How to Take Your own Newborn Photos Like a Pro, Tips From a Newborn Photographer

How to Take Newborn Photos like a Pro

By Christy Whitehead, www.JaxPhotographer.com

The first year of your baby’s life they change so much from day to day. While I highly recommend professional portraits, here’s some tips for capturing a few moments on your own as well.

Newborn photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. Specializing in custom sets like this Toy Story set.

Let’s talk Lighting

Lighting is your friend, but not all lighting is created equal. Have you ever noticed how sometimes photos have a yellowish tint? Yeah, you can thank those indoor lights. So let’s look for some window/natural light.

Position your baby so that their head is closest to the window, and their little booty is parallel to the window (if you want mainly face photo) or farthest away from the window (if you want full body).

In studio, I use a big light that acts very similar to a window light and position it just to my right, and maybe slightly to my back.

Keep in mind, shadows are your friend! Without shadows, you’ll have a flat image and you won’t see all those cute little baby rolls.

Angles

Next thing to think about is the angle you take the photo, you don’t want to shoot so that you don’t see up into the baby’s nostrils, as that’s not flattering and creates a “black hole.”

Don’t forget to step back and get full body, as well as get close and get details.

If you’re doing a naked baby shot, you also have to think about all those little bits. You want everything tucked in so you don’t see their genitals. Push comes to shove, a little blanket can help cover things up.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Shoot straight on, stand up higher and get a shot from above, etc. Even going on the shadowed side and shooting back at the baby can create a nice effect.

Positioning

A large bean bag that is a bit stiff is a good place to start with posing your little one.

Some large throw blankets work great over the bean bag to not only help keep your little one warm, but also give you a nice soft backdrop.

Rolled towels are great for putting under the blankets to help prop them up.

Props or No Props?

Some people prefer very simple and clean. Either baby completely naked or with a little outfit on they want something that represents them and their personalities.

I often try to do both. But it’s something you’ll have to think about when you’re thinking about your own photos, what do you like?

Poses

Some different popular poses with your little one.

Families together.

Siblings with the new baby.

Depending on the older child’s age, you might want to position them laying down next to each other, or have the older child sit on the ground with the new baby in his lap. (I would have a spotter though, just in case!)

With each parent, individually.

Naked, skin on skin with dad is fun, especially if he has tattoos. Or if he’s military or has another uniform, that can be a great way to customize it.

Swaddled.

If you’re having a hard time getting your little one settled, a swaddled baby is typically a happy baby!

Baby on tummy.

This gets a nice cute shot of their whole little body laying down in that cute little pose, showing off their toes and fingers.

Hands on arms/elbows, front view.

This is more of a straight shot of your little one, but can include a little bit of their whole body. But the focus is more on the face.

Head in hands.

Get dad to hold the new baby in his hands, it shows how little the baby’s head is at this time in his life, compared to daddy’s hands.

Wedding rings on toes or fingers.

This would be especially sentimental if you plan on gifting your child with those rings one day.

Baby on his back.

This can be a very natural pose for little one and if he has gas, the tummy pose may irritate them, but this pose is usually pretty comfortable.

Buckets and baskets.

Using a bucket or basket is popular with newborn photographers

Props.

Special toys can be a great way to make your session extra special. Oversided teddy? Make it look like your little one is sleeping in it’s lap. Grandma make the little one a special little doll, have her hold it.

Special items, like a wedding dress or veil is another nice idea to incorporate.

Use the crib as part of your session. Pose your little one in there on their belly, face towards you and shoot them through the bars or from above.

Types of Newborn Photography

There are two main different types of newborn photographers, lifestyle and studio/posed.

Lifestyle photographers are photographing things as they happen naturally. So if you like this style, you like the photos of the chaos of everyday situations—the house the way it is, the kids doing what they, want, etc. The only problem with doing this type of session yourself, is lifestyle sessions typically include YOU, the parent.

Studio/posed photography is how I typically shoot. While I shoot families with their little ones, it’s in studio, posed for the best possible results. While the family photos would be exceptionally hard to get on your own, since you need to hold the little one AND take the photo, posing your little one for some photos of only them.

