Having a baby in this unprecedented time, while beautiful and joyous, can also feel filled with tough situations and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant so many tough losses for mamas-to-be, from baby showers to in-person support throughout their pregnancy and birth, but beautiful Fresh 48 photos doesn’t have to be one of them. Here, I’m going to share my top tips and tricks to getting professional-looking Fresh 48 photos of your newborn during your hospital stay.
This is – by far – one of the most important make-or-break factors to great photography. Understanding your camera is much of the battle, but if you don’t understand how to properly use light, the outcome will be less than ideal. Now this might surprise you, but make sure you turn off ALL of the lights. Every. Single. One. Room lighting casts unflattering shadows and a yellow tint on your photos that is difficult to correct. Move baby’s cot so that it is right by the window and make sure there are no harsh shadows or “hot spots” of bright light. You can also move the hospital chair in front of the window as well – it is the perfect spot to take photos of mom and baby or dad and baby!
Well, not you, mama! You should be taking it easy! But seriously, its ok to move couches and clutter out of the way to get the perfect shot. I have been known to move whole couches out of the way to make for the perfect shot! Hospital rooms are limiting in terms of spots that will work for photos, so where there is a good spot, make it perfect. Make sure there is as little as possible in the shot – move suitcases and duffle bags, make sure water bottles and food trays aren’t visible, smooth out blankets, etc. I have worked in the most cluttered hospital rooms (mine were too when I gave birth!) and you would never know from the photos!
I totally get it. You are exhausted and your body is sore. But taking 10-20 minutes to feel more like yourself can be a game changer, whether that means showering, putting on a full face of makeup or just a touch of touch of color, or doing your hair, feeling like yourself will translate in photos. And remember, you aren’t in the hospital long, so these are very special shots that can’t really be re-done! Packing a mirror that can stand up on it’s own, your makeup bag, and hair gear is never a bad idea! I also recommend that my clients consider buying a beautiful solid colored or floral robe set, which is not only perfect for Fresh 48 photos but is also comfortable and practical (robes are also perfect if you are breastfeeding!). I LOVE robes from Pinkblush and they are pretty affordable and often have awesome sales. In general, wearing light, neutral colors makes for timeless newborn photographs – and same goes for dad! A white button-down, light colored henley, or light, solid colored sweater is perfect for dad.
Nurses are incredible, and one thing that they are AMAZING at is swaddling newborn babies! As a newborn photographer and mama of two, you would think that I would be amazing at swaddling by now, but I can’t compete with the expert level swaddling of labor and delivery nurses! Also, I love photographing babies in hospital blankets! With that said, bringing your own swaddle can give a more unique look to your baby’s photos. I absolutely love swaddles from Lou Lou & Company, Aden and Anais, and Spearmint Love. Consider also bringing a plain white swaddle to put under the baby in the bassinet to act as a sheet since there are usually hospital blankets under baby. Trust me, it makes a huge difference and I do it for every Fresh 48! TIP: Stretchy jersey swaddles are better than muslin swaddles! They give a tighter, cleaner wrap that is comfy for baby and harder to escape.
For every pose or location, try taking photos from a variety of angles to give you lots of options. For the photos where baby is in the bassinet, aim to get photos from the side (facing the window), from directly above the baby, from the feet, from the top of the head down, etc. Don’t be afraid to move the bassinet as you move around to capture these shots, aiming to have the part that you are photographing facing the window for most shots. For example, if baby’s head is turned to the side, move the bassinet so that his or her face is facing the window and take your shot from above. Same goes for photos with mom and dad – take photos from in front, above, and from the side! Another pro tip – Pinterest is your best friend. Search fresh 48 sessions for inspiration on poses and save photos to reference and recreate on the day of. And don’t forget to get photos where you are looking at the camera as well as some where you are candid and lovingly gazing at or cuddling your bundle of joy!
Babies change SO fast. I think it is so important to get some close up detail shots of all of their little features – fingers and toes, lips, eyelashes, hair… I could go on! This is another place where you can work your angles to add variety. Just be cautious of shooting up baby’s nose!
Meaningful props or items that can help announce your baby’s arrival are so adorable! Anything from a letter board to a wooden name plate are a super cute added touch!
Ok, so this one might be a bit obvious. If you are working with a DSLR camera, don’t turn it on for the first time the day your baby is born. Take some time to get acquainted with the settings and consider reading a bit about the exposure triangle if you want to brave shooting in manual mode (aperture priority is a good alternative for beginners). I offer short tutorial sessions geared towards mamas, but there are also a ton of online resources! Number one tip here is to practice getting photos that are in focus (i.e., sharp where you want them to be sharp!). Make sure your partner also knows what they are doing so that the photos of you and baby meet your expectations too!
Finally, I wanted to share a quick checklist of must-have shots to ensure you get all of the most important shots during your DIY Fresh 48 session:
Do you feel like you have questions or need additional guidance? Does a virtual Fresh 48 session might be right for you? Do you just want your own photos professionally edited? I am happy to help! Seriously, just reach out 🙂