For many parents, 2020 is presenting many unusual situations to have a baby.
- You managed a pregnancy during the pandemic.
- Your hospital may be constantly changing policies of who can be in the labor and delivery room with you and if visitors are allowed
- You’re getting lots of conflicting information on how to keep yourself and your baby safe from the unknowns of COVID.
However, you still want awesome photos of your newborn at the hospital, right?
I wrote this guide for:
- Parents who are unsure if they can hire a photographer to come into the hospital for a “Fresh 48” session
- Parents who read my guide about why they shouldn’t opt for the hospital photographers
- Parents who simply want to take better photos of the newest member of their family without the need to purchase fancy camera equipment
Here are 13 tips to take photographs of your newborn at the hospital!
Turn off all lights
Lights all have different colors to them – tungsten, fluorescent, etc. Turn them all off. Yes, it’ll be a little dark. Don’t worry about that, yet, because we’re going to use the biggest and best source of light possible.. The sun through a window.
Let the natural light in!
Open up those shades. Let the light in, and only use this light to photograph your little one.
Depending on what cardinal direction the window faces, the light will come in stronger and at different color temperatures at different points of the day. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Please definitely don’t ask for a specific hospital room because it faces a certain direction!
If you’re curious though, north-facing windows usually get very even light, and not much direct sunlight. East and West facing windows tend to be brightest in the morning in the morning and evenings. South-facing windows will have the most direct sunlight and be bright during the day.
All windows are good at some point of the day.
Clean your phone camera lens
Most phone camera lenses are filthy. They are in purses, pockets, and are touched for dozens of times a day. Take a clean piece of clothing – anything really, and gently wipe. If you want to get fancy, you can buy these camera lens wipes.
Dress your newborn in a cute outfit
Some parents have outfits custom embroidered, or prefer a cute hat with a matching swaddle. Whatever you prefer, bring the outfit to the hospital with you. Perhaps bring two outfits, because you never know if you’ll have a little nugget or a big whopper of a baby!
Have a nurse swaddle your little one
Some new parents are nervous to swaddle, while others are pros. If you’re in the former, then feel free to ask a nurse to help swaddle your baby for the photos. They’re great at tucking them in nice and tightly so that they’re comfy and adorable.
Do not block your own light
As you start photographing, it’s important for you to not block the entire window with your body. This defeats the purpose of using the window light! I’m sure you all know this already, but I know that sleep-deprived parents can forget the silliest of things.
Start with the overhead photo of your newborn
Hold onto that phone tightly, because you definitely don’t want to drop it as you take photos of your newborn at the hospital. Position the camera directly overhead the newborn so that you can capture their entire body, from head to toe.
Position the bassinet close to the window so that you can use the natural light to light up the baby.
Photograph the itty bitty details
Photograph little fingers, toes, noses, lips, hair, eyelashes, skin to skin, and everything else that may be important to you! If you’re lucky enough to have a phone that has a macro setting, use this. If you don’t, then just get your phone super close, zoom if you can.
Stand back. Go wide. Photograph the environment
Stand back, extremely far back, and photograph the scene around you. These days will go by in an instant, and in fifty years, it’ll be amazing to remember the room where you spent the first couple days with your newborn.
Yes, it’s important to have photos of your newborn at the hospital, but also equally important to show the space, environment, and the ambiance of it all!
Have your partner take photos of you, and vice versa
Take solo photos of you with your newborn, and then switch off so that your partner can also have some photos with the newborn.
Photograph closeups, looking at the camera, not looking at the camera, during skin-to-skin time, while the baby cries, everything! As I will mention below, take LOTS of photos.
Use portrait mode to get a nice blurry background and if you have the capability to stand a little further away. Then, switch over to regular mode so that you can capture the environment and the scene. Both are important!
Take lots of photos! You can sift and sort through them later
Better to have too many than too few photos of your newborn at the hospital! Take a ton. Some might get blurry. Some might have better light than others. Just keep clicking away!
Pose yourselves in a variety of different ways.
It’s hard to self-direct and self-pose, but try your best! Cuddle close. Look at each other. Look at your baby. Look at the camera. Rinse and repeat!
With these twelve tips, I hope that you’ll be able to use your phone to capture some incredible moments of the first couple days with your newborn.
Purchase a tripod and set your phone on a timer so that you have photos of the whole family
Below are my recommendations for lightweight tripods that you can bring to the hospital with you. Get to know your phone before you’re at the hospital so that you know how to set it on a timer. Some phones allow you to take multiple photos (ie: 5 photos in 5 seconds). I love this feature. Use it!
Here are my smartphone tripod recommendations:
- Selfie Stick & Tripod Fugetek – Integrated, Portable All-In-One Professional, Heavy Duty Aluminum, Lightweight, Bluetooth Remote For Apple & Android Devices, Non Skid Tripod Feet, Extends To 51″, Black $24.99
- Selfie Stick Tripod – UBeesize 51″ Extendable Tripod Stand with Bluetooth Remote for iPhone & Android Phone, Heavy Duty Aluminum, Lightweight $24.99
- AmazonBasics 50″ – Aluminum Universal Smartphone Tripod $13.50
Let’s talk. I’d love to capture beautiful portraits of you and your newborn baby!
The ideal time to schedule your in-home newborn session is 5-14 days after birth! Here’s
I’d love to speak with you about an in-home photography session with your newborn during the first two weeks (or during the first three months). We’ve always been extremely cautious of sanitation around babies, but even more so now given all that 2020 has thrown at us.