Cameras

Cell phones have come a long way, but even as a professional, I still struggle to get great shots from my cell phone, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone!

I shoot with Canon professional SLR cameras, if you want some info about what I shoot with and what I recommend, check out the For Photographers section on my website for info about education and gear. https://www.jaxphotographer.com/photographers/faq-gear-getting-legal

Safety

Baby rolling, or kicking out. Little ones like to push and kick, always be careful of where they are on a prop, make sure they aren’t too close to an edge or on an unstable prop, like a bucket without help. I have an assistant or parent sit near me, within reach in case they need to grab the little one, as safety is of the utmost importance.

Strap on camera. This may sound crazy, but if you’re photographing above the baby, make sure the strap is on your wrist tight or around your neck. The last thing you would want is to accidentally drop the camera on your little one!

Glass jars, etc. There was a time when people put babies into glass jars with their heads sticking out, etc. This is dangerous. What if the baby kicks out or something happens and the jar falls and cracks? I would only hope that all photos using things like glass jars are being photoshopped and not really done.

Railroad tracks. What most people don’t realize is, shooting on railroad tracks is illegal. Even adults who know what they are doing have been caught by surprise and killed, here in the US, so just avoid the railroad tracks.

Fabric hanging. Sometimes, people request a shot of their little one inside a wrap, lifted off the ground. When we shoot this, we do this on top of a bean bag and there is a spotter right there to help in case the little one were to fall, etc.

Taco Pose.

A lot of people love the shot with the babies legs all the way to the front near the baby’s face. I’m not a huge fan of this shot. Not all babies will do this pose, some just aren’t this limber. Also, if they have gas, tummy issues, or anything else that is bothering them, they may not want to do this pose at all.

Head on hands.

This is a popular request and we do it quite a bit. But what most people don’t realize is, this shot is typically composited. Basically, we set the baby up in the pose, and my assistant holds their hands at the bottom, under the chin, I take a photo, and then she moves her hand to hold the baby’s head and I take another photo. Then I combine these shots in Photoshop, to create what looks like the baby is resting on her hands. Little baby heads are quite heavy and it would not be comfortable for them to rest on their hands, if they can do it at all. So if you’ve tried to do this shot and couldn’t, this is the secret of how I do it!

Help!

Even with all these tips, I don’t know that I could even go over everything I’ve learned over the years on how to create the best newborn portraits while keeping your little one’s safety in mind.

If you’re struggling to take photos of your little baby, or just overwhelmed with the thought of it, give me a call, (904) 891-0359 or shoot me an email Christy@jaxphotographer.com

Christy Whitehead is a pregnancy, newborn and cake smash photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been voted best photographer multiple times and has been featured on Buzzfeed multiple times for her fun and geeky photos.

www.Jaxphotographer.com

www.facebook.com/JaxPhotographer

www.instagram.com/jaxphotographer

Some of our geeky newborn sets!

School is Back in Session: Creative Ways to Photograph the First Day of School

ICongrats parents, you made it! You survived summer break. Here’s some ideas for those back to school portraits.

The first day of school is a milestone for all kids and parents. I always try to catch a photo of my kids on their first day to show how big they were, what they wore, etc. Over the years, it’s fun to look back on those images and to see how much they’ve grown from one year to the next

Below are some really cute ideas that you can use to make your child’s first day of school photos memorable and unique.

  1. Get a shot of the outfit. You’ve spent the time choosing the perfect outfit for this day so why not hang it up somewhere and get a shot of it before they get dressed? Lay the outfit out on your child’s bed and take a shot from above or place it on a cute hanger and hang it against the door. Then, once your little one has it on, let them give you their best model pose with it on!
  2. Use a blackboard. Incorporate a cute blackboard with a frame into the photos. Fill the blackboard with facts such as the date, their age or even what they want to be when they grow up. Easels also work really well for this and will give you more space to be creative.
  3. A drawing. Get your child to draw themselves on their first day of school and include this in your photo. Or have them write their name and incorporate that into the photo to show off how their penmanship has changed as well.
  4. Show their progress. While taking a picture on the first day of school is a must, make a point of taking a photo on the last day of the school year too. It’s always kind of sad to compare the two photos for me. Another sweet idea is to get your kid to pose with their first day of school photo from the previous year to show their progress. Or have them wear the same outfit as the first day of school!

