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Tips to Take Your Own Newborn and Family Photos

By Emily Savage

COVID-19 has us missing out on all sorts of milestones.  One huge milestone that cannot be postponed by the pandemic is the birth of a new baby.  A big part of welcoming a new baby is having baby’s picture taken shortly after they arrive.  With Stay at Home orders firmly in place, hospital photographers and family photography businesses are all mandated to be closed.  

We are ready to help with some helpful tips from BCB’s original Chicago Photographer, TK Photography!  With some simple tips and ideas you can still capture sweet images of your little one with whatever camera you have.  There is no doubt that having professional photographs are of great value. However, there is also something incredibly beautiful for you and your child, to look back at an image and know that the person who captured it was so in love with you and that moment.

We continued this discussion with the Bump Club and Beyond community on a BCB Facebook Live Video event on Monday, April 6th at 12 pm CST.  TK Photography went over even more additional tips to help capture your new baby in the hospital and at home!

TK Photography’s General Tips on Best Camera and Time Of Day:

  • What Camera to Use: The best camera is the camera you have.  We have a fundamental difference in our family on the best camera.  Thomas is almost always a DSLR fan. He is pro and using it is second nature to him.  On the other hand, I am not a photographer. So, my cell phone is always my go to, especially for catching random moments that pop up.  As technology has brought phone cameras further along, we have attempted to keep up with the advancements. Our current phone is a Samsung S10.  It has an amazing camera, is incredibly user friendly and often is incredibly close in quality to a pro camera. So, use whatever camera you are comfortable with.  Now is not the time to learn a new skill.
  • Best Time for Photos: The simple answer is any time you feel up for it.  The great thing about brand new babies is they don’t really have an agenda other than eating, sleeping, and pooping.  So go on your clock. If you have a great window light you want to go for when the window is lit but not streaming light in. If the sun is strong, on the east side you will want to avoid morning and on the west side you will want to avoid late afternoon.  However, we took photos in the middle of the night because we were all awake, baby was calm, and we were up to it!

Hospital Items to Take Advantage of:

  • Swaddles and bassinet.  Both are great for capturing signature “just born” photos. 
  • Sheets.  The white sheets make a great reflector or simple backdrop of your photos.  If you do not take anything to the hospital with you. Use this to your advantage.
  • Windows.  Available light can be wonderful.  If the light is coming in just right, take advantage of it!

Personal Items to Pack:

  • Your own swaddles, hats and bows — nothing like adding a little personal touch.
  • Plain colored onesies — not necessarily white but some that will be simple to highlight your little one’s face.
  • Special items — a special blanket, a party hat (we had ones made from Etsy), a cupcake for mom etc.  This is a birth day celebration.  So, a few items to make it more festive will brighten everyone’s spirits!
  • Items from siblings — since siblings will likely be restricted, try to have them draw pictures, give special items, or take photos of them before hand to lay with the new baby.  They can still be included!

A simple shot list: (Everyone is different. Take the photos you want to capture.)

Birth

  • One more belly shot before it is gone!
  • Labor photos as you are comfortable with.
  • Baby, immediately after the birth.  If all is well, most doctors will allow a few shots right while they weigh and take vital signs.  
  • Cutting the umbilical cord.
  • Baby’s introduction to Mom.
  • Baby’s introduction to Dad.

Recovery

  • Details!  Get close on those toes, eyes, fingers.
  • Swaddled in Bassinet.
  • Baby’s hospital bracelet.
  • As mom feels up for it more photos with Mom and Dad.
  • Special items with the baby.
  • “Posing”  Mom’s lap with the hospital sheets over it make a great impromptu “posing pillow!”  Have fun posing your own baby in the safety of your lap!

Pro Tips:

  • Avoid “up lighting.”  Have any light come from eye level or above (towards the top of the head).
  • Shallow depth of field is beautiful.  This is “Live Focus” on most cell phones. Using Shallow depth of field keeps your subject in focus and creates a blurry background. This will draw attention to your subject which is where you want it.
  • Remove distractions.  Take a minute to move carts or items from a photo that take your eye away from your baby.
  • Avoid oversize items.  Unless that is your signature style, oversize hats and bows take away from actually SEEING your baby.  They are not the focus.  Anything in the photo should just be to highlight their presence. 

Note: Every photo is from the birth of our own kids.  Both were c-sections. So, getting up and moving around was a challenge in the hospital.  You work with what you can do!

Stay tuned for for more the Bump Club and Beyond Team.  We’ll be providing you many ideas for things to do over the next few weeks when we’re home with our kids right here. Check it out for ways to keep busy, Amazon Prime haul for keeping kids entertained, 101 Movies for Parents, online activities, virtual fitness and MORE!  We’ll be updating our ideas for you and your family daily. 

Make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook  for more ideas as we navigate both COVID-19 AND parenthood together.

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