DIY Newborn Photography: How to Take Newborn Photos at Home

DIY Newborn Photography: How to take newborn photos at home

Hey new mommas, it’s hard to understate how much I wish I could be there in person to capture your little ones’ first days. I wish I could wave a wand and make this time be a thing of the past. But since I can’t be, I wanted to offer a DIY newborn photography lesson on how to take your newborn photos at home with your cell phone.

Steps on how to take newborn photos at home

  1. Find a window.  Almost any will do, but a larger window, facing north will offer a nice diffused light. It’s also nice to choose a window where there is an opposite wall nearby that can bounce the window light around, further softening the shadows in your newborn’s picture. (note, I did not have a second wall to bounce, but I will address this below).diy-newborn-photos-_0001
  2. Supplies needed: A couch cushion or something similar. A white sheet. A nursing pillow (a.k.a. boppy) or soft-ish pillow, up to four chairs.
  3. Set up your background.  If you are setting up on the floor, grab a couch cushion for a soft, but supportive surface, which you can also easily rotate. Lay your “background” so that the window is positioned to the side of your baby’s head.  Next, set your nursing pillow.  I like the full boppy lounger, which offers the most support for the baby’s body. I only had this one, so I adapted it for support with a rolled-up towel. If you don’t have a boppy, a pillow will do in a pinch, you’ll just have to be on heightened alert to make sure there’s no rolling.  diy-newborn-photos-_0006
  4. Cover your “staging area.” You may need to first cover your pillow or boppy with a white towel if your sheet is thin like mine. Then cover that with your sheet.  I prefer white because it will reflect light back onto your little baby, softening shadows for that dreamy effect. 
  5. Create a clean background. If you want to create a very clean background, set up the backs of the chairs facing toward your support, then drape your sheet over the chairs. Bonus, if you have older kids at home, the setup of chairs and blanket is a great activity for them since it’s much like building a fort.
  6. Position your baby. Keep this simple! I know those posed pictures with a baby resting their head on their arms are sweet, but it takes some skill and your little one might lose it before you get them molded into position. When you’re already stressed from “these times,” this is a straight ticket to complete meltdown. Instead, go with the classic side or tummy sleeper. If you’re still having trouble, swaddle them up, which is very calming for most babies and makes them easier to manage for pictures.diy-newborn-photos
  7. The position. Lay the baby so that the window is directly to the side of their head, but slightly forward. This is called “feather” the light. This effect creates dimension to your little ones’ features.diy-newborn-photos
  8. Next, if you have portrait mode, use it. If not, don’t fret. Just come close enough to your baby so there’s not a lot of distracting things in your background. A good photography rule of thumb is holding your lens just above the baby’s eye level, which is a flattering angle.
  9. Rotating is key. Once you’ve nailed one newbie photo, keep rotating your little one or rotating around them, for as long as they last. Don’t forget to look for little details like their toes, hands, shoulder dimples, and tushes. Also, you might not appreciate it now, but it can be fun to have the “outtakes” like yawns or cries too.diy-newborn-photosRegular Mode
    diy-newborn-photosPortrait Mode
  10. Make your images pop with filters. I love Lightroom Mobile because it gives me the most editing power. I can adjust brightness, color tones, blur backgrounds, and even do minor retouching. Before

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Good luck!  Direct message (D/M) me if you need any other newborn photo tips and tricks.  Also, check out my Instagram account for the original post and leave a comment sharing your own experience with DIY newborn photos. 

 

Also, if there are any other tutorials you’re interested in reading or seeing, let me know below. I’ll give this whole IG/TV a shot. Now’s the time, right?

 

Want to see more from the blog? Check out these posts below:

Interested in scheduling a baby or family session when social distancing loosens up? Contact me today here, call 402-304-4057 or email maggie@rifeponcephotography.com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Smash Cake Photos

Smash cake photos for Norah’s First birthday!

To honor little Norah turning one, her parents planned an afternoon of delight. Gold balloons, party favors, and smash cake photos. Was I jealous?   Uh, yeah, a little bit.

Do you have a little one with a milestone coming up? Contact me today to book a family photo shoot or check out more pictures here and here.

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Wanna see more? Visit my family portfolio page or click the links below for other sessions.  Interested in scheduling your own session?  Drop me a line at my contact page.  Learn more about pricing here.

Happy Birthday Michael!

Michael Jr.’s One Year Photos

A year ago, dear friends Kimi and Michael Ponzio welcomed home their first son, Michael Jr.  This August, they not only celebrate his 12 months of life, but also their new son or daughter, who is now 12 weeks.

Michael Jr. charmed the socks off me.  I can only imagine how wonderful their newest addition will be. Please come soon, February. Congrats Kimi and Mike!
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Gentle Newborn Photography Session // Sweet Madison

When Andreea was still pregnant, I had the chance to take some pictures of her adorable bump and can’t-stop-smiling face.  It was a joy to capture this experience for Drea. I hope she’ll be able to look back at the pictures in 10, 20, and 30 years at what was to come.

Less than a month ago, Madison was born. A perfect little girl with a rosy mouth and her mother’s delicate features. Andreea and her darling husband Joe came by the studio for her newborn photo session. She was a delight to meet and I couldn’t get enough of her cuteness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Family Pictures at Winnemac Park

Chicago family photos at Winnemac Park with one adorable baby.

Fall is the perfect time of year for family pictures.  The cool, dry weather makes the fall colors even more vibrant!  If you’re thinking of a a 2014 holiday card, this is a great time to come in to capture timeless keepsakes of your family. Before the shoot, I like to chat a bit on the phone to brainstorm ideas and go over details for the shoot. I love location scouting, so whether you’d like an urban or nature setting, we’ll find the just the place for you!

As for this family below, I can’t get over Thorah.  She’s just the cutest and most smiley baby I have ever photographed. Congratulations to James and Katie for creating this adorable nugget!

 


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Literary inspired newborn photo session with baby Derby

Looking for inspiration for newborn photo ideas?  Look no further than this literary themed newborn photo shoot! Derby is the newborn son of friends and past clients, Jaclin and Danny. Jaclin is one of the biggest book lovers I know (her wedding was at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago). It’s only fitting that she introduce Derby to books early. He’ll start with Goodnight Moon and before they know it, be on to Jaclin’s very favorite, The Great Gatsby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie and Reed

If only teleporters existed in real life, instead of only in science fiction films and books. If they did, I’d be one of the first to invest in their magical power so I could visit these two little ones as often as possible.

Last month my sister gave birth to her second child, Charlotte Thompson, named for our late mother. I was lucky enough to have a wedding booked back in Nebraska the same week Charlotte, aka “Charlie,” was born.  What perfect timing!  I stayed in town after the wedding to get some quality time in with the family.  Of course, I couldn’t keep my camera down.  There’s no way I could resist my nephew Reed’s big blue eyes, or Charlie’s perfect button nose. I can’t wait to see them again this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engy and Jason welcome baby Alex – newborn photoshoot

Welcome baby Alex!  Newborn photoshoot with the Sutherlands

In 2012, I documented Engy and Jason’s wedding at Prairie Productions in downtown Chicago. I had a great time getting to know the couple, who are kind, laid back, and surrounded by wonderful friends and family.

I was thrilled when I received a message back in February that they were expecting their first son, Alex, and asked me to capture newborn pictures.  They came by the studio last week with 10-day old Alex, a delightful little boy with a full head of dark hair just like his mommas. I loved watching them delight in their new son, both happy as can be with the new addition to their family.  Big congrats to the Engy and Jason!

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Chicago newborn photography