By having fun and making this moment a big deal for your children, you will instill confidence in them and prepare them for the day and year ahead. Good luck parents!

A Birth Class Can Make You or Break You –Newborn Information

A Birth Class Can Make You or Break You

Elizabeth Luke, the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co. has been a trusted provider of personalized care and support for families, in and around Jacksonville for the better part of two-and-a-half decades.

Specializing in childbirth education, postpartum support, in-home infant care, and sleep coaching, she’s bringing information about child birth classes to our blog today!

So you’re having a baby. Congratulations! You may have some ideas of what you want your birth to be like, or maybe you don’t! You and your partner or spouse (if you have one) possibly have some questions and a few concerns surrounding pregnancy, birth, and the critical post-birth time period. Those are all good signs! I am a big believer of hope and faith as well as open-mindedness and mindfulness. I also know a birth class can make you or break you!

A birth class can make you or break you…. what exactly does that mean?

Well, here’s the scoop. Birth is a surprise beginning, the biggest surprise most people will experience in life. Sure, you know you’re having a baby and that is exciting, but not a surprise really in the sense of birthing. Not everyone, but most pregnant people know the sex of their baby before birth, most of the time there’s no surprise there. You plan to have x, y, and z covered. No surprised there! Whew! Thank goodness!

Your doctor is lined up and your baby’s birthday is scheduled! Awesome!

Guess what? Doctors are human and sometimes have emergencies themselves! Shocking, I know! Seriously though, they have things come up, even those in a practice of 1, 2, or 5 or more doctors. Also, babies have absolutely no regard for our calendars and have been known to come early, so that could be a surprise!

You’ve already researched epidurals and other pain relief techniques and you know you’ll be getting that!

Did you know that epidurals aren’t guaranteed to work, or can only work on one side of the body and not the other? Did you know that not everyone is a good candidate for certain medications? Did you know that even the most well thought out, planned, and educated parents experience births they never anticipated would happen? It happens every day and the last thing you want to be is blindsided.

So, what can you do to avoid being blindsided?

Take a childbirth class! Not just any birth class though because remember, a birth class can make you or break you! And what I mean by that is quite simple really. Hospital birth classes have come along way in teaching about the biological process of birth, but they still fall short in teaching you real-life tools and explaining the full range of options available to you. Hospital classes will also teach you hospital policy and the basic motions expected at that particular hospital…although your care provider has the ability and flexibility to override any hospital-wide policy! So, there’s that!

Many birth classes set parents up for a certain type of birth.

Sounds great, right? It’s not! In fact, setting parents up for a certain type of birth, vaginal, un-medicated, vaginal with an epidural, water birth, etc. is irresponsible and can lead to unrealistic expectations, broken or damaged relationships, feelings of resentment or skepticism, even birth trauma, and worse still, feelings of failure as a parent.

WOW! Let that sink in.

What a way to enter into the hood, parenthood that is! Sadly, this is the birth culture today in the United States. Parents do all the things they think are best or right and still come away feeling like shit. I promise you I hear from parents day in and day out who reach out to me for support and resources to make peace with their feelings surrounding their births. It’s terribly sad isn’t it? To think of starting out that way.

But, there’s a better way!

The Confident Birth & Parenting Class teaches parents about all types of birth. It truly helps parents learn all of the options with out inducing fear, another tactic that sets parents up to feel like failures! It teaches students how to think through situations when they arise. It teaches the importance of communication and gives them the tools they need to communicate effectively. If there’s ever a time in a person’s life that communication is vitally important it’s during the birth of their baby.

Parents need to be able to trust one another, trust their care providers, birth team, and more importantly, they need to be able to trust themselves!

