You might be wondering why on earth a newborn photographer would give advice on how to DIY your newborn pictures. Seems odd, right? The sad truth is that COVID-19 has made the art of professional photography come to a screeching halt. While most family sessions and weddings/events can be delayed and postponed, babies are still being born. Time waits for no one and it’s breaking my heart to not be there to document these incredible moments for my clients. Because of this, I want to help!
Don’t have a “real” camera? Don’t worry because an iphone will work in a pinch. Iphones struggle with fast movement and low light but we will try to avoid both of those things. Have a real camera but don’t know how to use it? That’s okay too. Put that baby on Auto and let’s get down to details!
First things first: TURN OFF ALL YOUR LIGHTS! Yes, all of them. Side lights, overhead lights, standing lamps. Artificial light is not flattering, we want window light only.
The best time of day to DIY your newborn pictures is between 10am-2pm. The reason for this is that the sun is generally over top of your house and not directly streaming in your windows like right after sunrise and right before sunset. You should look for soft light and not direct harsh light (harsh is the kind that makes shadows and designs on your floor). Since you’re not scheduling this, pick a nice bright sunny day versus a darker/dreary one. Let’s give your iphone all the help we can!
This is a classic shot that allows you to have a clutter free backdrop to photograph your newborn. Most likely, your baby hasn’t even actually slept in their crib yet so the sheets are crisp and clean! Take a shot through the bars (get riiiiiight up close), stand on a step stool and take an overhead image. Lastly, back up and get a shot of how tiny your little one is by getting an image of the WHOLE crib. Please use caution when standing over a baby. Secure your camera!
For me, awake or asleep doesn’t matter. My sessions are baby-led. If baby is asleep, great! Awake? Awesome! If you have a baby who is very fussy when awake (I’ve had 2/3 fussy ones of my own), you may want to wait until they are asleep.
Lighting Tip: when placing your baby in the crib, place them at the nearest end to the window so that their face is facing the window.
Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, the first days and months will revolve around feeding your baby. Get your partner to take a photograph of you. I know you feel like a mess right now and maybe feeding feels hard. I promise you will look back on these images with fondness and be SO glad you did. Partners, get various angles! Stand above, up close, and far back!
Lighting Tip: If you don’t have a lot of light in your home, having mama turn towards the window. Stand to the side of it (don’t block the light!) to photograph her.
The bedroom is the easiest place to get a full family shot because there tends to be a dresser to set your camera or phone on. Arrange one parent on the bed with newborn. If you have a toddler, bribe them to sit with you by using some special treat. Have the other parent make sure everyone is in view and do the running back and forth. Do not stress about having everyone looking. Look at each other!
Tip: if your toddler is too active for this, try sitting on the floor together in the toddler’s room or baby’s nursery. Read a book together and use a chair in the hallway as a “tripod”. The goal is to get an image with you all included…not perfection!
Don’t forget to get your other half in front of the camera. Even if it’s just their arms holding your little one. If your toddler/big sibling is too small to hold your new baby on their own, have them jump into the shot with their parent.
Tip: If your “big” kid is reluctant to join, try to make a game out of it. Ask them questions! Where is baby’s eye/head/toes? Are baby’s eyes open or closed? Not working? Try hiding gummies (or another special treat) inside the folds of the swaddle and have them “find them”.
Is the self-timer too stressful? Use your cell phone’s super wide angle lens to your best advantage! Sit on the bed together and have your partner hold the phone over your heads and snap with one hand while snuggling you all with the other.
Your 1-4 year old will probably be having a hard time with the big sibling adjustment. It’s totally normal and expected. Make them feel special by taking some images of just them too while everyone is dressed and your bed is made. It might not happen again for a while- HA!
We have the tendency to take a lot of close-ups on cell phones. Don’t forget to back up and “set the scene”. Take an image through a doorway or down a hallway. You want a lot of close ups of your baby but you also want to show your life/home too!
Your bed is the perfect place to get those close up newborn portraits. Try dressing baby in only a diaper or a plain onesie. Make sure their feet are accessible! If you don’t have a neutral bedspread, pull it back and take the portraits with the fitted sheet as a backdrop! Capture toes/feet, belly buttons, and their sweet face and hands.
Tip: place baby on the side of the bed nearest to the window and turn their head towards the window. Use caution always! If your baby is flailing around too much for you to get a good shot, try a tight swaddle.
Hands are a great way to show scale. Let’s face it, it won’t be long until your baby’s head no longer fits in the palms of your hands! Place your baby in your partner’s hands and take a shot from overhead to show scale.
I adore this image and its one I usually suggest unless its freezing or raining. Do you have an across the street neighbor whom you’re close with? Have them take a picture from across the street and text it to you! We never know where life will take us and if one day you move, you will treasure this image.
Newborn photography is hard. Sometimes your toddler won’t participate or your baby won’t settle. You might be too tired or overwhelmed to even attempt this DIY Your Newborn Pictures project. That’s OK. Don’t stress if you can’t get them done in the first 14 days. Even the first month. I frequently photograph newborns at the 6 week mark too!
I can’t wait to see you again soon, my friends!
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
"Our images are so special and really captured our joy and the sweet personality of our little girl. Lyndsay did a great job going beyond the typical posed shots and making our photos feel authentic. We will treasure them forever."
- amanda, northborough
"We have done multiple sessions (family and newborn) and we’re so happy with the results. Lyndsay makes you feel comfortable and is able to truly capture the moment. We will have her prints hung in our house for years to come."
- beth - framingham
"We've done it all - newborn, maternity, cake smash, family photos - and every single time we are amazed by the quality of the end product. Lyndsay captures beautiful moments that we will treasure forever!"
- nicole - framingham