So many people are missing out on milestones right now, from high school graduations to wedding celebrations to celebrating the birth of a child. If you’re an expectant or new parent who hasn’t been able to celebrate your newborn the way you envisioned, it’s okay to feel frustrated and upset. That being said, there are still ways you can celebrate the milestone yourself from the safety of your home. One way? A DIY newborn photoshoot. Below, tips from Artifact Uprising, a company that creates printed photo gifts and books and more, on how to DIY your own newborn shoot in an easy and fun way.
Bathe Baby in Natural Light
Take advantage of the natural light you have in your home. According to lifestyle photographer Taylor Powers, window light typically works best, and the right time of day depends on the window direction. “Try to shoot when it’s bright, diffused light as opposed to direct light. If your babe is only cooperating when there is direct light, you can even toss a temporary white sheet up over a nearby window to diffuse the light,” Powers tells The Bump. “Take advantage of those early rising hours and early-to-bed times with your new little one because often that soft light at dusk and dawn is the perfect time to capture them.” If you’re looking to send out a birth announcement to family and friends, natural light and neutral backgrounds can really help highlight baby as the center of the image.
Use Whatever You Have Around the House to Get the Shot
Time to get a little creative! While a tripod can be useful in getting a bird’s eye view shot above baby, you can also try using a table or a chair to achieve the same effect, Powers says. If you want to jump into the shot or get the whole family, try using bean bags, a heavy toy or blankets to stabilize the camera. While a self-timer will do the trick, Powers recommends buying a remote trigger if you are able to. “It’s a game changer as it lets you snap a bunch of photos at once so that you don’t have to worry about resetting the family multiple times,” she says.
Capture All Those Sweet Moments of Slumber (While You Can!)
Another great time to snap pictures of your little one? When they’re asleep! It’s likely when they’re going to be most cooperative when they’re asleep—and it’s nice to have those sweet, sleepy photos (especially since that’s what newborns do most of the time those first few months anyway!), Emily Dubin, new mom and creative director at Artifact Uprising says. “Remember, don’t force it! If it’s not working, or your kids are getting cranky, try another time, especially with younger kiddos.”
Get Siblings Involved
It can be great to get older siblings involved when trying to capture your newborn. To get them excited, you could even turn the shoot into a game, like asking them to pick out and “style” some toys around baby, tickle baby’s feet or give them sweet kisses, Dubin advises. Or, if you are shooting a family photo, make it a craft project and have them help create a background or funny props. You can even make it fun with a silly game, like having them react to phrases such as ‘what kind of face do you make when…’, she adds.
Honor the Everyday Moments
While we’ve all seen newborn photoshoots with cute props and color-coordinated outfits on social media, sometimes it’s the photos capturing everyday moments that are the most special. “This could be a quiet moment with your partner reading with baby’s favorite board book, play time on a picnic blanket in the backyard, or the surprised look (or wail) on her face when she gets her first bath,” Dubin says. Not every photo has to or even should be posed, she adds. You might appreciate celebrating all the little honest and beautiful moments of those early days together later on.
Create a Simple Background
For newborns, it’s best to keep it simple and minimize any distracting elements in the background—after all, your little one is the main event here! Dubin likes to take pictures from overhead while baby is asleep in their crib or laying in a blanket. “It’s a great way to capture their whole body, and they naturally create a simple background that puts focus on the baby. I like to use neutral crib sheets or blankets that are either solid or have a simple pattern, and dress the baby in a simple white onesie. Then the focus is truly on them,” Dubin says, adding, “If you want to document baby’s growth, you could do a similar shoot on a weekly or monthly basis. By keeping the background flat and consistent, it becomes a nice timeline to see how your baby has grown.”
Once baby’s a little older and starting to look around, have your partner hold and shake their favorite toy or another object that interests them directly above your phone or your camera. This is a great way to get baby to look up at your lens, Dubin explains.
Sometimes, Blurry is Beautiful!
While you might feel pressure to get the perfect shot, try to embrace the imperfections and to just have fun with it! “Remember why you’re doing this in the first place—not to have perfect images, but to document this season of life as it is!” Powers says.
Once you have your newborn photos, there are plenty of ways to use them: in a birth announcement, baby book or any other keepsake. Artifact Uprising provides both baby books and birth announcements, and from now until May 15, The Bump readers can get 15 percent off with the code AUBUMP15.