Why taking a cute photo of your newborn baby just isn't that easy

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Ah newborn babies.

So cute, but such hard work. If you're like many new mums, you've spent hours feeding, rocking, cuddling, and gazing at your perfectly tiny and precious little one. You know they're adorable. But the photos you take aren't quite doing them justice. Here are a few reasons why this happens to many mums:

1. You're probably a little exhausted

I look back on the photos I took of my own babies when they were still new, and I can tell I wasn't feeling great when I took those photos! The sleep deprivation and busy-ness of the newborn stage meant those photos weren't my best work. Give yourself a break, new mamas, you are doing the hard yards!

My little boy when he was a couple of months old (he's nearly 8 now!)

2. If you're holding the baby, you're probably too close to take a good photo

When baby is in your arms, you'll have to use a really wide angle to get them all in. Unfortunately, with wide angles comes a bit of distortion, meaning whatever part of baby is closest to your lens or phone camera, will look pretty big in proportion to everything else. So put baby down, take a few steps back, and your shot will look much better. Or, ask someone else to take the shot, so you can be in it too (it's so important for you to be in photos with your baby)

3. Baby skin keeps changing

Baby skin is incredible. Some parts are unbelievably smooth and perfect. Others are covered in cradle cap or dry skin flakes. Some babies' skin is almost translucent, and you can see the networks of blue veins underneath the skin. Some babies turn dark red when they cry, and others get a little blue around the mouth when they have wind. Skin is an organ that is adjusting to the outside world, and it does take a while to become even and smooth. There are some phone apps that can help you smooth these out (if you want to, of course!). I use a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom to even out the skin, remove baby acne, and lessen the appearance of cradle cap and flaking.

When you zoom right in, there are usually quite a few little flakes and bits of sleep. Instead of disturbing sleeping babies, I sometimes choose to just remove it in Photoshop later - like the little piece of sleep that you can still see right near baby's eye.

4. Even babies have unflattering angles

We all know the adult tricks of taking a flattering selfie and avoiding double chins, but babies also have particular angles that look better than others. One tip is to avoid standing at their feet and shooting up toward their face, as this leads to a "nostril shot" looking up their nose. Wrapping a baby up snugly will also help them to stay still while you take their photo. Lighting can make a huge difference too. Choose a spot with heaps of light, but not direct, harsh sunlight. In the middle of a room with big windows and white walls/ceilings is often ideal.

I hope this helps you to take some great portraits of your little one while they're still so tiny.

Orewa, New Zealand
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© 2019 by Debra Hunt