Tip #1 – Start when your baby is very small. Brand new, that is. Right in the hospital if you can. And try to capture the milestones – first hug with mom and dad and maybe siblings, first feeding, first ride home. I believe that imagery is important to our history and you will be thankful later on that you have managed to capture these special moments. Plus, baby acne does not usually start until around 3 weeks so you’ll want to get a jump on this stage if possible. If you go to a professional for portraits, professional retouching is probably included with any portraits you purchase (that’s how it works in my studio), but retouching is not generally something that the typical mom or dad has expertise in. So if you are photographing yourself and looking for a special moment choose one when baby’s skin is clear.
Tip #2 – Keep your camera with you as often as you can. You may have heard the saying ‘the best camera to have is the one you have with you.’ Special moments happen all the time with babies and unless you set these moments up, they are also fleeting. The more often you have your camera with you, the more often you are likely to capture a moment. I’m able to capture great images for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that I’m paying 100% attention to the baby I’m with and I’m either setting up or waiting for just the right moment during the entire session.
Tip #3 – I adore naked baby pictures. If you want naked baby pictures, though, you need to be prepared for a few things. The chances are you or something around you or the baby will be soiled so you’ll need adequate cleaning supplies and blanket changes right with you. You’ll also need to keep the area very warm because you don’t want the baby fussing. You’ll want to remove baby’s diaper at least 15 or 20 minutes before you start photographing to minimize diaper lines. And, you’ll want the baby to be asleep if possible. Sleeping naked baby pictures are the best. For this, I can only tell you that timing and the right (warm) environment is everything. Oh, and it may go without saying but make absolutely sure that you are not exposing anything more private than baby’s cute little behind.
Tip #4 – If you elect to take pictures with the diaper on, cover the diaper. There is nothing worse than seeing a really cute image with all the advertising that you see on commercial diapers or with diaper tabs showing. Diaper covers are available at almost any baby supply store. I would use them.
Tip #5 – If you swaddle baby in a blanket (very cute choice), choose a blanket that is not going to compete with baby’s cuteness. In other words, choose something with a nice texture but with either no pattern or a tiny pattern. Make sure the color of your baby’s wrap or blanket matches the color of whatever you lay your baby on.
Tip #6 – Keep baby safe while you are photographing. It almost goes newborn photo retouching service without saying but I have to tell you that I have seen even the smallest babies move around a lot. Make sure that baby is absolutely safe and not in a place where he or she can fall, even a fraction of an inch.
Tip #7 – Unless you’re a professional, avoid flash (especially on-camera flash) – use natural light. There are books written on this and I will tell you that it can take years to adequately ‘see’ and properly use natural light., but I’ll offer one important pointer – use a big light source. Something like a large sliding glass door is a good example. If you lay the baby on the floor (preferably on a small beanbag), the light will spill over nicely.
Tip #8 – Watch your background. You don’t want to get a great image of your baby with a distracting background. Remove things from behind baby that you are not going to want in your picture. The best way to tell if something is there is to really look through your viewfinder first.
Tip #9 – Unless you know it inside and out (and even if you do), read your camera manual. Then read it again. Ask for help from someone who understands cameras if you don’t understand something because the better you know your equipment the better you will be able to use it in a pinch and in a variety of situations. Then practice, practice, practice with a cooperative subject under all different conditions.
Tip #10 – Don’t forget to upload the images from camera to your computer. Then, make sure that you back up whatever hard drive you use. You don’t ever want to go through all the trouble of taking great images and then potentially lose them if a hard drive fails (and I’m here to tell you that all hard drives eventually fail). Use an online backup service if possible, there are a lot of them available. We actually have a triple backup system in our studio, and we’ve never lost a client image because of it.