Life during a pandemic certainly leaves many of us confused, anxious, and even disappointed-- opportunities, events, and special milestones may be canceled or postponed and our regular social life as we once knew it a month ago has been flipped upside down.
We hope and pray that life under quarantine is just a brief season in the grand scheme of things, allowing us to get back to school, work, and our daily routines without having to worry about getting too close to someone else! As a Lifestyle Photographer, I've had to postpone quite a few scheduled family and newborn sessions. I realize that this job is not a life-sustaining or essential, but it is definitely a life-giving one! I can't think of many more ways to preserve a season of life or special milestone than with photographs.
Newborn babies don't stay in that teeny tiny stage for too long, so postponement of these sessions isn't as easy! They're only so squishable and sleepy for a brief period of time, so capturing these early days is something that many parents cherish, I know I always did with my own little ones!
However, if you are in the position where you're having to postpone or cancel your baby's newborn session, there is hope! With the amazingly talented picture capabilities of newer phones as well as a few of my go-to newborn session tips, YOU can document your own little one's first days yourself while being quarantined at home!
Tip #1: Photograph your baby within the first 5-10 days after birth- This is the ideal time frame to hold a newborn session, since babies are still in that super sleepy stage and will stay sleeping even when being moved and posed.
Tip #2: Use Natural Light- Natural light vs. artificial light will make your photos look 10 times better, I promise! So turn off all the lights in your house and see which rooms get the best natural light. Getting closer to a window will also help too.
Tip #3: Crank Up the Heat!- We all know that newborn babies like to be cozy and warm, so try turning up your heat a few degrees before taking pictures. The ideal temperature to photograph a baby (especially if they're naked or minimally clothed) is 82-85 degrees. If you have a space heater, plug it in, shut the door, and get that room nice and toasty!
Tip #4: Awake or asleep- Newborn babies sleep most of the day, but also try capturing baby's awake time too if baby is content. Photos where baby's eyes are open are some of my favorites! If you prefer the sleepy baby look, try keeping baby awake for at least an hour, give him a feeding so his belly is nice and full, and hopefully he'll will drift off into a deep sleep.
Tip #5: Photograph Baby with Siblings- If you have older children, make sure to document these early days as your baby and his/her sibling(s) learn how to do life together. Try having your child sit and hold the baby in a rocking chair, lay next to the baby on a fluffy rug or blanket, or place the baby on the bed and have the child lay on his/her belly next to baby.
Tip #6: Capture Moments of You with Your Baby- Give your camera or phone to your spouse and have him/her photograph just you with the baby.
Tip #7: Lay Baby in the Crib- This is always one of my go-to spots to photograph baby in during my In-Home Newborn Sessions. Babies look SO tiny in that big crib, so having pictures in this spot are some of my all time favorites! Make sure to get a birds-eye-view from above as well as ones shooting from outside the crib.
Tip #8: Lay Baby on Master Bed- Another favorite spot to photograph the family on (as well as baby by itself) is the master bed. Try laying the baby on it's side and shoot from the bottom of the bed. This is a great spot to have siblings lay on their bellies next to baby or have Mama lay on her side beside baby. Just make sure to clear away any distracting items on side-tables or on the floor.
Tip #9: Document all the Tiny Details of Baby- Get in close to capture all the newborn goodness, such as their little toes, fingers, chubby cheeks, or back rolls.
Tip #10: Remember the Nursery Details!- You may have spent lots of time and money creating a space for baby, so don't forget to photograph it as well!