A birth class can make you or break you so select one that sets you up for the best possible outcome! The Confident Birth and Parenting Class offered only through The Jax Baby Company will set you up for success no matter if your birth is spontaneous or induced vaginal, elective, scheduled, or emergency cesarean, medicated or non-medicated vaginal, water, home, birth center, or a hospital birth! If you’re in the car traveling near or far, in a house with your pet mouse, laying in the bed or standing on your head, kneeling down with a baby about to crown, on a plane or in the express lane, this is a birth class you can use anywhere in any situation! Promise!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

Here is The Jax Baby Co website , the FB page, and the IG account.

3 Secrets to Getting More Sleep After Your Baby is Born

There are secrets to getting more sleep after your baby is born and Elizabeth Luke, a postpartum and infant care specialist at The Jax Baby Company is sharing three of them with all of you! Too often we hear about sleep-deprived parents falling asleep in compromising positions while holding their newborns. We’re here to help you all sleep more soundly and as safe as possible!

Now, I know you’ve heard parents complaining, “sleep deprivation is real,” and “you’ll never sleep again.” Listen to too many of those comments and you’ll find yourself rethinking the whole parenting thing, or you totally won’t even remember these comments until they hit home for you! Not only is it possible to have a baby and still get a reasonable amount of sleep, but you’ll also feel better and think more clearly when you do!

Here are the top 3 secrets to getting more sleep after your baby is born:

1. Take Shifts

During the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth, you should try your best to get as much rest and sleep as possible. Sleep is a key component to good health and essential to postpartum recovery. Without sleep, you’ll quickly turn into a mombie (zombie mom). As cute and as sweet smelling as your baby is you need rest. Optimize your sleep by taking shifts with your partner! It’s a strategy that helps both parents get the rest they need while keeping an eye on the baby’s needs full-time.

2a. Begin a Routine

Give yourself and your baby three full weeks to snuggle, get know one another, rest and sleep as much as possible, and just be. By 3 weeks be ready to implement a routine! Beginning a routine by the time your baby is 3 weeks old will help you lay one layer of a strong foundation for better sleep overall. Remember, routines are NOT schedules, they ARE a customary or regular course of procedure.

2b. Begin a Somewhat Flexible Schedule

Aim to begin a somewhat flexible feeding and sleep schedule by about 4-6 weeks. Each baby is different, but by the time most babies (who are born full-term and considered healthy) are 6 weeks old they are ready and thrive on a regular routine and flexible schedule. How you ask? We know the way!

3. Hire Help

Yep, there’s expert help for this and much more after your baby is born! Postpartum and infant care specialists help you with all the things! To give a more specific idea of what we do here’s a short list:

  • help you get restful sleep
  • ensure you can get showers each day
  • assist you in learning your baby’s needs and cues
  • help you set healthy boundaries
  • hands-on, accurate breastfeeding/bottle feeding/pumping advice
  • work out and implement routines/schedules
  • assist with light housework like dishes, laundry, and meal prep

Have questions? Want to learn more about getting your baby off to a great start?

Get in touch with Elizabeth and her team at The Jax Baby Co. It is with great joy that we provide exceptional support and inclusive care to families welcoming babies in the Jacksonville, FL area. Bookmark this blog and put these 3 secrets to getting more sleep after your baby is born in your toolbox! Then, get ready to rock this parenting thing!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Elizabeth Luke, the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co. has been a trusted provider of personalized care and support to families in and around Jacksonville, Florida for the better part of two-and-a-half decades. Specializing in childbirth education, postpartum and in-home infant care support, and sleep coaching!

You can find her at: www.JaxBabyCompany.com

www.facebook.com/TheJaxBabyCompany/

Costello Syndrome Fundraiser — Jacksonville, Florida

In 2017, I met Sarah Holloway and got to know her and her son Joey and learned about the rare disease he had, Costello Syndrome. He is the only child in Jacksonville to have the disease, but he’s not the first in our area.

This disease is so rare and so little is known about it by doctors that more children and families may be struggling with it, undiagnosed.

