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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Newborn photos (first photos)
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07/25/2006 01:31:27 PM · #1

Once again I am calling on Dp to help me solve a "crisis" <---ok maybe not a "crisis", but a problem nonetheless.

I have been asked to engage in taking new born photos (at the hospital). All is well, I love babies, but what about lighting, and a decent backdrop. Any ideas? Has to be portable, remember I am taking it into a hospital.

And why not post some newborn photos, everybody loves babies?

07/25/2006 01:40:02 PM · #2
If they want pictures taken in the hospital instead of waiting until s/he gets home then they may want the whole hospital experience, ie, have the hospital room, crib or incubator in the shots. Maybe you should ask them if they want portraits or candid photojournalistic shots.

If they want 'formal' portraits then a black (or white) sheet, blanket or felt sheet is easy to carry around and can be thrown over the hospital bed as a background. You could use a flash and bounce it off the ceiling or hope that they have large windows for natural light or else hope for good hospital room lighting.
07/25/2006 01:47:54 PM · #3
I can't tell you what TO do, but I can show you what I received when each of my boys were born...these were at two different hospitals (the last two at the same hospital, 13 months apart) but the background in all three was a piece of tissue paper that the photographer put down in a special bassinette, then positioned the baby on it and had a camera with a flash all mounted to the top of the strange contraption and took the picture. Not exactly scientific, and not exactly stellar photography, but they are all still cute. ;)

André's newborn picture

J.P.'s newborn picture

Clay's newborn picture

07/25/2006 01:55:47 PM · #4
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this is one of the best newborn shots i have ever seen. it's by kaizer.

try to keep it as simple as possible. backgrounds can be darkened in processing, and keep it up close anyway. better without flashes - it can be quite hard on a baby's eyes - they're hving a bad enough day as it is! shoot in raw, which is a bit mopre forgiving, allowing more flexibility with your lighting.

have fun, and good luck!
07/25/2006 02:08:46 PM · #5
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Here are two of mine. I'm kind of proud of the first one. Though I wish the pink thing had been straightened out first.
07/25/2006 02:23:56 PM · #6
Here's one I did last fall

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Here are a few more. I obviously didn't have a background, and I tried to use minimal flash because it was still in the hospital room and they had the lights down pretty low to give the mom some rest.

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Message edited by author 2006-07-25 14:31:49.
07/25/2006 02:32:04 PM · #7
Soft lighting is probably the most important as others have mentioned, so that it doesn't bother the baby's eyes such that they shut them. I've only shot our own babies pictures at the newborn stage. I'm including a link to some from my youngest child's birth day. The ones right out of the mom, are not too hard to take because the spotlight the doctor uses makes a nice light.

The other pictures I took were either with the aperture wide open and ISO raised, or using a bounce flash off the ceiling or walls to make the light source large and diffused. This was just a Canon Speedlite 550EX on the camera shoe. I got a lot of use of my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and my Canon 50mm f/1.8 in the hospital.

The traditional in-hospital pictures aren't hard to beat. Using a standard flash, a folding reflector or two with stands to hold them I would think enough to take those "standard" shots. With the reflectors, you might even be able to better direct natural light into the room (not shining directly on the baby of course) which always seems to be better for portrait lighting.

//www.flickr.com/photos/abphotos/sets/912505/
07/25/2006 02:37:02 PM · #8
One thing that might work well is to focus on hands, legs and other specific body parts of the newborn, in addition to the more "environmental" type of shots. Good luck.
If baby is awake, fast-ish shutter speed might be useful.
07/25/2006 03:10:27 PM · #9
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My 2nd Grandson Declan, taken about 15 mins after he was born.
Lighting obviously differs a lot and in the delivery room it was pretty dark, plenty of light when he was lying in the crib and also when they dressed and weighed him . I had to use iso 800 for these shots, they are a bit on the grainey side but not to bad.

Message edited by author 2006-07-25 15:11:28.
07/25/2006 03:18:54 PM · #10
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Wasn't from the hospital, but he was born 6 wks early (2 wks old here)...
07/25/2006 03:35:50 PM · #11
I've been a doula and shooting births for about ten years or so. I was even called in specifically to take shots and double with another doula a few times. I'll share a little of what I have picked up.

Shoot RAW, no matter what. Your going to need that flexibility later.

Dont use flash with a newborn, they just came from 9 months of dark to the bright - that has to be bad enough. LOL

If your shooting the birth itself, STAY OUT OF THE WAY. Its better to have some semi obstructed shots, than to be thrown out by the nurses. If they have a doula, talk to her right away! Shes going to be your best bet for getting the shots your hoping for and will work with the parents to get the shots that they are hoping for too. If you happen to leave the room at any point, look for the "pacers" in the hallway and in the waiting rooms - gramma, grandpa, aunts ect and photograph them waiting. Dont forget the L&D nurse and the delivering OB! :)

If its just the afterwards - Use what you have available for lighting and bring a monopod to give you some extra stability. Tripods will only be in the way. Window light is best if its daylight - most recovery rooms have nursing chairs with desk lamps if its not. There is usually more light in the room that you would think since the staff would need light to see if there were in emergency, you just have to look for it. As for moments to capture look for the firsts. Mom kissing knitty capped head, Dad counting toes, siblings reactions. Most of all - don't interfere, but if they call you over and say "capture this" then be all over it. I skip the "background" completely and if they want a "traditional" type shot with baby flat on thier backs and taken from above, just use the bed with sheets scrunched up around the baby, or the basinet itself. Dont forget a shot of the basinet showing the name and info of the baby on it (as clear as you can get the info). I have made that shot into an "announcement" photo card many many times. :)

I have lots of examples, just have to dig out the archives and see who has given me permission to share and not. :) I'll try to get back tonight with some available light photos.
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