The hardest part for me having a baby just before COVID-19 hit was missing out on the visitors, and the visitors missing out on those sleepy newborn cuddles. My Florence was already three months old when she had her first cuddle with her Aunt. I worried about what that meant, if it was having some deep impact on her, or in fact, if it was making our bond stronger as she slept in my arms only. I guess we will never know. What I do know is documenting images of her to share with the family during this time was the key to us all feeling connected.
As restrictions ease, photographers will be allowed back into homes to document your little bundles of joy. But if you are not quite ready to open your doors yet, or just want to know the best way to get more from your iPhone photographing your newborn, here are a few little tips to help you improve:
- Style your images with textures - lay out blankets for your baby to lie on and to use as wraps around your baby. Keep them simple, avoid repeat patterns so they don’t distract from your beautiful baby.
- Lighting is everything. Think about the direction of the light and where it is falling.
- Try using a window as back light and get some beautiful silhouetted little feet kicking up in the air. Take photographs from above, and then experiment with different angles.
- Instead of using the shutter (that big round button that takes the photo), did you know you can use the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone to take the picture? This can really help with holding your phone steady. Also try tapping the screen in the area where you want the focus and exposure to be the priority. Ever noticed that little brightness slider when you tap the screen? Have a play moving this up and down to adjust the light.
- Adding a sibling to the mix? Lie them down beside your baby. When they are lying down together you can get them to look at each other and this connection is beautiful to photograph. Ask your older child to smell the baby, this gets them nice and close and keep shooting through this movement. Start giving silly answers to what your baby smells like. This can create giggles in your older child and natural movement which looks really lovely.
- Use burst mode: awake newborns and toddlers move around a lot! So if you feel like the scene isn't coming together, then keep your finger pressed down on the shutter (which ever shutter you use) for as long as you like. It is easy then to scroll through your gallery and find the one image where it all came together and delete the rest.
- A great app to use is the Camera+ Legacy. For a small cost, this app gives you the ability to take macro images (super close up details). Once you have the app open, have a little play with the slider on the camera preview screen. Welcome to the world of macro! Brilliant for newborn photography and capturing all those scrumptious details: furry shoulders, luscious lashes, pursed lips. The focal range is small so it would be best to play around with this one when your baby is sleeping (and still). Make sure you hold the iPhone with two hands to keep it steady. Note – do not use this app for editing, it is not kind to images! Try something like VSCO for your editing.
Most importantly, take your time, explore and have fun!
If you are Melbourne based and would like professional imagery of these precious memories here is a link to Sarah's portfolio. She is now back from maternity leave and out photographing families again.