How to take your own newborn photos (If you can't get a photographer)

Hello! Congratulations on having or soon to have a baby! It is such an exciting time for a family to be home with their new bundle of joy. You worked so hard to build this human with your body, and now they are out in the real world. With that, many people choose to get newborn photos taken by a photographer. However, right now, during COVID many families are not able to hire photographers to document this time. It saddens me so much, and I feel for you all! I have created this post on how to take newborn photos with your iPhone. If you are in the Chicagoland area, I am taking newborn photos again. I am fully vaccinated, boosted, and guarantee a negative covid test.

If you are not nearby, or you don't feel safe having a photographer right now, I am sharing this quick tutorial to help enable you to take your own photos at home. Newborn photography is challenging. It can often take a couple of hours, lots of prep, lots of equipment. Follow along if you would like to learn how to take newborn photos with your iPhone with just a couple of props you might have at home.

Here is a youtube video walking you through the simple setup of how to take newborn photos with your iPhone. Below are some other pointers and links to the products. Also if you would like to purchase my Lightroom Preset to edit the photos, follow this link:

  1. You want to take the iPhone photos within the first 8-12 days of the baby’s life. If you’re going to be in the pictures, I learned the hard way definitely wait until 8-10 days. I took our family photos five days after birth, and it was straining on my body to try to coordinate the shoot. Your body and mind are still healing, and those 3-5 extra days make a difference. You do not want to take them after that date because the baby will start to develop baby acne, their skin might be peeling, and they are slowly getting out of the sleepy newborn stage.
  2. Gather props to take your photos. I tried to take these photos with the items you would have at your home.
  3. A lounger, I choose to use the boppy lounger because it has an incline to it, but is safe for the baby.
  4. Any white backdrop blanket. Here is my one for photographers
  5. a plain white blanket for under the backdrop to ensure no patterns are showing through on the lounger if there are any
  6. Swaddles: I used photographers swaddles in these photos
  7. I also used some simple everyday swaddles from Target in the hospital. I liked these because they were small
  8. Space Heater to help the baby sleep because of the warmth and the noise, or turn your heat up to 74-76 degrees
  9. Baby shusher if not using a space heater
  10. Clamps to clip the backdrop up: 
  11. After I edited my photos using my presets I created here:

Now, set up your shooting area for the baby. Here are some photos of my area:

2) Make sure your light source is on one of the sides. Above my windows are to my left. I do have very thin soft curtains so they defused the light a little on the baby. Therefore, it didn’t matter what time I took the photos. If it is too bright the shadows can be really strong. You can also play with how close your baby is to the windows depending on the time of day. I took these photos at high noon. However, you can do it up to an hour before sunset. I don’t recommend the hour before sunset because the “golden hour” actually can leak yellow light into the room and it can also be too dark.

3) FEED YOUR BABY. Fill them up so they are super sleepy. Be careful with the spit-up, so follow through withholding them upright after their feeding. Jack had his eyes open for one photo and it worked out ok. I typically don’t recommend eyes open because they can have a lazy eye because their muscles are not fully developed yet.

4) Wrap your baby in a swaddle. Sometimes families have cute outfits, but unless they are super sleepy they might not want to be laying without their arms wrapped up.

5) Now it is time to photograph your baby! Open your camera app on your iPhone. I recommend playing with some in portrait mode and some in the regular camera mode. Before you shoot, take a microfiber cloth and wipe your lens. I can’t tell you how many photos I see that are super cute but I can tell right away the lens was dirty!

6) Take various angles. Horizontal, vertical, close up, far away. One of my favorite tricks is horizontal but angle your camera more than you would think. You get a great result of the baby looking like they were on a nice incline, but really they were laying flat the entire time.

7) For portrait mode, select the f on the top right, then on the bottom slide the slider to the right to go from 4.5 to 2.0. This is the aperture of the lens. By bringing it down to 2.0 it creates a really nice blurred effect on the photo. Below is an example of this:

8) Now that you have taken your photos, you have to edit them! You should be using a mobile application to edit the photos. Lightroom is my favorite for iPhone. It is a free download in the app store. The only reason you would want to upgrade it is if you want to use the selection tools to the images to photoshop things out.

9) I will do another post another time on how to edit your photos, in the meantime, I prepared lightroom preset for you to download to edit your photos!

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