Quarantined: How to take great photos at home

March 22, 2020

Quarantined: How to take great photos at home

Did you just have a baby and are practicing social distancing? The good news is you can still take great photos at home especially with an iPhone. Here is a list of helpful tips and tricks for working with newborns and children.

You’re going to want to find an area of your home that has the most natural light. Natural light is the light that comes from the sun. When I’m photographing an in-home newborn session, I’ll look for two things.
1- big windows in a bedroom or living room area
2- light, neutral colored walls

Bigger windows create a bigger light source which usually provides more diffused light. Diffused light is light that is being filtered through something like a soft box or the clouds to the sun. Diffused light is great for portraits because it softens shadows and helps capture more accurate skin tones. Diffused window light is ideal because it’s daylight balanced which means the temperature (color) of the light is going to be more neutral. Light, neutral colored walls help reflect light back onto the subject which also helps soften shadows.

I try to work with this type of lighting when photographing newborns because the of effect it has on the subject. Newborns are precious, perfect, brand new little humans. So to keep the focus on the subject, I’m looking for softer light that won’t create distracting, unnatural shadows or highlights in my composition. My goal is for the wandering eye to move around the frame of a photo without getting “stuck”. Soft, neutral compositions allow for this, keeping the focus on the subject.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind about newborn babies:
1- Solo posed newborns photograph best within the first 14 days of being born. This is when they’ll still be super sleepy for those bendy, swaddled poses. It’s also usually before acne and colic can set in.
2- Keeping this time frame in mind, you should try to recreate the environment they were just in. So turn the heat up – think mama’s body temperature. A swaddle imitates the pressure and fetal position they were just in. And a white noise machine can help recreate what they were used to hearing in the womb. I also believe butt pats (mama’s heart beat) and shhh’s into their ear go a long way as well.

Here are a few poses that work well for newborns beyond the 14 day timeframe:

Here are a few tips on wrangling your kids into photos:
1- Kids do better with activities. Think bubbles, finger painting, tea parties, etc.
2- Kids respond well to being rewarded. Think stickers, gold fish, cookies, etc.
3- Kids behave better when all basic needs are met. Try after they nap, have a snack and are recharged!
4- Kids do best when distractions are minimized! Turn off the tv, put toys away, bring them outside into a different environment.

Using an iPhone
iPhones are capable of a lot more than you think. Some of the newer phones work JUST AS WELL as a point and shoot camera! And now with portrait mode, it’s a step closer to actually shooting with a portrait lens. Portrait mode creates shallow depth of field which allows your subject to pop off of the background. When you’re ready to take some photos, here’s what you should do:
1- hold your phone like you would a camera (horizontally if you can)
2- tap the subject on the screen to tell the camera to expose for the subject and also bring the subject into focus
3- take the photo using the volume button on the side of your phone. Doing this helps prevent blurriness because it acts more of a shutter button instead of having to tap the button on the screen

Remember that diffused window light and neutral compositions are going to be most important for taking great at home photos! Feel free to comment or reach out with questions!

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