I admit, when I had my baby I was not prepared for capturing the moments that pass by in those first few weeks. I wanted to record all the firsts and special memories, and collected a mental list of things I was going to write down, so that I wouldn't forget. And guess what? I still haven't written them down, and they are forgotten now. I did take pictures, mainly with my phone, while holding him, because that's generally all I had on hand. So I have a lot of grainy unclear images that don't tell very much other than I did spend a lot of those first few weeks pinned to the sofa or bed while he fed or slept.
I could kick myself now for not making it more of a priority to take photos. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, this is what I would say:
1. Don't rely on the phone camera! Unless you're outside and the light's great. Use a compact digital at least and even then, try to make sure there's always loads of light or you'll get a lot of motion blur. Use the flash if necessary.
2. Take photos of the baby stuff, not just the baby. His tiny clothes hanging to dry on the line. His clean new blankets and booties. His bath stuff.
3. A lot of the 'firsts' happen as you go, but some you can put a bit of thought into planning how you'll capture. Most of the time you're hands on and not standing by with a camera, but you can still get images that tell the story. For example, our first bath was done spontaneously, at night, and it was terrifying. We brought his bath into the bedroom where there was space and it was warm. And then he pooped afterwards in his towel, all over me and the carpet. Next time I would do it in the day, by a window, and take a photo of it all set up, and at least a quick one of him in the bath with my partner holding him. Definitely one of him snuggled up in his towel afterwards.
4. Details - you can get nice close ups of their little feet, hands, lips or whatever while they're asleep. If you can, push the moses basket near a window and try different angles.
5. Do a mini photo shoot - nothing fancy - baby on a blanket is fine. By the window, keeping the room warm (25 degrees warm) if they're unclothed. I wouldn't attempt anything you see in professional newborn photos unless you really know what you're doing, but you can aim to get a clear picture of your baby with a neat and tidy background (no wrinkles in the blanket). Spend a bit of time doing your hair and make-up and get someone to take a photo of you both - you think you look awful but one day when you're old and grey you'll treasure it. Maybe more ideas on this in another blog post.
Life with a newborn is crazy, messy, tiring, wonderful. You are surrounded by little things that one day will spark a memory of what this time was like. Try and think with a perspective from the future - what might you one day look at and say 'ah... I remember that!'.
Here are two that I took on my compact camera in the first couple of weeks. The one of me holding Ben was done using the 10 second timer, with the camera resting on the mantle piece. It took a few tries!
Of course I would also highly recommend having a professional newborn shoot done (beg, borrow or steal if you have to)!! As well as having a studio here I do home visits for baby photos throughout Cornwall and love doing really natural style as well as set up shots.
If you have anything you can think to add, comments are welcome!!