Documenting Your Family From Home During the Stay-At-Home Mandate

Part 1:

Documenting Your Family From Home

 

This is such a strange time right now. Whether your little one was born just before our Stay-at-Home orders were put in place, during the pandemic, or your family is a bit older, we are all missing out on our traditional newborn or family portraits that you longed for this spring.

I wish I could say that I was “essential” and needed to remain open for these time-sensitive photos! But, I can’t.

I never imagined we’d be this far in. Right now I’m at day 46 of quarantine. FORTY-SIX! That’s 46 days without photographing your babies. That’s 46 days you’ve been at home with your sweet babe watching them grow and change daily. That’s 46 days that I hope you’ve been documenting for personal memories.

This blog post is directed towards the the new mama and daddy, sitting at home with your babies, wanting to take these photos for memories, but just aren’t quite sure how. But it’s also for the families at home with older children wanting to document this time! We will focus on lighting, angles, and editing. All of these concepts can be applied whether you have a newborn baby or older children.

 

Four Tips for Documenting Your Family During The Stay-At-Home Mandate:

 

My examples below are using my iPhone 8. I did NOT use my professional camera so you can see exactly what you can document as well.

PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Stick with BASIC poses for a newborn baby (mainly, laying on her back, or, for older babies, some tummy time). Newborn photographers are trained on how to safely pose. I know it can be tempting to “just try it” yourself. Many of the poses you see by photographers take certain props and techniques that keep the baby secure and safe. Safety first!

 

  1. Look for the light!
    • Choose a window in your house that offers soft light. Depending on the time of day, you may be in different areas of the house.
    • I did my “photo shoot” at 9am. At that time of day, the light is pouring in through the front of the house. In the left image, you can see the light “burning” parts of the couch and Abby’s foot. I took this as an example of what to look for when looking for the “light.” Light splotches and direct sunlight should be avoided. (If this were the afternoon, the couch would be a perfect spot as the sun would be on the other side of the house).
    • The image on the right is a better location for this time of day. The back of my house offers “indirect sunlight” in the morning.
    • Be sure to clear the area (aka clutter!) I threw Abby’s art supplies to the middle of the room to make the background as simple as possible.
    • When you’ve found “the light,” position your family at about a 45 degree angle from the window. Baby’s head should always be “towards the light.”
Left: the hot spots on the couch and Abby’s foot is distracting from the image. Right: the soft light coming from the sliding glass door creates even light on them.

 

 

2. Angles, angles, angles!

    • The biggest “mistake” I see families making all of the time is shooting “up.” This enlarges the baby’s body, and makes the viewer look “up the nose.” We want to see the baby either straight on, or from a downward angle to create beautiful perspectives. The image on the left shows the correct angle. Imagine a straight line from the lens to the baby’s nose. The image on the right shows the “upward” angle. Notice how the baby’s body looks gigantic, and you’re looking up her nose?

 

Left: the camera is creating a straight line directly from the lens to the baby’s nose. Right: the camera angle is looking “up,” making the body appear larger and the head appear smaller.

 

3. Remember the details!

    • They won’t be tiny forever. Don’t forget to come in close on those tiny toes and facial features. This would be a good one to have mom or dad’s hands holding the tiny feet or head to give some perspective. I also adore the backlit detail shot. Simply place the baby next to the window and photograph (at baby’s level) into the light, instead of next to the light.

 

Right: close up of baby’s features. Middle: Don’t forget the tiny toes! Right: backlit detail shot

 

4. Editing: KISS (Keep It Simple!)

    • There are tons of free phone editing apps that you can download to enhance your photos. I like to follow the rule of KISS, Keep It Simple. By adjusting the exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows slider bar, I can enhance the image just enough to get it to where I want it. I used the Lightroom Mobile App for these edits. I’ve also taken screen shots of the adjustments that I’ve made, to show that you don’t have to go crazy with the sliders to enhance the image.

Some minor adjustments with exposure, contract, highlights and shadows made these images pop just a bit more.

 

Before and after: Editing using the Lightroom Mobile App. Minor adjustments just to brighten Abby’s and Baby’s face, and some slight cropping make this a final image.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2: Get IN the Photos!

 

Did you know? You can pre-schedule your portrait session with Blueprint Photography! Call or email for details: 302-668-6058; info@blueprint-photography.com, or drop your info below. Once the Stay-At-Home orders are lifted, we will schedule your session for your professional portraits! Until then, keep snapping!