Of course, you’re taking tons of photos of your newborn baby. It doesn’t matter whether your snapshots are blurry, overexposed or grainy to you because each picture captures a moment in your precious little one’s life. But whether you’re choosing to send photo birth announcements, present the grandparents with a framed portrait, or give someone a personalized gift containing the image of your little angel, there comes a time when you want your photographs to be great.
What stands in your way of taking wonderful photos of your newborn baby? Here are the top eight mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake 1 – Using flash. Not only can a bright flash hurt your newborn’s delicate eyes, it can also startle your angel and make him cranky.
Instead – turn the flash off. Find a room where there is lots of natural light. But don’t pose the baby directly in front of a window, because the background will be very bright, but his face will be dark. Check to make sure that his face is not covered with shadows. He should seem bathed in soft light.
Mistake 2 – Choosing the wrong background. Grandma’s bright patchwork quilt may be a family heirloom, but it’s too busy for a newborn portrait.
Instead – Think soft. A rumpled, pastel solid color blanket is an ideal backdrop on which to place your baby. Position it so that it takes up the entire background in your camera’s viewfinder. As an alternative, you can have someone hold your child upright, with the pastel blanket draped over part of them as a background.
Mistake 3 – Dressing your newborn in a distracting outfit. Bright patterns, stripes, checks, plaid, and dark colors can overwhelm the photo and take the attention off your baby.
Instead – Choose comfortable clothes with plain, simple, soft colors. This way, your little angel will be the focus of the photo, and not what he’s wearing.
Mistake 4 – Picking the wrong time to take photographs. If you’re baby is fussy, cranky, tired or hungry, you will not get a good picture, no matter how hard you try.
Instead – Wait until after he has napped and been fed. A rested, happy infant is much more cooperative. As an alternative, try taking photos when your baby is sleeping. There is nothing more peaceful or adorable than a newborn who is sound asleep. A sleeping child makes a very cute picture and he’s very easy to photograph.
Mistake 5 – Not doing a last minute model check. Stray bits of food (and worse) can easily end up on your baby’s face, spoiling the perfect picture.
Instead – Carefully look over your little one right before you start clicking away, armed with a baby wipe, to make sure he’s camera ready.
Mistake 6 – Taking a photo with big brother or sister holding the baby in his or her arms. An older, larger child can overpower a tiny infant in the picture, making your little one practically disappear.
Instead – Try taking pictures with the older sibling’s face close to the baby’s face. The older child could rest next to your newborn, both propped up by pillows. Or he could turn away from the camera to look at the little one or place a kiss on his cheek. This makes for a more balanced photo.
Mistake 7 – Rushing to get the perfect photo during the first few days after your baby is born. If you have decided to send photo birth announcements, for example, you may feel pressured to get them out right away. But even the most beautiful babies have temporary imperfections right after birth.
Instead – Wait for a week or two. Your child’s appearance will improve dramatically, and his personality will start to show through his face.
Mistake 8 – Assuming you just captured the perfect shot, because it looked so good on the LCD screen in playback mode on your digital camera. It’s hard to adequately determine clarity and brightness of your photo while it is still in your camera, even if you zoom in to see the details.
Instead – Upload your memory card to the computer and examine the pictures on your monitor. Or have them printed as 4×6 snapshots. Before you order a poster sized prints, check them for sharpness and exposure. Make sure you take lots of snapshots, so if this particular one doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’ll have other options.
Taking great baby photos, suitable for more than framing, is within everyone’s grasp. You don’t have to take your newborn to a professional studio to get outstanding results. Just avoid these common mistakes, use a steady hand, and take plenty of pictures. And soon you’ll be hearing those oohs and ahhs over the wonderful photographs you’ve taken of your beautiful new child.