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Newborn pictures are something we cherish forever, but right now it’s tough to have a photographer take them! We talked to a pro newborn photographer to get the tips and apps you need to know to recreate at least some of the magic at home.

“That newborn phase is so short, you know? So you want to document those tiny little toes and their hair and their eyelashes,” said Jessica Sharrah, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But, because of COVID-19, she isn’t able to get professional pictures taken of her newborn.

Jessica Sharrah and her newborn, Cosette

When she had her first child, Jessica used photography couple Matt and Jess Cramer, who have been taking first day pics since 2010.

“It’s such a fleeting time in a baby’s life that it’s special to capture that… those little toes, that little face,” said Jess Cramer who acts as a baby-whisperer while husband Matt snaps the pics.

The couple has been forced to halt photoshoots, at least for now.

Matt and Jess Cramer
Matt Cramer Photography

Their first bit of advice: Safety first!

“When photographing a newborn, the most important thing to do is use common sense. Don’t put your baby in any position that is unsafe,” said Matt.

In other words, don’t attempt the pictures you see on Pinterest.

Next, make sure your baby is comfy and cozy.

“Plan your photos right after … a full feeding and … put a nice swaddle on your baby like they probably showed you at the hospital. You can also put on some white noise, whether its a womb sound or a shusher

Next comes their DIY lighting secret: you can use a shower curtain to diffuse harsh light.

“It might knock down the light a little bit, but your camera can adjust for it and you see the shadows soften quite a bit,” explained Matt.

Finally, don’t forget close up shots of those tiny little hands and feet!

Matt Cramer Photography

When it comes time to edit, Matt suggests apps including TouchRetouch and Snapseed, which is free on iOS and Android.

“It’s everything about celebrating that little life that you just brought into the world,” concluded Sharrah.

Matt and Jess also told us they’re using FaceTime to guide clients as they shoot their own pics, then they get the original files for some professional editing. Here’s the photo that Jessica was able to take of her newborn after some editing.

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