Princeton WV Children & Portrait Photography by Autumn Branscome Photography » Autumn Branscome is a childrens and family photographer based in Princeton WV serving Princeton, Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston and surrounding areas in WV.

DIY Fresh48

You guys, I cannot tell you how upset I am that I won’t be able to shoot fresh48s for a while. They are honestly my absolute favorite. I love capturing the excitement of new life, all of the little details and those sweet first moments. A few of my mommas have asked me to share any tips I can give for capturing their own fresh48s. Thanks to modern technology, you can get pretty impressive images with just an iPhone!

Yes, those images were shot with an iPhone 5. iPhone cameras have come a LONG way since then!

1) Clean your phone camera.

Y’all honestly would not believe how dirty a phone camera can get. This can cause images that look foggy and can also cause your phone camera to have trouble focusing. Wipe it with a soft cloth to remove any dust, fingerprints, smudges, etc!

2) Light, light, light!

All of my clients who I’ve photographed fresh48s for can tell you I am crazy about having perfect lighting during fresh48 sessions. The first thing I do when I go into a room for a fresh48 (besides washing my hands) is turn off ALL overhead lighting in the room. Lights above the bed, lights in the bathroom, lights over the mirror, they all get turned off. Why? Because I want all of my light to be the same temperature. Here’s an example from my office:

See the light from the lamp? It is warm and yellow light. See the light from the window? It is cool and white light. If I photographed something in my office right now, it would have both shades of yellow and blue casted on my subject. If you’ve ever taken a photo inside and notice half of your subjects face is orange and the other half blue, the reason is because you have two different color temperature light sources. If you’re converting your images to black & white, this is generally not a problem. But for the best results in color images, you want ONE lighting source. Personally, I LOVE the window light in hospitals. Windows are usually huge which means for super soft light. After I turn off all the lights in the room, I always photograph my fresh48s as close to the window as I can get them. I move baby’s bassinet there, I move a chair there, 95% of my fresh48 sessions take place in the little corner next to the window! Remember, the closer you are to your light source, the softer your lighting will be! Get as close to the window as you can and turn off all of the overhead lights in the room. (Yes even that one above the mirror, it will make a difference!) Also, open the blinds ALL THE WAY!  Raise them up so you get the most light possible into the room.

Capturing Baby

Me personally, I love using hospital items when I photograph fresh48s. I love the hospital blankets, their little white tees and their cute little hats from the nursery. I feel like this really adds to the nostalgia that is a fresh48. Before starting, make sure baby is has a full belly and is warm. Newborns can smell momma and sometimes can get a little fussy if they know she’s near and they’re not eating  😉 Crank up the heat in the room and swaddle them up. When my twins were in the hospital, I totally asked the nurses to swaddle them for me. Nurses are the BEST swaddlers so don’t be afraid to ask! Like I said, roll that bassinet over to the window, lay baby down and start photographing. Try all different angles and really watch the lighting on their faces. Don’t be afraid to turn the bassinet to get the best lighting on them. Stand on a chair (with assistance) and capture them from above. One thing to remember is you generally want the light source to be on the side of their body. You do not want the light coming up their nose, so put the bassinet parallel to the window and turn it counter clockwise if you need to adjust. Just watch your lighting on their face!

After I have got the swaddled images, I generally unswaddle them and just see how they do. As long as they are warm and have a full belly, generally they stay content. Take this time to capture their hands and teeny toes!! Their little belly button stub and their folded ears. Anything you want to remember!! Snap a photo of it!! A good idea would be to sit down before baby comes and make a list of things you don’t want to forget. Hop on Pinterest, look up some fresh48 images and see what you like!

Capturing Mom & Dad With Baby

Don’t forget to capture yourself with your little one. Sit by the window and have dad snap a few shots of you with your sweet little one. Cradle hold them, lay them in your lap and have Dad snap a photo of their head in your hands. And vice versa. Since visiting is limited, you might even ask a nurse to grab a shot of mom and dad together with baby! If all else fails, slap that phone into selfie mode! Some memories are better than no memories. Moms, I know that the postpartum period is hard but make sure to grab a few images of yourself with your little one. In 3 years, I promise you won’t even see how tired or sore you were, all you will see is your precious memories!

Capturing Siblings With Baby

I know that visiting is limited right now but I wanted to touch on this because these tips can also be used at home. I always use a boppy or a pillow to prop baby on and let older siblings hold baby. Typically I have dad with his hand under the boppy or pillow so he is right there close by and can assist if little ones start to fidgety! Always remember to find the best light and put little ones as close to a window as you can get. If you’re capturing them in a rocking chair holding their sibling, turn the rocking chair a little towards the window so the light falls nicely. If you are capturing siblings looking into a bassinet at the hospital, make sure the breaks are on the bassinet. I also use dad for this pose and have him nearby with a foot on the wheel just in case! With newborns you can never be too careful and should always, always, always have a spotter nearby!

Help! I’m in a room with little to no natural light!

This may happen. I know of one room at our local hospital that is SUPER dark because their are trees covering the windows. Don’t be afraid to turn off the lights and see what you can get next to the window. (I have personally photographed several fresh48s in that particular room and they have turned out beautifully!) In the event you are in a room, with little to no natural light don’t fret! Close the blinds or wait for night time and just use the artificial lighting in the room! (In fact, the image below with baby yawning was taken with only the light above the bed on!) As long as your using one light source, you should get good results. All of the images below were taken with only artificial lighting. If the color looks wonky on your images, just convert to black and white!

How do I edit these?

Personally, I love to edit my phone images with an app called VSCO. There are tons of great regular and black and white presets both for free and available for purchase. You can adjust all kinds of settings and it really does an awesome job for a phone app. Another app I love is Remini. Remini is an app that will sharpen images for you. While it’s not perfect (and can’t fix an image that is completely out of focus) it does a great job at sharpening images that look a little fuzzy. It isn’t a free app but I use it constantly on my iPhone photos! My sweet friend Erin of Erin Kirkland Photography is also offering editing services. If you take your images on a DSLR, shoot her a message!

I know the thought of photographing your own fresh48 is daunting but I promise you can do it!!! As you can see, the most important thing to remember is your lighting! If you can find good light, you can get results. I hope these tips help. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Facebook!!!

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