Hi Mama! If you’ve landed on this page, it’s because you are interested in learning how to take your own fresh 48 portraits. As a professional photographer, I think it’s always worth it to hire a professional photographer to capture these memories for you. I believe this for so many reasons, the most important of which is it’s easier for you to be in the photographs yourself. However, as a mother who gave birth to a child at the beginning of a pandemic (thanks, Covid), I understand that stressors that come with that. I totally understand that some moms feel more comfortable doing it themselves. In fact, many hospitals around the country aren’t even allowing visitors, much less a photographer to come into hospital. Maybe you’d like to hire a photographer, but it’s just not in your budget, well this is for you too!
You may be thinking, why should I take your tips and tricks? You’ve never taken your own fresh 48 portraits, you do it for others! After saying I think you should hire a professional photographer if you can and feel comfortable with it, I realize how ironic this is going to sound. HOWEVER, the reason I can confidently give you these tips and because I actually DID take my baby’s fresh 48 portraits.
Click here to see my cute baby! What can I say? I have control issues? I had a certain picture in my mind of what I wanted and I wanted to make sure it got done right! I am not the kind of client who is going to tell someone else how to do their job. So it was just easier for me to do it myself as opposed to stepping on the toes of one my peers in the photography industry by dictating the whole shoot.
The great thing about these tips and many of them are plain photography tips that can help elevate the photos you take every day of your child. It doesn’t matter if you have a nice camera or an iPhone, these tips will help!
I hope you find these tips helpful and I hope that it helps you capture photos that you love! I truly believe one of the most important things you can do for your family legacy is to document these milestones!
DIY Fresh 48 Portraits: How to Take Your Own Fresh 48 Portraits
1. FEED THE BABY
A fed baby is a happy baby. Attempting to take your pictures will go so much better if you begin taking pictures right after they have fed. It will also allow you the maximum amount of time to take pictures. If you wait to take pictures 20-30 minutes after feeding the baby, he will be ready to eat before you’re done taking pictures. This is especially frustrating if you are wearing the hat of taking the pictures yourself and nursing the baby. Having maximum amount of time to take portraits will allow the whole thing to go smoother and not be so chaotic and frustrating.
2. DO IT IN THE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING HOURS
For indoor shoots, you want to try to take your portraits at the time of day when the sun is high in the sky. If it’s too close to the horizon, not as much light will be coming in through the windows. If you catch the sun too late or early in the day, depending on where your room is located, it will be super harsh light coming in, and you don’t want that either. Being mindful of the time of day you shoot will make a big difference in how your images turn out. The pictures you see below were taken around noon, when the sun was as centered in the sky as possible. It allowed an abundant amount of soft, pretty light to flood the room.
3.CLEAR THE CLUTTER
This is actually a lot more work than it sounds. You want to clear out anything distracting in the background so your image is clean and the focus is on the baby, the new family, the new relationships being formed with baby, etc. If you are shooting from one angle, it may mean moving the duffle back overflowing of clothes or a laptop bag. When you move to another angle, it may mean moving the bassinet or dinner tray. It will probably annoy your husband, it did mine. He rolled his eyes and huffed and puffed, but it was worth it! You don’t want to see a half eaten food tray behind your shoulder. You want to be able to focus on your baby in the image.
4.PULL UP THE BLINDS
I don’t mean open the blinds. I mean pull the blinds ALL the way up. You want AS MUCH light as possible coming in through the windows. Opening the blinds will let in some light, but it really won’t let in as much as you want. It can also sometimes cause weird shadows on faces since only slits of light will be coming in.
5.FACE THE WINDOW
This tip is a MUST FOLLOW. Lighting is everything in photography. The light allows details to show up crystal clear in an image. It makes eyes sparkle. It makes the image look clean. Trust me, face the window. Even better, move toward the window. You’ll notice in the pictures below that I made my husband literally carry the baby to the window to take pictures. It makes ALL the difference. If you’re taking some photos on the couch, take the time to literally MOVE THE COUCH to face the window. Typically these sofas are up against the window. Again, if you look at the pictures closely, you’ll see that I had my husband move the couch to be up against the bed and facing the window. If you decide to take photos on the bed, have everyone turn their bodies toward the window.
This is a great tip for when visitors come to visit and want that picture holding the baby. Have them face the window.
6. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
I know I just told you that lighting was everything and you need to have as much light as possible. It seems crazy to now tell you to turn off the lights. The reason you need to turn off lights is because you don’t want two different kinds of light going on. The natural light coming in from the window will be beautiful. If you have overhead lights on also, part of your face will look one color and the other half of your face will look a slightly different color. Having overhead lights on will also cast small shadows on your face. It’s an editing nightmare for a professional photographer. If you aren’t a professional photographer, it’s going to be even more frustrating. So trust me, just rely on the window light and turn off the overhead lights!
7.TAKE A MILLION PHOTOS
Is my husband the only one who will sit there and wait for forever before he finally takes a picture? When he lets me look at it, I see I’m mid blink. If you take 2/3 photos of the same shot, you are sure to avoid this mess. So when I say take a million photos, I mean take multiple photos of the same pose you want. Don’t just take one. You’ll regret it. Also, when taking photos, of a pose you want, get that same shot from different angles. Try higher up, try eye level, just looking up. Get some farther out and some closer up. You can ultimately get 4-5 images from the same pose if you are creative.
8. USE A TRIPOD/SHUTTER RELEASE
You’re probably wondering, how to get yourself in the photos! Those pictures of you with the baby are super important-DON’T skip out on them! There are two options here.
Invest in a tripod and a shutter release. You do this with a real camera OR for your phone! Set up your tripod, sit yourself facing the window and click the shutter release remote. Again, we want a million pictures, so click it more than once!
Another option is to get a friend or family member to come and take the pictures that include you. This is actually what I opted for. My shutter release ran out of battery juice and I didn’t have time to get a new one! Thankfully a friend offered to take the ones that included the whole family!
I hope some of these tips helped! If you have any questions, feel free to drop em in the comments, I’ll be happy to help! If you used some of these tips, let me know which ones were most helpful!