You just had a baby, and whether you are inspired to pick-up that fancy camera for the first time or you are a seasoned pro, chances are you want to take a gazillion pictures of this new little soul who has just entered your world. Baby Bieser number four arrived this year and I know exactly how you feel. I also know that you are tired, overwhelmed, hormonal, and scatterbrained (at least I hope I am not the only one!).
I am here to help you out! Here is a list of 11 shots to get during baby’s first month of life. Check these off your list and you will be off to a great start documenting your new arrival.
1. Fresh out of the box
It is amazing how quickly baby changes in those first few hours. Put someone on camera duty to capture your sweet little one as soon as he/she enters the world. Whether you hire a birth photographer (something I chose to do this time around and highly recommend), pass your DSLR to Dad, or hand your iPhone to the labor and delivery nurse, delegate this job to someone you can trust and have them take LOTS of shots of that fresh, scrunchy little face.
2. With Daddy
Every father is different, but I think that for the most part the idea of a baby is just an idea until he gets to hold him/her in his arms. And then? Well, then it is just mushy wonderful magic. Seeing a grown man fall in love with a teeny tiny infant is enough to make my heart melt every.single.time.
3. With siblings
There is nothing quite as amazing as seeing your first baby meet your second (or third or fourth…) baby. The wonder as they finally get to see this little person who has been occupying your belly for forty weeks is just the sweetest. Of course, sometimes it isn’t all roses and there might be a little jealousy or hesitation. Go ahead and shoot that, too! You want to document this baby’s life in an authentic way and the kids will look back one day and laugh at their not-so-smooth start.
4. With Mama
You didn’t think I was going to let you get away with not being in the picture, did you?! Believe me, I get it…we aren’t quite feeling our most beautiful right after giving birth (though we should if you ask me!), but I promise that you won’t regret being in the picture with your baby. Hand over that camera again or set-up the tripod or just use your phone. Do whatever it takes to have a picture of you with your sweet baby. They will be your (and your child’s!) most prized possessions someday.
Newborn photography is truly an art form and to get those beautiful final images takes a lot of time, patience, and practice. You can always hire someone to take these or you can give it a go yourself. CPS has a few really wonderful breakout sessions that can help guide you. Whether you go all out and get a beanbag or try something a little more lifestyle and relaxed, there is nothing more peacefully beautiful than a sleeping baby.
6. Funny faces
I love the funny little faces newborns give…the crossed eyes, the big open-mouth yawns, the squinty stares. Sure, they aren’t always the most flattering looks, but they are such a part of this fleeting time in baby’s life and are worth capturing with the same care as those pretty sleeping shots.
7. Emphasize the smallness
Baby Bieser has doubled in size in less than three months. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have gotten photographs to document just how tiny he was at the start. Whether you use an item for comparison (such as a stuffed animal) or utilize negative space, underscoring the size of your new addition is a must in these first few weeks.
8. Little details
Teeny feet, little hands, sweet lips, wispy eyelashes…these are the details that define a new baby. Get creative in capturing these tiny features that make your baby so special, whether it be a new perspective or utilizing a macro lens. You will want these images to help you remember the little things when they disappear.
9. With special items
I knit a blanket for Baby Bieser while I was expecting him and so far he really loves it. It is his playtime mat and his favorite snuggling blankie. I hope that as he grows he continues to love it, but that also means it will most likely become tattered and stained and worn. This is a good thing! For now, I am intentional about photographing it as it is so that one day we can look back and see how it used to look. Capture your baby now with the items special to you during this time in his/her life.
10. Phone shots
Not every photograph during this first month needs to be with your fancy camera. Embrace the accessibility and simplicity of your phone camera during this time. We are sleep-deprived and nursing and haven’t had a chance to change out of our yoga pants for three days (again, please tell me that I am not alone here!) and the best camera is truly the one you have with you.
11. Last month belly
Some women feel like glorious maternity goddesses throughout their pregnancies. Others, like myself, feel more like beached whales. Pregnancy isn’t always comfortable and we don’t always feel our most attractive when expecting, but I urge you…I COMMAND YOU…to get a shot of your belly before that baby arrives. It need not be fancy, but that belly is gone so quickly and you will want to remember it when that baby is in your arms.
Of course, these are not the only shots you can take in that first month. In fact, I hope this list is just a start for you to be inspired to capture your little one in fresh new ways. Most of all, congratulations on your sweet arrival and enjoy every moment, documented and undocumented, with your precious little one.