How to Take Photos of your own Baby while At Home in Isolation?
The photography industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping across the world at the moment. It has caused the shut down of most photographers who work closely to their clients. Unfortunately in the newborn world it is impossible to work safely with our precious little clients. My heart breaks for my clients who I have had to reschedule or cancel whose little ones may miss out on photos. So I have come up with a little guide on how to take your own newborn photos while you are at home in isolation.
I usually start my sessions between 9:30 and 10 am as I find babies sleep the best then. BUT being at home you have the luxury of doing this at a time that suits you. You can even do it over a few days. Try doing the photos just after a feed. You can do this while baby is awake or nice and sleepy it doesn’t matter.
It is definitely cute to see a baby in a bucket BUT most newborn photographers have undergone years of training to safely pose babies in a bucket or prop. These are ALWAYS done with babies safety in mind. That means always having someone near the baby in case they move suddenly. You know the movement I am talking about- the one where they suddenly flick their legs or head and catch you off guard. For this reason I urge you avoid these for your in home sessions. There are so many other options out there to create a beautiful image of your baby.
Equipment you will need
- Camera- DSLR, Point and Shoot, Phone
- Blankets- At Least 2
- Small Towels or Face Washers
- Wraps, Scarfs or Baby blankets
- Large Window
- Sheer Curtain or White Sheet
- Outfits, Bonnets or Tiebacks
- Blank Wall or a Well Lit Tidy space
How to Create a Posed Wrapped Look?
For the purpose of this post I have used my DSLR camera BUT you can apply the same to any camera. Use whatever you have. If you don’t know the settings on a DSLR most Auto functions or Portrait mode settings will work well.
Find a large window. The bigger the better. It needs lots of light but you don’t need sunlight streaming in. If it is too bright you can soften the light with a sheer curtain. Here I have used a shower curtain sheet from IKEA. But any sheers will do. Even a white sheet can help stop that harsh light coming through. If you don’t have one that is ok. Just move your set a little further away.
Lay a folded blanket out flat. Layer another blanket on top – this will be your background. Position this not too far from your window. If there are any direct lines of sun on it move it further away from the window or use a sheet to diffuse the light.
Smooth out any wrinkles. You may need to iron it a little if it is really wrinkled. I prefer a knitted material rather than cotton.
Lay a scarf out over the blanket. I love stretch scarves but if you only have a baby blanket that you can still achieve the same look.
Meet Baby Sybil. Lay Bub on the middle of the wrap or scarf. Baby will lie in line with the window.
Wrap over one shoulder snuggly and tuck under the bottom. It does not matter if babies legs are in or out. Do the same with the other side. If there is any wrap left over either tuck under the bottom or you can leave loosely untucked. Leave the hands in or out. Whatever your baby likes.
Fold up the blanket to just under the hands. Smooth out any wrinkles.
It's All about the angles.
A huge difference can be made when shooting a baby just by changing your angle.
1. Never shoot up your babies nose. If you can see nostrils you are too low. Move higher up and over their head. The top two images you can see the nostrils. This is the incorrect angle.
The bottom image is further over the baby and is much more flattering.
2. Change your position. Move closer in. Shoot towards the window. This will change the look of am image.
3. Don’t forget the details. Zoom in nice and close to get their lips, fingers and toes.
Another simple pose is a nice basic wrap. Without needing to move baby too much.
Simply push the wrap over their shoulders and pull one end under the bottom to hold the feet in place. Twist the loose ends off to the side. If their feet keep flying out
Try with hands in, hands out or one on the chest. The face should be slightly towards the window.
Place big brother or sister next to a window with a plain wall. Get them to hold baby while wrapped up. Place babies head closest to the window. Have them look at you and look at the baby. You can easily add a second sibling next to the one holding the baby. Aim for the opposite side to baby’s face so you don’t block the light.
Choose neutral colours. Avoid Logos.
Change it up by lying them on the same blanket we used earlier. They both may need a little pillow to bring up their face a little or support babies head. Their faces should be towards the light just slightly.
Use what you have.
You do not need anything fancy. Yes I have lots of fabric to choose from but use what ever you have. You might have a quilt that is sentimental to you, a bed or couch that is near a window. Use baby wraps you have or a scarf in your cupboard. Place them asleep in a cute outfit in the same way described above. The light is the important factor. The face should be closer than the feet to the light.
Take turns to photograph each other. Sometimes it is just as nice on a clean area of your house. Remove the clutter first. Use the babies bassinet or change table near a window.
It is about documenting the time in your life. These photos were taken in their home in their front doorway where they have a couch. Nice an simple.
Try not to get upset about not being able to get professional photos. We can always do some a little later when baby is a bit older. We can even do newborn photos up until they are about 10 days old.
Apply these same principals for a maternity photo. Good light and good angles are vital. Document the struggles you are facing.
Most importantly remain safe and enjoy this time with your new baby to bond and snuggle. I wish you all the best and hope we can reopen in the near future. I miss my baby snuggles!!!