Only 600 people in the world have ever been diagnosed it.

Costello Syndrome affects every part and function of the body; intellectually, developmentally, and physically. Many Costello kids look alike, because syndrome diseases often cause similar physical features. There is a 66 percent chance that Joey will get childhood cancer. One in six die before the age of ten. Which is why I’m here asking for your help!

Your Chance to Make a Difference!

January 27th is Costello Syndrome Awareness Day, and in an effort to help out, I’m reposting the original information I posted about Joey and Sarah from 2017 and creating a special offer to help benefit kids with Costello Syndrome.

Purchase a $200 gift certificate for our studio for ONLY $100. ALL proceeds will go to Costello Syndrome. Give these to friends, family, or keep them for yourself. Purchase HERE.

The Gift Certificates will be mailed to your home, so include your address in the notes when you purchase! Or email Christy@jaxphotographer.com

(Only one gift certificate may be used at a time for a session.)

Here’s a little information Costello:

From Sarah/Wear Red & Denim on Sunday

Did you know for English speaking countries the Costello syndrome rate is approximately 1 in 1.2 million people? Out of the millions of babies born each year all over the world, there are only 2 babies born with the HRAS gene.

Being a parent of a child with Costello Syndrome means knowing everything there is to know about the disease, so we are equipped with the knowledge to teach the doctors how to treat and care for our children.

It’s so rare to the area that geneticists in the area couldn’t diagnose Joey. It took 4 doctors to diagnose him.

Please help us raise aware about Costello Syndrome. This Sunday please wear red and denim in honor of Joey and his Costello Syndrome Cousins. Please take pictures and share #costellosyndrome#joeycsjourney#teamjoeydavid

First Coast News Coverage & Cake Smash

Watch the First Coast News Coverage about the Holloway family.

“Just keep swimming” is motto of families dealing with children of rare disease. Jacksonville toddler is the ONLY child in the area to have Costello Syndrome.

Hoping to raise awareness for other parents who may not know their child has it and also to raise money for this local family so they can get to a specialist without taking on debt!

Most kids do a cake smash for their first birthday; it took Joey Holloway a little longer and many tears of joy from his mother when he was finally able to hit that milestone.

From the time Joey was born Sara Holloway knew something was wrong. But doctors told her it was nothing or he was just stubborn. It took many doctor’s appointments, second opinions and car rides home in tears before Holloway got the answer to what was going on with her son, the very rare disease—Costello Syndrome.

For Joey, who is developmentally eight months delayed because of the syndrome, it means regular cancer screenings, annual MRIs, exploratory procedures and ongoing new issues.

Joey is 16 months old and has already had five surgeries, tons of exploratory procedures, and has spent around 120 days in the hospital in his short life. And while eating isn’t a big thing for most children, for Joey, it’s one more step to normalcy.

“The medical field is the only field that someone can be wrong so often and miss so many things other than meteorology, and still have a job,” Holloway says. “Since the diagnosis, I have realized that I have had to teach the doctors.”

But she hopes that will change and she has new hope with a trip to a specialist in Costello Syndrome, located at the Dupont Hospital in Delaware. The doctor there has treated 100 of the 600 known cases of Costello Syndrome. Her insurance has just approved the visit and Holloway just got word the hospital has an opening at the end of October—she was originally told it might take six months to get Joey in.

The catch? Holloway has to pay for the airfare, hotels, car, etc. Which is hard when you’re a single mom who can’t work full time because you have a special needs child.

Holloway hopes to bring awareness about the disease so other mom’s who were in her boat can find answers. In the meantime, she’s relishing in the normalcy of simple milestones like eating cake.

Video From Cake Smash & More Info

Rex, from Drawn In Media, helped create a video of the cake smash and interviewed Sarah about Costello Syndrome, that video is here.

Here’s Your Chance to Help & Get Something in Return

Purchase a $200 gift certificate for our studio for half off– ONLY $100. ALL proceeds will go to Costello Syndrome. Give these to friends, family, or keep them for yourself.  Click HERE to purchase.