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Creating perfect family photos during lockdown

Here we are again, well into lockdown number three! Trying to find things for the family to do and the strains of homeschooling will be taking their toll by now no doubt. This unprecedented situation with covid 19 is something we have not seen in our lifetime and will probably never see again (hopefully!). Remembering to take photographs is probably one of the last things on your mind at the moment but it is probably one of the things you should be doing a few times a day. We say this because if you have a new, young or growing family, recording how we all dealt with this unbelievable moment in time with photos to show our children and eventually our grandchildren is something that you won't regret.

Professional newborn photographers are highly skilled and trained in posing babies safely and capturing beautiful images, so please don’t expect the same results as we can achieve with our years of experience. You won’t have the same knowledge, experience, or equipment that we use and you won’t be able to professionally edit your images either, BUT we can help you to capture the best results with the equipment you do have. A mobile phone will do just fine.

Always make sure that your baby is calm, relaxed and has just been fed. There’s no point in trying to take photos of your baby with arms & legs all over the place, or if they’re crying for food you will find this frustrating and wouldn't make the experience pleasurable. If you’re planning on undressing your baby for photos, then make sure the room you’re using is really warm (about 25 degC).

We recommend taking your baby’s photographs within the first week or two of you baby being born. Babies are more sleepy in the first 7 to 14 days after birth, so you will stand a far better chance of settling them and capturing some cute images.

Location - Your bedroom is probably going to be the best place for newborn photos as most bedrooms have a relatively large window which is the perfect light source (never use direct flash). You can also use your bed to position your baby on and using a white or neutral coloured sheet makes the perfect background. If you don’t want to use your bed, then a cot or moses basket can be great for emphasising how cute and tiny your baby is.

Make sure you remove as much clutter as possible; baby wipes, nappy bags, soft toys and clothes can easily ruin a great photo when lurking in the background.

Posing - Keep it simple. There’s a lot you can do with your baby safely lying on their back without the need to wrap them or pose them much. Advanced newborn poses should NEVER be attempted without proper training.

Position your baby so the top of their head is facing towards the window (your light source). This may feel unnatural to you, but it will give the most flattering light and help you to get some lovely images of your little one.

When your baby is settled, you may want to gently position their arms so they appear more natural & relaxed. Position yourself at the head end of your baby and shoot at a slight downward angle. We’ve all done it, but try not to take photos from your baby’s feet looking up their nose.

You can also gently drape a blanket over your baby, or use a small soft toy to add some more interest to your images. Don’t forget to take some close ups of your baby’s hands & feet as well.

Siblings & parents - Photos of newborns with brothers or sisters are a challenge for any professional photographer as kids can be so unpredictable, so keep it safe and as simple as possible.

Lie your older child on the bed (or you can use a soft blanket or rug on the floor) and carefully place your baby next to them in their arms, ensuring that their head is supported at all times and they are well away from the edge of the bed. Have your partner sit or kneel to the side just out of shot in case you need any help, or baby needs supporting. Some very young children will struggle with this, so if you don’t feel as though your child is capable of being still for long enough then please don’t attempt this. Your partner can also take photos of you and your baby this way and vice versa.

Older babies/kids

Older babies, toddlers and kids can be very challenging as they don't stay still for long!

Your social distanced walk is the perfect opportunity to capture some great images as the light at this time of year is perfect for that atmospheric shot. It is also the perfect time to get to know the filters and settings in the photos section on your mobile phone.With a small amount of cropping and a black and white filter you can create a lovely atmospheric photo.

Spring is not that far away now so there will be plenty of opportunities to get some great pictures of your children playing in the bluebells and other early budding flowers. As the Covid situation has restricted our travel to places close to home you will be able to explore and find that special spot to take some great shots that will get you lots of likes on social media, but remember less is more when it comes to posting images!

If the weather is causing problems as it usually does in this green and pleasant land then there are still plenty of options for getting those special images indoors. Candid shots of the family interacting with each other are a good way to capture great photos as there is none of the forced smiles or uncomfortable situations of holding the camera waiting for the subject to get ready. If that is not an option then try and use a white or dark wall to take the photo or maybe lay the child on a mat or rug with a favorite toy to keep them distracted. Lighting is also important, I would recommend not using the flash as this can create unwanted shadows, try to choose an area in the home with some good natural light. If that’s not available it's another opportunity to play around with the edit section of your phone or pad’s photo section.

When taking photos of your babies, toddlers & children, it’s so important to get down to their level, instead of looking down at them from adult height. You may have seen us doing this during your photoshoots, and it’s not uncommon for us to be lying on the floor, or crouched in awkward positions. Keep your camera level with their eye line which will give you a child’s perspective on the world and help your images come to life.

Most importantly, have fun. If it’s starting to stress you out because the kids are misbehaving and won’t sit still, then you’re kind of missing the point. Just let them be themselves, don’t try and direct things too much and capture the memories as they naturally unfold.

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