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Tips for Getting the Best Newborn Photo

A generation ago, newborn pictures all looked the same, with the exception of the baby's face — what you could see of it. A hurriedly snapped picture of the blotchy-faced newborn, tightly wrapped in a blanket, was what you got. The pictures recorded the arrival, but originality and charm had no place in the finished product. If you want a more memorable keepsake, you need to do some prep work ahead of time.

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Setting the Stage

While you can simply plop your baby in his car seat and start snapping, hoping that you'll get a photo worthy of a birth announcement, you'll have a better chance of success if you plan your setting. Consider waiting a few weeks before trying for the perfect shot, a "New York Daily News" article suggests. The swelling from birth will have subsided, and his color tone will be more natural. Decide whether you want a "baby only" shot or one that includes siblings, pets, parents, teddy bears or other objects. Choose the type of lighting you want; natural lighting avoids use of the flash, which can startle the baby.

Black and White Versus Color

Black and white baby photos can soften your pictures and erase some of the blemishes and imperfections that often affect newborn skin. They also bring an innocence and simplicity that suits your subject. If you do photograph in color, desaturate the colors to create a soft, pastel look that complements and softens your shots.

Determining the Details

Decide what type of look you're going for. Do you want a mystical, contemplative other-worldly sort of portrait, or are you hoping to capture a grin or belly laugh? Getting down low and close to your baby's face can capture the wonder of a newborn expression. Taking pictures of him nursing allows for a more upright position and could capture some comical expressions. Consider focusing on a certain body part, such as a hand, foot, ear or even a little tush.

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Dressing for Success

Naked baby shots have an endearing quality, but your teenager will probably hate you for them. Go instead for the near-naked look, with private parts hidden under tucked-up legs. If you're dressing your baby, choose clothing that complements his complexion and that don't distract from your primary object -- your baby. Pick soft pastel colors rather than loud hues that can overwhelm the baby in the picture. Patterns can also draw the eye away from your main subject, the "New York Daily News" cautions.

Image via Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

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