It's been awhile since my last post... After a brief sabbatical to welcome my baby boy, Mason, I am finally getting back to blogging and projects! And since I am loving being a new mom I thought my first blog post back should be about my little bundle of joy.
When I was pregnant I started noticing the cutest newborn pictures on Pinterest and Facebook so I checked out local photographers. Holy Moly! They charge a lot... Maybe I'm just cheap (well that's definitely true) but I couldn't believe how much this cost. Most photographers charged $150-250 for the session and then some had minimum print orders of $300-500 and if you just simply wanted the CD of prints then bet on around $600. Yikes! For pictures that my son will likely not care about, ever... I figured that was pretty steep. The pictures are mostly just for me, to share his cuteness with family and friends. So I decided to DIY it and from one amateur to another here are some tips that helped or could have helped me make my newborn pictures successful!
Tip #1: Patience
Duh, right? haha.... I'm sure any parent will say that patience is needed in dealing with any child but it's definitely important for taking newborn pictures. I set aside a whole day for these pictures and I'm glad I did because it took nearly the whole day! After preparing Mason (nursing, changing his diaper, rocking him to sleep) as soon as we started setting him up (removing his onesie and diaper) he peed on my sister (Tip #2) and then again when we set him in his crib to clean up the first pee mess. :) We didn't wait long enough to let him fall into a deeper sleep and that's where a lot of patience comes in. We were too excited to start snapping!
Tip #2: Recruit a Side Kick
My sister was going to be in town the weekend after Mason's birth so I figured she would be a good person to help with the pictures. For ease you should try to shoot the baby within the first 10 days. Babies are calmer, sleep more, and they curl up during that time which makes it easier to "mold" them for the pictures. I could have recruited Seth to be my side kick but he lacked patience which, from tip #1, we know is necessary. After the first pee episode Seth suggested we just call it a day... hadn't even snapped a single shot yet. Good thing I'm stubborn! :)
So why is a side kick important? Well, while you are snapping pictures someone has to spot the baby! They are fragile and at any moment they can move so you want to be sure they are safe. Plus my sister was able to move and change sets/props while I settled him down and kept him calm.
Tip #3: Warmth
Babies like the warmth. It's soothing and comfortable. If you want to get those cute bare bum pictures then you need the room to be warm. I used a small space heater and set the temp at 77 degrees. This was really warm for my sister and I who were in tanks and shorts but great for Mason when he was baring it all for the pictures. Also, you might consider wrapping (Tip #4) your baby in between pictures sets to make sure they don't get chilled. Lastly, have a hair dryer on hand. We used it occasionally when we noticed him moving and stretching a little bit plus it provides some white noise which can be really comforting to newborns (Tip #5).
Tip #4: Start with Swaddling
This tip is not something I did but I wish I had! I thought the bare bum shots were adorable so I jumped right into them. I should have started by swaddling him in some cute fabrics (cheesecloth is pretty cute). This is a good way to ease him into the session. Babies like to be swaddled anyway so he or she will likely appreciate the warmth and comfort and may even give you a smile or too.
Tip #5: Noise
In the first couple of weeks Mason really liked white noise. It was soothing to him so we kept the hair dryer on hand and I downloaded a white noise app on my phone which was really helpful. (It's called Relax and Sleep.. pretty cool because you can choose lots of different sounds. Mason liked the heartbeat and the summer rain combination. :))
Tip #6: Cheap Props
Before Mason was born I searched the internet for props. These are also overpriced! Who pays $10-15 for a knit cap or a blanket which was basically just cut fabric? I ended up finding great deals on eBay. I bought a knit dinosaur cap, angel wings, and an owl cap (which ended up being huge because I guess newborns in China have really large heads). So I spent $20 for all of those items and then I found a children's tie at Goodwill for $2 and some glasses for $1. I also bought a faux rabbit fur at Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon) for $6. In total I spent less than $30 for all the props and didn't have any other expenses because I had everything else (blankets, fabric, books, baskets, our wedding rings, etc). There are a ton of cute props out there or things you can use at home like your favorite pearl necklace for a baby girl. :)
I hope all of these tips help and get you the best newborn pictures! Let me know if you test it out and how it works.... or if you have any tips of your own.
<- Kassy ->