7 Steps for Safe Newborn Photos During COVID-19

You just had a baby and life is intense!  It is always important to have safe newborn photos, especially now that the state of California has issued a Stay at Home Order.  It is currently not an option for newborn and baby photographers to safely work while social distancing.  But capturing images of your precious new baby is so important, and I want to help!  With that in mind, I have compiled tips for you to successfully photograph a simple newborn session in the safety of your home.  Don’t miss out on these moments!

1. Things to Have on Hand

    • Before you begin, you will need a few things to create the perfect environment for safe newborn photos at home. My favorite newborn gadget is The Baby Shusher: Sleep Miracle.  I use it during every session to create a soothing environment and babies love it!  White noise is a sound similar to the wooshing babies have grown accustomed to in the womb.
    • Babies are also easily calmed with a cozy swaddle. For purposes of newborn photos at home, I suggest using Rayon Stretch Wraps as I do in the studio.  Two of them are needed for my simplest wrap technique (detailed below).  You’ll also of course want clean diapers, wipes, and burp cloths on hand.

2. Learn How to Swaddle Like a Pro

      • Everyone asks me how I swaddle their baby so well – so I’m made a tutorial!  I will teach you the step by step process for my most basic wrap so that you have a calm, happy baby in your photos!  Remember a calm baby helps in creating safe newborn photos.
      • For this wrapping technique, you will need 2 rayon stretch wraps as mentioned above. The color choice is yours, and you can even use two different colors to create a more diverse gallery.  To watch me demonstrate, view this video.  Or, you can purchase my Newborn Photography Wrap Tutorial for step by step instructions.  Right now, the digital download is just $5!

      Wrapping Tutorial

      By Jennifer McNeil in Newborn Photography EDU

      8 pages, published 5/13/2020

      Learn to swaddle and wrap babies for newborn photography. This is a step-by-step instructional PDF with images to show even beginning level newborn photographers how a simple two-look swaddle is achieved.

    3. Find Your Light

      • Lighting is everything in photography. Finding a prop basket or box in your home is a great way to create a space that can be moved to any available light.  The most flattering light for babies, comes down their face at a 45 degree angle.  You can of course also play around with other lighting, for example I love to capture a back lit image of the baby’s profile each session.  Diffused light is going to be softer and better for capturing all the details of your little one.  You can use sheer curtains to help with this, or avoid times of the day when beams of light are cast into your shooting space.

    4. Set it Up Right

      • When it comes to newborn photos at home, there are several factors when choosing the right time of day: lighting, sleeping routine, and feeding schedule, and your postpartum recovery are all very important.  While most newborn photographers would recommend photos within 10 days, it is important to note that you need to feel up to it.  As soon as you do, you can take note of when your baby eats and sleeps.  I always suggest starting a session right after a diaper change and a full feed – because babies tend to be sleepiest at that point.  When feeding before the session, if the baby is in a diaper only, and lightly wrapped in a blanket, it will make for an easier transition into the newborn wrap.
      • The day before you plan to take newborn photos at home, set up the space you plan to use. When I set up a prop basket or box, I make sure the prop is on the ground, and very stable.  Towels and blankets can be added to fill the prop and make a comfortable resting space for your baby.  NEVER leave a baby unattended in any prop, and never leave them in the prop for an extended period of time.

    5. Polished Images take Editing

      • Even the best in-camera images take a bit of post-editing to polish them into a final image. You can make simple adjustments like color balance, cropping for composition, and adjusting exposure within your phone.  I am also currently offering professional editing services to my clients who are choosing to create DIY photos during COVID-19.  Contact me to learn more about this option.

    6. Print and Enjoy!

      • Photos are so easily lost and forgotten on digital media, so make sure you print them, and display your work proudly in your home. I offer full-service printing for artwork displays and heirloom albums, and you can check out this video for ideas on how to display your photos.

    7. Book a Future Session

      • While you may not be able to book a newborn session due to COVID-19, you can plan for future photos. This future session is a great way to create that first family photo to add to your wall, and booking ahead will mean you are able to schedule the first available date after everything settles down.  I offer both studio and on location sessions for families and children of all ages, in addition to my maternity and safe newborn photos.

    Want more guidance!?  Zoom calls are available to speak directly to me and learn more about the specifics of creating a newborn session at home.  I will walk you through your home session on our call and help you with lighting, angles and positioning of the baby. Contact me for more details.

    If you’d like to book a newborn session, click here for information on session fees and investment.


    *note* affiliate links are included in this post.

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