The coronavirus outbreak has prompted hospitals to limit the number of visitors a new mother is allowed to have during labor and post-partum. We understand the wish of new mothers to freeze every moment with your newborn, so you have memories to cherish for years. A newborn photo session acts as a celebration of your new baby and as a valuable gift to your loved ones. Although Ochsner’s current visitor policy does not allow visitors beyond one essential visitor, such as a spouse or other relative, we’d like to give you some tips on how to capture these first moments with the camera on your phone.
Newborns grow quickly and it’s important to get your photos within the first 48 hours. With a tips, you can take your own newborn photos like a pro.
Lighting is so important when capturing photos of your newborn. Great photos need great light. Large windows work best, but you do not want direct sunlight. If too much sun is coming through, try getting your photos at a different time of day. A window that is not facing the sun is ideal. Use a white poster board or foam board sheet to bounce light from the window to light up any shadows that appear in the room.
Once you have found your window, turn off the lights in the room to use the natural light from the window. Be sure your back is to the window when getting the shots, but be careful of creating a shadow in your frame.
Props and Wraps
Clothes often swallow newborns, not to mention hide all of the cute fat rolls and details. We recommend trying a snug, fitting stretchy wrap. Swaddling a newborn for photos is an art in itself. We recommend asking your nurse to swaddle the baby – they truly are the best “swaddlers”! If you’d like your baby on a “cloud” of blankets, roll up washcloths to stick in between blankets to get your baby propped up exactly how you want. Other great options for propping the baby including feeding pillows or even a neck pillow like you’d use on an airplane.
Hats and headbands are an easy and simple prop that keep the baby snug and add interest to the shot. If you find your newborn headband is too big, try tying a small rubber band around the excess and hide the tie in the back. Cozy baskets are easy for newborn posing. Lay blankets in the basket to make it comfortable for the baby and shoot straight down for a sweet photo that doesn’t require elaborate posing. Be sure to use a basket that is low to the ground. Make sure the basket is sturdy and roomy enough to keep the baby comfortable.
Adjust the Frame Before Adjusting the Baby
We all have seen the beautiful sleeping baby poses. Getting a sleeping baby in a nice pose takes much more time than actually taking the photo itself. Try taking photos from different angles and with different crops before adjusting the baby. We suggest taking a photo straight on the baby’s face, shooting directly above the baby or shooting from an angle slightly above their face, rather than shooting up their nose. Try taking a photo that shows just the baby’s face, then one from the waist up and then a full body shot. Getting in close to the baby’s tiny hands or feet are also important.
Positioning the Baby
Be sure to be very gentle as you adjust the baby’s arms and legs. The placement will make a huge difference in the photos. While you pose the baby on their back or side, gently move their arms and legs into a snuggly position. Remember: never force a baby into a position. Always move them slowly and gently.
Adjusting and Editing on Your Phone
The camera on a smartphone has come such a long way over the years. On most smartphones, tapping on the screen changes what the camera focuses on. It’s OK to get creative with the focal point of your photos. There are also several apps that can help with editing these photos. A little editing goes a long way! When editing newborn photos, keep it simple. Avoid blurring any skin on an app as it may make it look too fake. Many photo editing apps offer color tools to reduce redness, brightening a photo or adjusting the exposure, highlights and shadows. Editing apps such as VSCO, Snapseed, Lightroom and Afterlight 2, can help make your photos look professional with little effort!
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.