The Ultimate Tips For A DIY Baby Photoshoot
Your long-awaited baby has finally arrived! But just when you thought you had everything organised, the whole world is shut down due to a virus pandemic. No more trips to the shops or dining out, no movies or restaurants and you certainly cannot leave the house for your much longed-for baby photoshoot with a professional photographer.
However, you shouldn’t miss out on capturing your baby’s first precious few weeks. And while your photos may not be as professional as a newborn photographer’s, this DIY Baby Photoshoot guide will give you all the tips you need to capture some beautiful photos of your baby on your iPhone or camera.
What You Need For A Baby Photoshoot
Now before you turn into a real-life Anne Geddes, there are a few things you’ll need to grab. All these items are usually found around the house, so you won’t need to venture out to buy anything for your own baby photoshoot.
Items You Need
- Camera or phone
- Stretchy fabric for wrapping
- Plain chunky knitted blanket
- Face washers or cloth nappies
- Bath towel
- Big window with good natural light
- Basket or bowl (optional)
- Accessories or small stuffed toys if wanted
- Small heater
- White Noise app
Let’s Begin Your DIY Baby Photoshoot
Okay, once you’ve gathered up all the items from the list above, it’s time to set-up your home baby photoshoot. It’s easier to set everything up before you start, rather than trying to do it while settling your baby. So let’s begin…
Prepare The Room For Your baby Photoshoot
There’s no point going to all this trouble if the mood for your baby photoshoot isn’t ideal. We all know a baby won’t settle if there’s noise from the neighbour’s mower or the family dog is barking at the door. Choose a quiet room in your house and preferably one with a big window and lots of available light. You’ll need lots of natural light to ensure good exposure of your baby photos. If it’s cold, bring a small heater to warm the room but do not have it too close to your baby. Alternatively, change your air-conditioner to warm and set it between 24 – 28 degrees. While you may get sweaty, just remember your baby was snug and warm in your tummy for the past 9 months and loves to feel warm.
Set The Mood
There are many baby toys and apps that provide white noise which help settle your baby. If you don’t already have one, try downloading the free Baby White Noise app from the Apple Store. Playing this in my studio during newborn shoots not only helps settle babies but parents have nodded off too!
Prepare Your backdrop
Once your room is organised it’s time to prepare the basket, bed or bowl your baby will lie in. Now, if you don’t have a basket you can simply use a couple of pillows on the floor or on the bed. The important thing to remember is, it must be SAFE. It needs to be steady, secure and able to hold your baby snugly.
If you’re using your bed or pillows on the floor, simply make a bowl-shaped hole with pillows and blankets. Once you’ve done that, place your chosen blanket over the top.
If you’re using a bowl, make sure it’s on an even floor and in no danger of tipping over. If you have heat packs or small beanbags, place them in the bottom for extra stability. Your baby’s safety is the most important thing!
Get Your Supporting Elements
Now, even though your baby will likely be sleeping, it’s important to make sure your baby is comfortable and supported throughout the photoshoot. This is where the bath towel and face washers come in. The best towel is one of those thick and fluffy bath towels as it provides lots of cushioning. Try rolling it into a long sausage shape like the one below, and use tape to secure it into shape. Once you’ve secured your towel into a long sausage, place it into your bowl or basket like the picture below. It’s important to leave a hole in the middle as this is where baby’s bottom will sit.
Then it’s time to place your chunky knitted blanket over the top. Be sure to pile it up higher on one side as this will be used as a pillow for baby’s head.
Now, you know all those hundreds of face washers you were given at the baby shower? This is where they come in handy! The face washers are for propping up baby’s head and baby’s feet once your baby is in position. Simply hide them under the knitted blanket so they’re out of sight.
Decorate Your Backdrop
There are many ways to decorate your backdrop with items around the home. Now is the time to get your creativity on! For example, if you have a little girl do you have fake flowers around the house? Or better yet, any fresh flowers from the garden or your devoted spouse? You can use any small items to decorate your baby’s newborn photoshoot from tiny stuffed bears to special blankets.
If you have a little boy, you might like to use some pine cones or leaves from outside. Perhaps baby’s Dad loves cars or golf? Or, in the example below, has a Mum who’s crazy about cricket! Try including some of your own personal items like a toy car, Star Wars figurines (yes, I’ve used them LOTS of times) or sporting memorabilia. There are so many ways to make your baby’s first photoshoot special.
