Tips & Guidelines for at-home shooting

Step one:

Find a space to shoot baby.  This can be done by putting a blanket over a chair, sofa, or clipping it onto the crib railing. (If I was coming to you via my mobile newborn service, I'd be bringing a backdrop stand and professional newborn posing pillows, but I'm trying to think "outside the box" so that you can work with things you already have at home).


A spot with natural indirect light is best! Bonus points if you can turn baby a little so that they are 45ish degrees to the light.  (I can correct any additional shadowing in the compositing process) Make sure that baby is never left unattended in this space - babies under 2 weeks old CAN roll and wriggle -safety first!   

(Here are a few images to show what I mean. I am also practicing social distancing, so unfortunately I cannot show an example with a real baby.  Meet molly, my posing dolly. :)


Step two:

Prepare for the poo-nami. (Get it? Tsunami.. poonami).   This is not an "if", this is a WHEN.  If we are taking off your baby's diaper, they WILL pee or poop on you. (or the blanket, or the sofa...)  I would suggest a layer or two underneath your blanket layer to absorb any accidents (a puppy pee pad or something absorbent would work).  

Step three:

Try to wear a neutral colour while shooting.  Believe it or not, the colours you wear will bounce light back on your baby.  If you're wearing something bright, this can cause a colour cast onto baby's skin.


Here is a photo of my son wearing a neon shirt - see how much the colour bounces off of him? (My walls are painted beige, but the colour cast makes them look neon!)


Step four:

Turn off your flash.  (please! :) )

Step five:

Warm up the room.  If you want your baby to be happy about being naked, they need to be warm. Safety first - never point a space heater directly at baby, and please do not put heating pads under them, these can burn baby.  An indirect source of heat is best.

Step six:

Have a look at the shot you're going to have me composite together for you.  The two most important things to match are 1) angle, and 2) base colour.    If, for example, we are compositing baby onto a swing with a white/offwhite fuzzy layer touching baby, then it would be ideal to photograph baby on a white blanket in your home.  It will match better, and also reflect light more realistically onto babys face. Similarly, if the digital backdrop chosen is black, or dark (for example, the elephant digital backdrop), then you will want to photograph baby on a dark backdrop, so that it looks consistent and more realistic when photoshopped together.



Here are some shots showing the angles that will (and won't work) for various composites, and little things to look out for:  

how to bucket.jpg
to watch for.jpg

Need more tips?  I have just launched a youtube channel with tips and tricks for photographing your newborn at home. Please feel free to have a look, and follow!