Recently, Kristin and I took Baby Train’s newborn pictures. Should you want to try your hand at a DIY newborn photoshoot, I want to give you a few quick tips and tricks to try – as well as show you a few images from the day.
I have to say that while this photoshoot wasn’t 100% planned, it was a bit more planned than my total DIY on a whim maternity photoshoot that I showed you images from last week. That one I did completely on my own (like self timer and run) and this shoot, while it was DIY as well, I was thankful to have my sis there and an extra set of hands!
Kristin and I both have “fancy” cameras and a few lenses. We do use those when we shoot, but I don’t think that you necessarily have to have anything fancy to pull off your own DIY shoot. In fact, I snapped a few images on my iPhone that were well lit, well framed and could have been used on a birth announcement had I wanted! Many pics below were taken with my iPhone as well. Since Kristin was there, I waited to get images from her, but all of that to say, this is something anyone can do!!
First off, here is what you will need::
- A Well Lit Area:: Think natural light and no funky shadows.
- A Camera:: Duh. I mentioned this already, but don’t be intimidated if you don’t have a fancy schmancy camera. Use what you have and try – afterall, thats the best way to learn!
- A Beanbag:: Beanbags are easy due to the ability to move around them and shoot at different angles, but a couch or some other soft/comfy item will work too.
- Props for the shoot:: we used a basket and some fabric and that was it. Cute hats and all can be found on Etsy, but honestly, I wasn’t that planned out this go around!
- A Baby 🙂
- Other? Potentially some clamps. My husband has THESE which work perfectly.
- Other? Coordinating clothes if you have kids or family you want in the images. Need tips on how to plan what to wear for family photos? Click HERE.
- Recommended? Search on Pinterest for shoots you like. This will help you decide colors, get ideas, etc.
The night before we did the shoot, Annie M, Moose and I ran to the store. I wasn’t sure that I loved anything I had at the house, so I wanted to pick up some new fabric. I also wanted to see if I could find something (non maternity) for me to wear for the pictures, so we scooted by Target too….I may or may not have used this as an excuse for a Target run! 🙂
At Hobby Lobby, I found this white fuzzy fabric and picked up a yard of it. I knew I didn’t need a ton, though if you are using it as a backdrop too (versus just underneath your subject) you will need more. I also picked up the blue burlap, gray muslin fabric and brown wicker basket.
The next day, Kristin arrived bright and early and we got to work. In about .02 seconds, our “home photoshoot space” was set up.
Basically, we opened all of the windows to get as much light as possible. We set the beanbag in a well lit area and we ensured that there were no shadows across it.
We first laid the fuzzy white fabric on it and then the basket and then the burlap and then the baby – swaddled in the grey muslin. A picture below will show you what I mean.
Don’t think that this idea was completely original. I saw similar styles on Pinterest and then chose colors/fabrics on my own. I love the idea of different textures on the fabric, hence why I have multiple included. I also knew that we would probably do more than one style, so this gave a bit of variety.
NOTE:: We draped the fabric over the beanbag, but if you want it under and behind baby (for more of a backdrop) you will need to lay the fabric on a chair, couch or a beanbag with something behind it (like the back of the couch or chair) and then clamp the fabric up so that it is behind and beneath the babe.
Okay, so our “studio” was set and it was time to get to work. I nursed the baby so his little tummy would be full and then I swaddled him as he drifted back to sleep. It’s recommended that you do the newborn shoots within the first 7-10 days as the babies are usually still pretty snuggly and sleepy!
I did not take off his diaper, and with him being wrapped up, we guaranteed that we would not have any accidents and that he would be warm – helping him to snooze for the shoot. Some photogs use a space heater, but we just put him wrapped up and had him in the sunlight.
Please note, we did not do any of the fancy tricks with the baby sitting like a cute little frog or with his head propped up on his hands or anything else. These pictures were just simple, straightforward, basic, classic and adorable, but if you want the fancy stuff, I’d recommend hiring a pro!
I set him in the basket, slipped out his paci, he yawned a time or two, drifted back to dream land and we were ready for the shoot.
We took a bunch with the above props and then removed the basket and burlap. Burlap can be a bit itchy, hence why baby was wrapped in the other fabric and then set on top.
Below I am going to include a bunch of pictures, but here are tips for your photoshoot….
- Quantity:: I am NOT saying quantity over quality, but what I am saying is that when you are DIY’er, take a few extra to ensure you get what you want. People always ask “how I get such good pictures.” Well, I take a bunch and then have a few good ones. All you need is a few.
- Take Your Time: Baby will yawn, shift around, move its arms, kick its cute little feet and more. Take your time and have your camera handy so you can get the adorable yawn photo as it happens. The entire shoot (two styles of baby and a bunch of family took close to an hour and a half).
- Angles:: There are a few specific things to consider as it relates to photography…the rule of thirds is a composition trick and one that can be applied here. Angles are also important as it gives different perspectives. Stand above the baby, get down low/eye level with the baby. Zoom in, zoom out, get tight on the baby’s features, etc.
- GET TIGHT!!! Get close to the subject!! We do not need to see all thats going on around you, so focus on that baby and get close. This will show off the features and make for an adorable picture.
In the image below, you can see a few things. You can see the beanbag with the fabric draped over it and baby placed in the middle. You can see the shadows/bright lights on the carpet to the right of Kristin that we have made sure to avoid. You can see Kristin standing above and shooting down at the baby.
Excuse Brother in the picture, but next, you can see how Kristin was moving around the Baby to get different shots and angles. Also, we did not do to much to position his arms or anything else. He would occasionally move and we would snap a few more pictures and if we wanted it tucked in a bit more, or pulled out, we would try to gently shift them, but really, no fancy poses were set.
I am spilling the beans here, but below is the one we chose to use on our baby announcements. Isn’t he precious!
I also want to note about this picture that you can see the carpet on all four corners. I could have cropped it a bit, but it did not bother me and I want to mention that so that people will know that this DIY shoot isn’t perfect! I bet though, if I hadn’t told ya, hardly anyone would have noticed, am I right!? 😉
After we finished the ones of just the baby, we wanted a few family ones. We quickly turned the couch so that it was in better lighting (in front of the fire place) and Kristin took a few of the kids and then of the hubs, baby and I – while the kids tried to tackle her and make us laugh.
Excuse the mess in the second image, but ya know…photoshoot, wardrobe changes, couch shoved out of the way, kids toys strewn everywhere, pillows tossed, the norm.
Lastly, when working with kids, make it fun. From silly faces to tossing a ball to try to get their attention, to bribery, to tickling, to letting them down to run for a minute before snapping a few more, make it fun.
Sometimes, the cutest photos are the craziest…and the Baby and the dog, this photo may be my most favorite ever.
So thats it for our DIY newborn shoot. Hope that helps some of you who want to try your own and if you’ve done your own before, I’d love to know how it turned out! Any tips for us?? Please let me know if you try it or if you have questions!!
Happy picture taking!