Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Say "Fromage", Bebe: Newborn Photos

Ever wonder how to get those awesome newborn photos you see on Pinterest? Well, you can hire someone to come to your house during your baby's first few weeks, because if there's one thing new parents have loads of, it's time and money.

Newborn Photo Tips: Tips for an easy newborn photo shoot

Or, more realistically, you can take them yourself! We missed out on that with Leo since he was in the NICU his first 11 days of life and by the time we got him home, a pro photo shoot was the last thing on our minds. In fact, "get more sleep" and "oh my god will my baby please stop crying" were just about the only things on my mind.

So we had newborn photos that looked like this:

Newborn Photos: Leo in the NICU
Our first snuggle

He will always be the cutest boy in the world to me, tubes and all. These photos represent the reality of our experience and those are the memories I want to have.

With Stella, I was hoping for those snazzy newborn photos. As I was stuck on bed rest until she was born, I had plenty of time to learn how to take quality newborn photos without ending up as a Pinterest fail. I found this awesome newborn photo tutorial and planned my shoot.

Newborn Photo Shoot Set Up

First, the set-up. At the end of my 8th month of pregnancy I was finally allowed to move around a bit. I devised this backdrop made of two dining room chairs, my son's play table, a neutral-colored blanket, and a Boppy underneath. It faced the window and I planned to take the photos in the early morning light, with the light behind me.

Newborn Photos: Set-up for a home photo shoot
Fancy, no?

I tried different poses with a stuffed animal, checked the backdrop, and made sure my camera was on the right settings. It was important to prepare because once you have a living, breathing, crying baby to work with, you only have a few minutes available for the actual shoot.

Newborn Photos: Practice poses with a stuffed animal
Almost as cute as my baby!

Newborn Photo Shoot

On the day of the shoot, I waited until Stella was fed and calm and dressed her in a neutral outfit. I snapped literally 100 photos so that at least one would turn out. Here's one of the best (unedited):

Newborn Photos: Unedited photo from photo shoot
Dreaming of eating and sleeping, her two favorites

Then of course her big brother wanted in on the action:

Newborn Photos: Her big brother wanted in on the photo fun
"Wanna grab a bottle when this is over?"

Photo Finishing

Now that I'd taken the photos, time for editing (I used PicMonkey). Here's what I did:
1. Cropped so that Stella was large and in charge
2. Enhanced the exposure using the auto-adjust feature
3. Focal soften, with a circle the size of her head, making the rest of the photo blurry

Here's the result:

Newborn photos: The finished photo

And now my pretty baby hangs above the couch with the rest of the family:

Newborn Photos: Final photo hanging on our wall

I ordered the canvas from since I live in France, but you can find equally awesome customizable canvases from Shutterfly. I get compliments on these prints all the time but the best part is how much my kids love them. Leo constantly points at them and names each person, and even baby Stella seems in awe of the pretty babies on the wall. My kids are clearly narcissists. I wonder where they get that from.

So there you have it. If you want an inexpensive way to take nice photos of your bundle of joy without having to leave the house, it's more doable than you think. If you try it, let me know!