run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

How to take photos of your newborn.. by a professional baby photographer

From the moment your baby is born, you're desperate to capture their insanely amazing beauty on camera. You take four billion iPhone shots. You splash out on a chunky SLR during pregnancy to try to get that blurry background-thing going on. You lie them on that fluffy rug thing that everyone seems to take amazing shots on and... 

It doesn't quite work out as planned, right? Or was it just me... 

The baby wriggles, or the camera won't do what you want, or your family moan you spend too much time trying to capture moments..

So today I had the best time getting snapped by the amazing Heather Neilson. Her baby and child photography specialises in natural settings - you'll be running around golden fields (or slightly muddy ones .. thanks London!) with your kids or cuddling your babe amidst spring flowers. (All the shots in this post are hers, so you can see what I mean.) If you're looking for a fun-loving photographer who's great with kids and knowing with babies (she has a very cute nephew who's given her lots of practice), Heather's the one. 
She even gave me some hints to improve my own tiny man pics. And, since most of us want to know how to take fab photos of our small ones, I asked her to give Run Out of Womb readers her top tips. 

They're aimed at people who want lovely shots, rather than keen amateur photographers who are trying to emulate "professional newborn photos" (which involves quite difficult posing and set ups). Over to Heather...
* Newborns and babies are notoriously difficult to photograph - they are as cute as anything to cuddle, but the wriggling arms and legs, cross-eyes and wrinkly skin make things difficult. The key is to WRAP your baby. Even professional photographers do this when all else fails. It will keep arms and legs neatly contained. Use a muslin, or a receiving blanket in a pale soft colour. 

* The direction of the light is so important. If you are indoors, you will be using window light, which is super soft and pretty. The trick here is to make sure the light is not going up the nose! Otherwise you’ll have that ghoulish “torch under chin” look. Instead, angle your baby so the light is coming from the side of the face. Even better, have the light spill diagonally across the face from the top left or right corners of the head. 

* Avoid direct sunlight like the plague! Whether you are inside or outdoors direct sun is harsh and unflattering (same applies for selfies - or belfies). The light from north-facing windows indoors, or shade outdoors is the softest. Just be careful of dappled patchy light outside.
* Turn off all lamps and ceiling lights and only use natural light. The light from lightbulbs will appear yellow and is not bright enough for good photos.

* If possible, take newborn photos when your baby is sleeping. They look so peaceful and relaxed like this and you won’t be taking photos of baby cross-eyed. Later on, there will be more eye contact which is really cute to capture.

* Don’t forget to take photos of their little hands, ears and piggy toes and even close ups of their delicate eyelashes.

* Watch the background! You might not notice at the time you are taking the photo, but it could be ruined by a distracting bright yellow Lego block. Or worse, a breast pump in the background. Ideally place baby on a blanket, throw or plain quilt. Your grown-up bed is often good for this.

* And finally, don’t forget to be in some photos with your baby! You will probably feel dishevelled and sleep deprived, but these will be the most precious photos to your children when they are grown.. think of how amazing it is to look back on photos of your young parents when you were a little one. Good luck!



  
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