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  • Hanneke Raap

Making beautiful baby photos yourself

While I'm unable to photograph your baby I wanted to share these tips for capturing your baby during their first month with whatever camera/phone you have available.

In this blog I will give you some tips and photo ideas. I do want to stress that you have to make sure to protect and keep your baby safe at all times. The different poses that you see on my website or from other newborn photographers are done in a safe way after extensive training to ensure you don't harm the baby ever. There are even several poses which are not done with a single shot, but are several images combined so you hold and support the baby. So to photograph your baby safely I recommend placing your baby on their back or on the side.

The same applies for when using props like baskets, little beds, buckets etc, where supports are placed and safety measures are taken so the baby is safe and secure. You can just photograph the baby in their own everyday environment such as in the crib, changing table or in the rocking chair or place it on a soft surface such as a bed.

Know that your images are not going to look the same as professional photos but that is okay. It is not about perfection. The pictures are for you to capture all these precious memories, the little details, expressions, feelings and craziness of this time in your life.


· Choose a safe spot where you want to photograph your baby, you can for example choose the cot or your bed.

· Pay attention to the background. Often neutral colours and/or solid colours work really well such as white, cream and grey. You can for example place a blanket on top of the bed. Remove anything that is distracting.

· Choose neutral clothes for both the baby and you in colours and tones that go together. I would recommend solid colours and avoid logos, characters, busy patterns and bright colours

· Feed your baby so he or she is happy and sleepy.

· Often babies like to be swaddled, so if you had already swaddled the baby once it is in a deeper sleep you can gently take the swaddle off.

· When photographing the baby naked make sure they are nice and warm s and to have supplies on hand in case of any accidents.

My tips

Safety: the safety of your baby is more important than any photo. Always support a babies head and neck and never force a baby into a pose. As said before I would recommend keeping it simple and just go with the baby on their back or on their side. Please don't attempt any poses from newborn photographers since they are trained in newborn safety. When using a camera with a strap, place the strap around your neck. Avoid standing on top of something to prevent losing your balance and falling over. Another recommendation is having someone else close by who can keep an eye on your little one and can keep the baby safe while you make pictures

Light: Look for a place which has soft natural light. Position the baby so the light falls on the top or side of the babies face. You can see whether you have by paying attention to where the shadow falls. Look at the nose of the baby, you want the shadow to fall to the side of the nose or below.

Sibling: when photographing a baby with their sibling, always have another adult close by. The safest

option is for siblings not to hold baby (especially with younger siblings) you can photograph them while they are lying down. You can place the baby in their arms or have the sibling lying on their tummy behind the baby. You can have them gently interact with the baby like have them look at the baby, give them a gentle cuddle. Another good idea is to have the baby swaddled so there are no baby arms or legs swinging at the sibling. Below is an example where the sibling and baby are lying on a soft surface with a blanket thrown over and with a pillow under his head. Mum was sitting right beside them, I placed the toddler first, told him what he needed to do - hold still and be very gently really - placed the baby - took the picture - done. A matter of minutes.

Angle: make photos from different angles, go down to their level and photograph their face square on (imagine a string going from the nose of the baby to your camera). Photographing up babies nose is often the least flattering.

Whole family: Make sure you photograph all family members, so pictures with mum and dad too. And yes also the person who normally is taking the pictures.

You can consider using a timer if there is nobody else around to hold the camera while you make a picture of all of you. You can create some variation by holding the baby in different ways such as lying in your arms, holding face to face, place the baby on your shoulder. I would recommend holding the baby in a natural position. You can also get more variations by sitting, standing or lying. Don't forget to take pictures from different angles and to have light come in.

Details: another lovely thing to take pictures of is of your babies little features like their hands, feet, toes, lips, nose, eyelashes and off course their little rolls. A great way to show off how small your beautiful baby is, is to add something in the picture that you know the size to give you perspective. You can for example have dad's or mums hand hold your babies hand so you see the difference between the two.

Accessories: if you have any items that are special like for example a knitted blanket from grandma, the beany they received in the hospital, a teddy given by a friend and/or an outfit from aunty make sure you include this in the pictures. The babygirl on the round crochet blanket was made by the great grandmother and this picture is priceless for the family

Time of day: babies are often the happiest in the morning, so this is a good time to photograph them.

Video: another thing you might want to do is to also make video's. Apart from looking back at my girls pictures, i love looking back at the little videos we took of her and us so you can see and hear. One of my favourites is her face when she for the first time in her life heard a bird sing.

Editing: to add to your picture you can edit your images with different tools available on your pc or using apps on your phone. Most editing programs like you add a filters, change the crop or convert them to black and white but there are endless options for editing pictures. And lastly don't forget to back up your images in a safe and secure place.

What next: you can share the images with your friends and family by posting them online. I also love printing pictures, it is just something magical holding this picture in your hand. You can make an album or have a canvas made or any other products that are available - your options are endless. 

Also have a look at my blog with the top 10 of photos you want to capture of your newborn baby

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