4:5! It couldn’t be cropped without cutting off some of Nicki. I spent two weeks trying to recreate the shot, but lightening did not strike twice. I did get a similar photo to use, just not one I liked nearly as much. I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had just taken multiple photos when she was sleeping in the perfect pose.
Practice, practice, practice! I can not tell you how much more I loved the photos of each successive iteration over the ones from the last. The first ones? They’re okay, but I like them no where near as much as the one on the top of the page. I wish I could take everything that I learned and go back to when she was just days old. What I should have done was offered to photography my friends’ newborn babies. That way they would have gotten free extra photos (they can still hire a professional, of course), and I would have had the experience.
Comfort is king! Try and make your baby as comfortable as possible. Turn off the A/C, fill their belly’s with milk, etc. Don’t force them into any pose that your baby seems to be resisting. You wouldn’t want to risk hurting your baby, after all! I find that the more comfortable Nicki is, the easier I have posing her, and the more likely she will remain in that pose long enough for me to take a picture. You can hold her (gently, of course!) in a pose for a few seconds and she’ll keep it. If she’s uncomfortable, she’s much more likely to wake up and move.
For older babies, once you place them down on your setup, give them a few minutes to settle back down – even if they remain asleep. At least in our case, if I started fusing with her diaper, or trying to pose her too early she would wake up again. Even just the sound of the shutter could wake her if she wasn’t in a good deep sleep. Similarly if she wakes up in the middle of a shoot, take a break to see if she’ll go back to sleep.
Props are nice, but they don’t need to be expensive and you don’t need to go overboard. I tried several different backdrops, including ‘professional’ ones. The backdrop I kept coming back to? A 2 yard block of fabric I bought at Joeann’s for $5. Not only was it beautiful and amazing soft, but at $5 I won’t care if the baby stains become permanent!
Remember, you only need a few good shots, and no one has to see the bad ones. There’s a lot of elements at play here, baby’s mood (or her sleepiness), lighting if you’re using natural light, baby’s bladder, etc. When working in manual mode, I’d have all the settings that I want. Then the sun would go behind a cloud, and all of a sudden my exposure is too dark. I’d correct it, and the sun would come back out. The first day I attempted to photography Nicki, I hated every photo I took. It’s easy to get hung up on what isn’t working, but try and focus on what is instead. Each time you pick up the camera, you will have better results. Don’t stop because you think your baby is ‘too old’. While babies grow fast, they don’t change that much day-to-day. You will have another opportunity.