Tip #2: The Sleep Newborn

One of my favorite shoots is a newborn shoot.

A wedding is full, lively, exciting, stressful, surprising, uplifting, romantic and so much more.

A newborn shoot is quiet. The kind of quiet that has me stand in awe of the miracle of life.

I especially love it when we can schedule the shoot for somewhere in the first 10 days of life. I have found that by day 10 the baby already has some head control. So if I want to capture those shots, like Anne Geddes, where I bend them in half and twist them in their sleep it’s got to happen in the first 10 days. 🙂

So if you are an expecting mom or an aspiring photographer who has a friend that is expecting, try to get in there and shoot the baby in those first ten days. They’re so sleepy that if you can keep them warm (I always bring a space heater), they won’t ever wake while you shoot away.

When I do these types of shoots, their are always a handful of images I want to capture.

#1 The “Sleeping with Mom” shot. I don’t usually want mom’s eyes in this shot because I want all the attention to be on the sleeping baby. But I like to clip in just enough of mom so we know who is cradling the baby. This little clip of mom’s lips adds such a quietness to the whole shot.

#2 The “Big Yawn” shot. How can we not get this one. A baby’s yawn is like nothing else.

(Little side note if that’s okay. 🙂 You’ll notice that both these moms have bare shoulders. When you have your friend or husband take your picture with your newborn, try to have a spaghetti strap tank top on or a terry cloth towel. And of course, have the baby naked or in just a diaper. The more skin you can show with newborns, the more timeless it feels. )

#3 The “Baby Hair-Swirl” shot. If dad is available for the shoot, I love to have him hold the baby in front of him, so I can get a shot of his big hands and the baby’s small head with that sweet hair swirl. Do you know what I mean by a newborn hair swirl? They’re the cutest thing!

As I’m doing this I realize there are more than just a few shots I like to get of newborns. 🙂 So I’ll stop here for today, but check back this week for the rest of the newborn shots I like to capture. Now for the fun part!!…


Exercise for “The Sleepy Newborn”

1. Plan a time that is early in the day and right after one of your morning feedings. We want babies tummy to be full for this b/c a clicking camera exhausts them.

2. Turn the heat up in the house, or use a space heater so baby stays warm. If baby is warm, they shouldn’t wake up for the shoot. Expect to sweat like crazy. I always wear a tank top to a newborn shoot b/c the amount of heat baby needs to stay warm with no clothes on tortures us. But it’s so worth it!

3. Wrap yourself in a terry cloth towel, or have a white spaghetti strap tank top on. Wear black pants so they don’t detract from the image if they are seen.

4. Have your sleepy little one just rest his head on your chest, look down at the floor and let your photographer shoot away. (The reason I say look down at the floor is because it’s almost impossible to look down at their head and not have this horrible double chin thing happen. But if you’re looking in a downward motion, you can capture the same feeling.)

5. Trade places with dad. Have him hold the baby out in front of him, so baby is facing him. Try and center dad’s hands and baby’s head to shoot the swirly hairline.

6. And if baby starts to cry, don’t stop shooting. Some of my favorite photos is when our little ones would cry out. Take the crying shots and then feed baby. I’m always amazed at what an appetite they work up from a photoshoot, even though they slept through the whole thing! 🙂

7. Let me know how it goes! ____________________________________________________________________________________

Later this week, I’ll be sure to post the second half to this blog.

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