Prepare Your Baby
Once your backdrop is ready to go, it’s time to prepare your baby. As it’s easier to photograph a sleeping baby, schedule your baby photoshoot straight after feed time. This will ensure your baby is nice and milk drunk and will hopefully, sleep right through.
Now if you want to try your luck with nude baby photos, make sure your baby is dressed in loose clothing prior to the shoot. That will eliminate all those little lines and marks that a singlet or tight onesie can leave on your baby’s delicate skin. And don’t forget to have some disposable change pads or cloth nappies nearby to clean up any accidents!
However, I recommend leaving your baby’s nappy on and wrapping! Because let’s face it, if you try the nude shoot, you’re going to get pee’d or pooped on. Or both! And that means more washing!
Now the wraps you buy in the baby section at Big W or Target are terrible for wrapping. They have no stretch in them, and your baby will escape in no time! So try looking for stretchy scarves or even one metre pieces of fabric knit from Spotlight will do the trick. You need to wrap your baby nice and snug and stretchy fabric makes it much easier to keep baby, and their little hands securely tucked away.
Even better, if you double-wrap your baby you’ll keep them nice and warm and avoid having weird shapes and lines in the fabric. Just imagine you are putting baby in his or her very own cocoon.
This little guy was 7 weeks old when he had his baby photoshoot. The ‘ideal’ time is within the first 2 weeks as that’s when your baby is sleepiest. But this little one is proof that if you know a few tricks, you too can capture gorgeous pics of your baby.
And check out his double-wrapping. He’s in a super-smooth baby cocoon!
Position Your Baby
Okay, so your baby is fed, milk drunk, double-wrapped and ready to position in the bowl. Place your baby in the bowl, making sure baby’s head and neck are supported at all times. And you need to have your baby parallel to the window light, so the natural light is facing your baby. This will eliminate any nasty shadows.
To get the nice squishy pose, this is where the face washers are used. Fold the up into small rectangles and place under baby’s neck so that baby’s chin is touching his or her chest. Make sure baby’s neck is not in an awkward position and you’re not restricting baby’s airway. Again, SAFETY is the priority!
You can also place face washers under their bottom to lift the legs.
Grab Your Camera! Time For The Baby Photoshoot
Here’s the fun part! Now I’m not going into a photography lesson, I will assume everyone is a beginner and you’re simply after better than average photos of your new baby. So, whether you have an iPhone or a digital camera, just stick it in portrait mode. Simple!
Now here’s some tips.
- Try and photograph your baby within 17 days. Baby is sleepier in the early days so it will be much easier to do!
- The angle you take a photo makes all the difference. Never photograph up a baby’s nose, it’s never a flattering pose. Instead, position yourself between your baby and the window, squat down and shoot downwards, from head to toe.
- Make a point of zooming in close to get all the details too! Tiny fingers, toes and noses are always cute.
- Tilt your camera and try out different angles for extra effect.
- Stand above baby and get a full frame photo of your baby in the bowl.
- Again, zoom in close for a different take on the same shot
- Experiment with black and white.
- Add extra elements.
Full frame from above.
Zoom in from above.
Experiment with black and white.
On the bed pose with added elements.
The tiny detail. Don’t forget them!
Safety For Your Baby Photoshoot
Safety is always a priority and it’s important to remember that all those fancy poses you see on newborn photographer’s website are created in Photoshop.
- Never put your baby in a position where baby is unsupported, could fall or roll.
- Never leave baby unattended in a prop.
- Do not use breakable or glass props.
- Always use a camera strap.
- Ensure baby is comfortable.
That’s A Wrap
And there you have it! The ultimate guide to a DIY baby photoshoot. I hope you’ve found this helpful and that you don’t miss the opportunity to photograph your newborn baby. Even though you can’t visit a professional newborn photographer, your baby can still have a photoshoot even after a few months. This little one was 4 months old when she came in for her baby photoshoot. If you’d like to book in for professional photos when the studio reopens, get in touch here.
Stay safe and stay home,
About Alison – Brisbane Newborn Photographer
Having a baby? Alison Cooke Photography specialises in Brisbane baby photos, wedding and portrait photography and is an award-winning member of the AIPP. With over 20 years’ experience in the wedding, family and newborn portrait industry, Alison will capture all your favourite moments! Get in touch here. Alison is a communications specialist, writer and freelance public relations specialist. You can view more of Alison’s writing here.