If you are looking for a newborn photo, all snuggled and cozy, try to get it taken when your baby is less than two weeks old. After this time, they will lose the ability to snuggle into that loose-limbed, sleepy phase. Dress baby in the clothes you want them in, or snuggle them into a blanket, and take lots of pics while they are drunk on milk.
If you want a photo with your sleeping baby snuggled on your chest, consider getting a tripod and a remote so you can settle baby and click away.
Wear something simple and solid. Keep your hair simple and out of the way if long. You will want to be sure to smooth your hair if at all possible, especially if you are using filtered light.
To get filtered light for your photos, hang a simple sheer or a length of linen across the window. Turn three quarters to the light to get the light to glow across your face from a soft angle, instead of full or half. Experiment with different angles to get the full glow of filtered light across both you and baby. Lace can work, but it will cast shadows. The shadows that look interesting on an adult-sized face may not look right on a baby-sized face.
Another option is to feature your sleeping baby on a flat black cloth, such as fleece, which will not reflect light. While this can be a little stark in the setup, the photos will appear as though the baby is the light source. You can also snuggle your little one in a Posh Peanut warm and cuddly blanket or colorful outfits with prints that will pop under the lighting of your photoshoot.
Capturing that Morning Smile
If your baby wakes up cheery as they get older, that first smile of the morning can be a real treat. Depending on the light in their sleeping space, you may want to have one parent waiting in the hall while another parent opens the blinds to get light into your shoot space. Then you can direct the baby’s gaze to the door where another adult has a camera ready.
Another fun option for capturing baby smiles is the angled smile. For this to have the best effect, try to place the baby in a space with little color and distraction, then have one sibling or adult that baby reacts to well stand beside them. This may take some work if you try to do it once the baby is crawling, as they may not want to sit still, turn their faces up and to the side, and smile. Be patient.
Try Different Angles
It is very tempting to place your baby in the middle and create an image that is quite square. However, if you can angle things, especially if your baby is lying down, the images can be quite charming. A cute set of pajamas or a snuggly blanket is critical for this.
Another option is the offset image. In an offset image, the baby is not in the center of the photo. With an offset image, make sure you have something fairly monochromatic beside them in your photo composition. Light sparkling on water is nice, but a collection of toys can just look jumbled. If at all possible, try to use a color that will highlight eye color, or go with black and white.
While you have the filtered light set up and the camera remote working, bring in other siblings. Whenever possible, try to get images of your children engaging with each other, rather than just posed and looking up at the photographer. For that to work most effectively, you will need to get on the floor with them, or settle them on the bed and kneel beside them.
Another option is simply to set up the phone on the tripod before you bring the children into the space and ignore it. Get on the floor and play with them. Keep the remote in your hand and snuggle them close. Keep clicking until you have built up a great stock of photos so you can pick out the gems.
A baby photoshoot does not have to be terribly expensive. Getting lots of images is the best way to make sure you will get a couple of gems. Work on different angles and consider offsetting the image structure for more interest.