How to Take Newborn Photos in 20 Minutes While Your Baby Is Sleeping
Get ready for a baby photoshoot that won't even disturb their precious nap time with this advice on newborn photos.
As a new parent, you’ll hear from nearly everyone how quickly the years will go by. Your baby may be just days or weeks old now, your friends and relatives will say, but tomorrow, they’ll be leaving for college.
You can’t slow down time, but you can preserve every tiny detail of your newborn in photos. And it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. Even if you hire a photographer to take professional pictures in the first few days of your baby’s life, you’ll want more—trust us.
OK, but when do you actually take these photos? Here’s a helpful hint from busy moms everywhere: Grab your phone and spend a few moments capturing those shots each time your little one takes a nap. A sleeping baby is comfortable, stays still, and doesn’t cry—all key elements of a print-worthy photo! And to get the best quality photos possible, keep these tips in mind.
1. Find a Clean, Well-Lit Location
You know your baby best, so you probably know where he or she will fall—and stay—asleep. That might mean putting him or her in the crib, in the middle of a large bed, or on a blanket on the floor. “Any room will do, but go for the room that has the best lighting and is easiest to declutter,” says family photographer Rachael Reuther. “You’ll want clean surfaces in the background.”
Then, “look for good window light,” recommends photographer Melody Coarsey. “The flash on your camera will make the light harsh, so turn off other lights in the room and use the window as your main source of light.”
2. Keep Your Little One Asleep
To capture those sweet, peaceful shots, it’s helpful to keep your baby asleep. As new moms and dads know well, a little one’s favorite place to sleep is often in a parent’s arms—so use that to your advantage. “The pictures you will cherish the most are going to be the one of you holding and admiring your little bundle of joy,” says Rachael. “Take turns snuggling your baby while the other take the pictures. I guarantee your new little baby will stay asleep.”
If you’d rather have pictures of her sleeping on her own, simply “crank up the heat a few degrees,” Rachael suggests. “They will stay asleep a little better.”
In addition, even the tiniest noises—like the click of the camera shutter or your whispered instructions to your spouse—can wake up a sound sleeper, so drown those noises out with soothing sounds. “A white noise machine or even just having the vacuum running in the background can help keep a baby asleep,” says Melody.
3. Follow Your Baby’s Lead
You’ve probably seen photos of perfectly posed newborns, complete with props and outfit changes. While they may be cute, they’re best left to the professionals. “If you haven't been trained how to pose a baby and don’t know how to use Photoshop, do not attempt it,” says Melody. “No baby can hold their head in their hands for a photo. It’s Photoshop magic.”
Instead, you’re much better off wrapping your baby in a cute swaddle or an outfit you love, and see what happens from there, she says. “Baby-led posing comes out beautifully.”
4. Make the Most of Your Photo Shoot
Just because you don’t actively pose your little one doesn’t mean you can’t get a good variety of shots. “Find a position that you and your baby are happy with—where the baby is safe,” Melody recommends. That could simply be however your baby falls asleep—swaddled on his or her back or curled up on his or her belly. “Then, move your body.”
Rachael agrees. “In one single pose I can get four to six totally different pictures by just tilting my camera,” she explains. “Get close and tight pictures, then get a full body frame. Tilt your camera 45 degrees, stand on a chair, lay on the floor, see how many angles are possible, and go crazy.”
Capture the baby’s toes, fingers, nose, hair—all those sweet details that you want to remember forever. For even more options, add a different blanket or invite a sibling to come lay down too. Without changing your little one’s position even once, you can get dozens of different photos.
Above all, don’t strive for perfection. “Professional newborn photographers spend hours learning how to properly pose, handle lighting, and work their cameras,” Melody says. “Just enjoy taking pictures of your little one. These are images you will have forever.”
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