newborn photo with mom and dadPhoto: Kendra Greenberg

The first 48 hours go by so fast. You’re basking in the glow of love. Take a few moments and capture those precious moments of bonding before you head home and the family arrives to see the new addition.

Because of COVID-19, hospitals aren’t allowing professional photographers into the hospitals to take any pictures. Most mother-baby stays are shorter than normal to ensure that mom, dad, and baby all stay healthy.

So what’s the best way to document the first memories of your baby’s life? Kendra Greenberg Photography has tips and tricks for taking professional-looking pictures that you will want to frame, put in an album, and use for your baby announcements all from your iPhone. You can absolutely create some lasting images from your time in the hospital.

Kendra is a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based in the Los Angeles area. She has photographed over 1200 newborns at the hospital in their first two days of life and also does posed newborn photography. To learn more about Kendra, visit her website at KendraGreenberg.com and on Instagram @kendraslife.

1. Make a Plan
Visual examples are your best friend. Check out this free PDF Kendra has included if you need some inspiration. Also, if you have time, you can create a Pinterest page of in-hospital baby pictures that you would like to recreate.

Make sure to pack the items that you want with you in the photos, for example, a nice robe, baby outfits/headbands, plus any make-up and hair styling tools you’ll need if you want a certain look.

2. Kendra’s Must-Have Shots

  • Mom with baby

  • Dad with Baby

  • Baby Portrait: Pictures of the baby by themselves

  • Tiny Pieces: Close-ups on the head, hands, and feet

  • Family Picture: Have the nurse take this one!

3. It’s All about the Lighting
First, turn off all artificial lights and get everyone by the window—trust me—turn them off. Natural light complements all skin tones the best. If you leave any other lights on in your room, your baby and the photo will look orange, regardless of your skin tone. Also, turn off your flash. The flash will ruin the natural shadows that we love in documentary-style photography. On your iPhone screen, tap on the part of the image where you want sharp focus. This will also correct the brightness of the image.

PRO TIP: Don’t photograph anyone with the window directly behind them. Most hospitals have a blackout curtain and a shade curtain. Use the shade curtain if it’s too bright. Make sure there is no harsh sunlight on anyone. Make sure the soft light from the window is lighting their faces. 

4. Frame It Up
Get close to your subject to make the photo look more artistic. With intense close-ups like these, you will naturally get a blurry background which will give the picture that professional effect. You’ll want to focus the image in the same way as you did for step four: on your iphone screen, tap on the part of the image where you want sharp focus. This will also correct the brightness of the image. This technique is especially nice for images of the head, hands, and feet.

PRO TIP: Physically move your body closer instead of using the in-phone zoom feature. If you zoom in digitally the image will pixelate and you won’t get good print quality.

5. Get in the Picture
Moms, Dads, get in the picture with your baby! Don’t worry about how you look! Years from now all you’ll see is the glow of love on your face. Those first 48 hour memories are priceless and you can’t recreate the moment when you get home.

For parents who would still really prefer not to be photographed: Consider using your hands under the baby’s head or cheek for an artistic shot. As the baby gets older, they will cherish the image of you and them together.

PRO TIP: Photographing a parent from above with his/her eyes closed and head leaning in close to the baby is a very artistic and flattering shot. Everyone looks good in this picture! Regardless of how much sleep they’ve gotten. Just make sure to get very close and tap the screen to focus on the baby’s face.

6. Choose the Right Moment
Babies are either sleeping, eating, pooping, or everything at the same time, lol! You want to take your pictures when the baby has a full belly and/or is drifting off to sleep. It’s very difficult to get pictures of a one-day-old baby when their eyes are open because that usually means that they’re uncomfortable for some reason.

A warm room will make the baby more comfortable, but don’t let it get too hot for too long. Remember, if you have any questions, consult the medical staff. A tight swaddle, gentle rocking, and shushing sounds mimic the conditions in mommy’s womb. The nurses are expert swaddlers and they love to help new parents.

Most of all, have fun with it! Your first 48 hours with your baby are magical. Enjoy every precious minute of it together and remember, don’t forget to take the pictures!

To learn more, visit Kendra Greenberg Photography and @kendraslife on Instagram.

Written by: Adrienne Sale for Kendra Greenberg Photography