Capturing memories of your newborn | Melbourne Newborn Photogher
Welcoming a new baby into the world is such a lovely experience, don't you think? They are insanely cute and almost instantly you have this large space in your heart dedicated especially for them. What I also love about a newborn is their tiny little hands and feet, gorgeous lips, soft baby skin and how they are so curly and fresh. Ahh…All I want to do is hug them! Every so often I will come across a baby that I will fall madly in love with which then makes parting so difficult at the end of a photo shoot.
This brings me to the topic of how to capture images of your newborn in the first few days of their lives and within the comfort of your own home, not to mention it being self paced (or baby paced). When you’re at home with baby, you know enough about their routine, that you are able to tailor your photo shoot at different times of the day or week. You don’t have to cram everything in 3 hours. You could do it in 5 minutes, watch the Ellen Degeneres show then take another 5 minutes, do the dishes and laundry and snap a few. You will have many opportunities and much more time to apply these tips until you’re happy with the results :)
There are many ways to shoot a newborn photo session and below are my thought processes on how I would approach a documentary newborn session. Happy shooting! :D
1. All the little details
We know that newborns are best photographed just under 10-14 days because during the earlier days, they are sleepier and easier to pose. Since we want to document them as they are (minus the pose), their age doesn’t really matter however I would still encourage you to still pick up your camera and capture all the little details because 14 days from now, your baby’s hands and feet will not be as tiny as they were when they are 2 days old. We know just how quickly they can grow in the first month or so.
Before I push the button on my camera, I always think, why would I as parent want this photo? Surely we can point and shoot given that we have really good digital cameras on our phone these days so we can take 20 photos of the same thing but what is it, on a deeper level that you would want to remember? Personally, it’s their 'littleness' and how parents would react to these images when they see them over and over again, because it transports them back to a memory of a loving feeling associated to their child. So take your time, consider the shot, visualise it if you can. I sometimes find it helpful to draw stick figures on a paper. :)
With detailed shots you must come in really close to the subject and do so deliberately with the shot in mind. If you have a macro lens, anywhere between an aperture number of f.8-f.11 is good, however both you and your subject must remain relatively still to get everything in focus.
Here are some little details to consider: Baby’s belly button, bum, hair locks, cow licks, left & right hand, left & right feet, nose, eyes, ears, lips, skin and all the chubby rolls.
2. Baby’s Home
What would be good to also document is their environment; where they live when they were born. If you have a collection of books displayed on a bookshelf in your lounge, that says a lot about you and adds character your home. Picture daddy laying down in that same lounge with your baby as he reads a book and baby is fast asleep on his chest. That’s quality time and if there’s a picture that you want to capture, photograph that very special moment. ;)
Some other shots to consider: Nursery, cot, baby mobile, blankets, baby gifts from family and friends, wall decals, etc.
You’ve just given birth and the last thing you want to do is to be in a picture. This is a normal comment that I hear with mummies, especially the ones that operate in zombie mode. I’ve been there myself and I was glad to be in not one but many pictures with my son (some panda eyes). I wanted him to know that I was there with him when he was tiny and not always behind the camera.
Whilst it is about your baby and their life, it would feel and look awfully weird not to be in the photos as a family. So how would you do this without feeling and looking awkward? Well, you would normally engage in a daily activity such as changing baby’s outfit, having weekend breakfast at the table, enjoy a quite moment in the living room to name a few. Now you’re wondering who takes these pictures. The answer is - You! With the help of a tripod but if you don’t have one, no worries. You can still do it if you place your camera on a stable surface (i.e. kitchen bench top). These days most camera come with a timer setting and this is when you would be using it to the max. Prop your camera on a stable surface, set your settings and return to your places. Remember to capture a wide shot to show the environment. That way, your photograph will be having a more storytelling feel to it. :)
Quite often dad's are out working the whole day whilst mum looks after baby at home. When the dad arrives home, I always ask dad what they like about that moment. I also ask what he enjoys about their baby. Does he like to rock them to sleep? Does he burps them after a good feed? Does he tickle their toes? These are beautiful memories to capture for your husband and child.
For mummies who breastfeed or bottle feed, this is also something that you can have multiple tries to document with the help of a timer+tripod. This moment is a quiet one and that it speaks volume of an everlasting connection between a mum and their child.
Some other memories to capture: Tummy time, bath time, reading time, play time, a family outing, etc.
Introducing a new baby to a sibling can go two ways - they either like it or they are not too keen on the idea of another child. If you have toddlers, it is best to watch how they interact with your newborn for the first few days. Some would be gentle, others not so much. For the first scenario, I suggest to have your toddler engage in a quiet activity, like reading a book to their little brother or sister. You can even set your camera timer again and be in the picture with your children. Baby in a rocker nearby, older child is colouring with your help. How wonderful is that?
For the second one, the key is to be quick. Prompt your older child to smell their new siblings hair or give them a task to do because toddlers love that! If your older child isn’t up for it, that’s alright, you can always come back another day to do this. That’s the joy of doing your own photo shoot. :)
Some ideas to use: Older child passing a lovey to baby, pats baby to sleep, kiss baby’s feet, cuddle baby, blow raspberries on baby’s belly.
I remembered watching a very loving grandmother carry her grand daughter around to calm her and that was such a beautiful and soulful memory. To this date, that image still remains one of my favourites. I didn’t have many pictures of my grandparents and so what you’re creating for your child is oh so precious. I hope you can capture each activity your child does with your parents.
Some thoughts for capturing newborns with grandparents: Similar to parents, you would want some play shots, feeding, reading, etc.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Let me know what else you would like to hear. :) Happy to share as always. ;)