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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Newborn Photo Shoot: 5 Quick Tips

 One of my oldest and closest friend's recently had her first baby- a beautiful baby girl- and I had the honour of taking the newborn photos for her. With Ari as my assistant, I packed up my camera & props and headed over to capture what is such a brief, special time in a new family.

Since Ari was so well behaved, I was able to create a chalkboard back drop similar to the one I had created for her newborn photos (I have edited the name in the photo at my friend's request, but everything else is untouched). It's a simple & cute way to announce the birth of your baby and include their newborn stats: height, weight, time of birth, etc.

While it can save you a few bucks to do your own newborn photos, some organization is required. So I thought I'd put together 5 quick tips to help capture some special pics that will have people thinking you  hired a pro.

1. Get organized ahead of time.
I totally understand that the first little while at home with a newborn can be crazy. Throw in hormones, emotions, and sleep deprivation, and you're probably thinking organization?! I forget what that means!  No pun intended, but take baby steps. Plan a day or 2 two in advance. Think of  where you want to take the photos, what kind of lighting, background, and props you want used, and gather them together. It might sound crazy, but it's usually easiest to get these photos in the first two weeks since babies sleep so much and are usually quite content and easy to please (therefore making ideal lil models!). If you want certain family in the photos and/ or some help, make sure you give them a few days notice.

2. Decide what kind of photos you want.
Do you want the classic, simple shots with the baby propped up on a pillow & blanket with their arms crossed? Family shots?  Do you want some artsy/ styled shots (ie with a special background and/ or props)? Or would you like to re- create some of your own baby photos?  Etc. Check out sites like Pinterest for inspiration so you know what kinds of photos you would like and gather the necessary people and other items you'll need ahead of time. Pay attention to how old the baby looks in the photos and if they're awake;  posing and props are usually easiest when the baby is new & asleep (see tip #1).

3. Get yourself ready first, leave the baby 'til last.
If you and/ or anyone else will be in the photos, make sure everyone is photo- ready before you get the baby ready. This way, you can feed the baby and hopefully have them happy and/ or asleep for the photos. Decide what you want the baby to wear (just a diaper and/ or cover or special outfit, etc) and pop them in it when you change their diaper before the photo session. Have a back up ready just in case.

4. Prioritize which shots are most important to you.
As you probably know by now, these little critters have their own schedule. So if the baby is cooperating, take the photos that are most important to you and work your way down the list. That way, if/ when the baby gets tired of all the excitement, you'll hopefully have got the photos you wanted most. Keep in mind that some of the artsy shots can be taken when you're home alone with the baby, and if s/ he sleeps a lot, you can take posed shots over a few days when they're sleeping.

5. Have patience!
Babies make cute models, but don't take directions. So as much as you want them to cooperate, you might have to accept that your lil bumpkin doesn't care as much about these photos as you do. If a certain pose isn't working, move on to the next and maybe try again later. Again, some photos are best saved for when the baby is asleep so you can prop them just the way you want. If your lil one is awake for the some or most of the photo shoot (as my lil model was!) just be prepared to allow more time for them to wiggle around and to get the shot you want. And heck, even if you had your heart set on a certain sleeping shot, it makes for much more unique photos when you capture glimpses of their little personalities!