5 Essential Steps for Preparing to Photograph Your New Baby

Photographing a newborn baby

When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I would be taking a lot of photos, but I was completely unprepared for the onslaught of pictures I would take, or the challenges I would face figuring out what to do with them, and finding the time to do it! Of course, I was also unprepared for the joy and delight that I would get daily from photographing my kids or how big a role photography would play in my life as a mom (or that I would start a business helping others address the same issues and get the same joy I did).

One of the things I hear over and over from my clients is “I wish I had found out about you when I first became a mom!”

This has got me to thinking about how I can help first time expectant parents prepare for their baby photographically—and avoid photo-insanity altogether!

So today I am talking about essential prep for photographing your new baby. Next week I will share tips on creating a photo friendly nursery. The week after that I will cover tips for photographing your newborn baby. Be sure to share this blog post and series with all your pregnant and new mom friends!

5 essential steps for preparing to photograph your new baby

1) Get an iPhone

Yes that’s right, if you don’t already have one, you need an iPhone! And if you already have one but are due for an upgrade, now would be a great time to do it. Because as a new mom, your iPhone will become your new best friend.

The iPhone is the best camera that you can have on hand at all times to capture everyday moments that you can instantly edit and share with friends and family. What you lose in quality over a point-and-shoot or DSLR you easily make up in convenience and connectivity, and most iPhone photos will look great printed at 4×6, which is all most people want for snapshots anyway.

Not only that, but your iPhone will also be your lifeline as far as staying connected to others, having access to information, keeping track of feedings, doctor’s visits, planning trips, knowing what is going on in the world—all with one hand and a baby strapped to your chest if necessary!
When I’m with my kids I always make sure I am wearing clothing that includes a pocket so I can keep my iPhone on me at a times. You never know when the opportunity is going to arise to capture the moment.

2) Get a DSLR

I do also recommend getting a “good” camera for higher quality photos. A DSLR is not for everyone, but many parents who know that photographing their child is going to be important to them will purchase their first DSLR when they first become a parent.

If you are excited about photographing your child and know you will want to get into it, don’t worry if you don’t know anything else about photography or how to use a DSLR (I can help you with that in my Photosanity workshop). You’ll need a DSLR to take photos where your subject is in focus and the background is blurry, and to take low light photos without using flash. But if that sounds like too much, it is totally OK to rely on your iPhone and maybe a point-and-shoot.

3) Get on Facebook

The Facebook portrayed in mainstream media that keeps some people away from it is not the Facebook that I experience. I love Facebook because the version I experience is all about being able to stay connected to people from all parts of my life and all parts of the world that I would otherwise not be able to keep up with. And I can also stay more closely in touch with the people that are currently in my offline life.

For a new mom, Facebook can be a giant support group and resource. You can find company during middle of the night feedings from people who have been there (I highly recommend the Ask Moxie Facebook group for parents with kids of any ages)… and of course you can share your photos and celebrate moments and milestones far easily than you can via any other medium I know of.

I realize not everyone is comfortable sharing photos of their kids online, and I understand that. For me the payoff is huge and I exercise caution—I turn geotagging off, set my privacy controls carefully and generally don’t post photos from a location until after we have left.

Plus, through MySocialBook you can now print a book of your Facebook timeline complete with photos and comments—an instant baby book! Most parents I work with (myself included) never end up making the baby book that they plan on while pregnant so this is basically a dream solution to that problem, especially if you plan on doing this from the start and post your photos and journal-like comments and quotes on Facebook accordingly.

4) Join ShutterCal

I have talked about my photo-a-day project before, but this is the most rewarding project I have done as a parent and a photographer. I have a photo-a-day for each of my boys from the day they were born and it is a wonderful and amazing record of their lives.

I take most of my ShutterCal photos on my iPhone – not only is it the easiest way to capture everyday moments daily it it is also the easiest way to edit and upload daily as well.

Get ready to start your project the day your baby is born by opening your ShutterCal account now!

5) Create a photo organization system and back-up photos

No matter what camera(s) you have, if you are reading this you are going to need a photo organization system and back-up system.

Check out my posts from earlier in the year where I talk about how to back up and organize your photos.