A First 48 photography session is the photos you capture in the first forty-eight hours of an infant's life. It can include images of the baby, parents, family, friends, etc. whether it's a hospital setting, birthing center, or home birth.
Personally, the first 48 hours after I had given birth was a complete blur. I felt like I had been hit by a dump truck and then introduced to a pristine new human who I was expected to keep alive.
Needless to say, I wasn't in the best shape to come up with creative photoshoot ideas, yet I definitely wanted to capture this epic life-changing event. So I've partnered with Minted (they make the most stunning birth announcement) and scoured a variety of sources to find the best ideas for capturing amazing photos in the hospital in the 48 hours after you've had a baby – the 'fresh 48'.
I've tried to find ideas that aren't too tricky or dependent on props and can be captured with your phone. Here's a list along with photo examples below.
• Pre-baby details: parking lot, room, view from room, hallway signs or room sign, equipment around, etc.
• Baby's arrival
• Photo as a family close up and from a distance
• Parents together in background with baby in the foreground
• Birth parent holding baby close up and from a distance
• Birth parent holding baby shot over their shoulder
• Partner holding baby close up
• Partner holding baby with birth parent in background
• Nurse with baby (ask before you take a photo - this isn't the time to get arrested)
• Baby in cot, wrapped in blanket, and unwrapped on bed
• Baby details: ears, fingers, toes, 'fuzz', top of head
• Birth information card with baby, signs
• Sibling meeting baby
• Family and friends meeting baby
• Family group photo
• Going home outfit, bundled in car seat, leaving hospital
There is often a lot of waiting when you're in labor. So if your partner finds some downtime, it's a great opportunity to take some pictures to create a digital time capsule. A clock on the wall when you arrived, what the room looked like, or even the parking lot will be weirdly interesting in a few decades.
They are here!! This is a flurry of activity, adrenaline and emotion so do worry too much about capturing it all unless you have a third party (like an awesome birth photographer) or a partner who likes to do something in high-energy situations.
Note: Be mindful that the medical staff's first order of business is making sure everyone is okay so stay out of their way. What is a life-altering event for you is a Tuesday for them so keep that in mind.
If you have a person with you who is willing to take a picture (or you've booked a fresh 48 session with a photographer) this is a great time to capture a shot with you, your partner, and the baby.
Baby with Birth Parent
Okay, this is an important shot. I don't care if you think you look puffy, sweaty, gross, or broken, if you have gotten a person out of your body make sure to take a ton of photos to document it. Take shots from above, straight on, from over the shoulder and from any other possible angle you can think of. If you don't like them now, treat them like a time capsule and just tuck them away. Odds are you'll love looking at them down the road.
Baby with Partner
Take advantage of any natural light in the room and take some photos of your partner and the baby in a few spots. Play around with angles and depth of focus and, if you're using a phone, use the portrait setting.
Baby in Bed
Pro photographers often capture amazing overhead shots of babies in their hospital bassinets but you might not feel like teetering on a chair over your infant right after giving birth (although, I suppose you are in a hospital if you wipe out). Again, use the natural light in the room if you can and take a few shots from the bottom, the top, and the side. Capturing a staff (with permission of course) makes for a beautiful photo too.
Try to snap a few shots of the baby wrapped up (often in the iconic hospital blanket). You can have someone hold them freestyle in front of a nice, clean wall with natural light, in their bassinet or in a little bundle on the hospital bed.
There is something extra awesome about babies' little string bean legs, peach fuzz bodies or little drum bellies. Feel free to wait until you get home for this one but definitely make sure you get those shots.
If you're taking photos yourself, keep 'far', 'here' and 'close' in mind. "Far" as in the full hospital room with the bed, baby, windows, etc. all in frame. 'Here' as in parents holding the baby or the baby in their bassinet. 'Close' as in the breathtakingly beautiful photos of fingers, toes, tiny feet, precious lips and fuzzy heads. Take a billon shots. A billion!
Baby Signs and Birth Details
Whether it's a custom tag, a letterboard, a 'hello' my name is sticker or the card on your baby's bassinet, snap a pic of it with your baby. Etsy has some beautiful custom name tags and badges you can fill out as a keepsake.
Meeting Siblings for the First Time
Even if it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped, be sure to have someone capture the meeting of siblings – it will either be a Hallmark movie moment or a great story for the dinner table in 20 years. Both are totally cool. Here's a great post with 4 Tips For Introducing a Toddler to a New Sibling to help the greeting go smoothly.
Meeting Friends, Family and Grandparents for the First Time
I felt like I was holding it together pretty well with this post until I got to this first image. The caption starts with "Grace meet Grace" and I just lost it and got all misty. There is something extra magical when the people you love get to meet your baby.
Going Home and Leaving the Hospital
Be sure to snap a few pics on your way out. Going home outfits, packed up in your car seat, walking down the hall, getting loaded into the car, etc. are all fun pictures to take.