How to Take Newborn Photos [Beginners Guide]

By Ramina Magid – Newborn Photography Studio in Los Angeles, CA

how to take newborn photos

How to Take Newborn Photos [Beginners Guide]

As a professional newborn photographer with years of experience, I’m excited to share essential tips that will help you capture those beautiful, heart-melting shots of your newborn. Whether you’ve just brought your little one home from the hospital wondering how to take newborn photos or you’re a photographer keen to enhance your skills, this guide is packed with practical advice for taking stunning baby photos.

Photographing newborns is an art that captures the fleeting moments of new life, the intricate details, and the profound emotions within family interactions. Whether you’re aiming to conduct a DIY photoshoot at home, seeking professional-quality photos, or simply documenting everyday moments with your newborn, you’ll find invaluable insights here.

Understanding the Best Time to Take Newborn Photos

Capturing the best newborn shots is all about timing. The best period for newborn photography is within the first two weeks of birth. Why so soon? During these early days, newborns sleep a lot and curl up naturally into those sweet, dreamy poses that everyone adores. They’re also generally more cooperative before they begin to explore the wide world of movement.

As for the best time of day, it’s all about your baby’s mood and the natural light. I find that mid-morning or early afternoon is ideal. This is usually after a feed when babies are most likely to be sleepy and content, and when the natural light is beautifully diffused yet bright enough for photos. As a photographer, learning your baby’s schedule can help immensely in planning the session. Remember, every baby is unique, and flexibility is key!

See my full guide on the best time to schedule a newborn sessions with a Los Angeles photographer here

Setting Up Your Space for a Newborn Session 

While some parents prefer the familiarity of their own home, booking a professional studio session can alleviate much of the stress associated with setup and logistics. Studios are specifically designed for photography and typically come equipped with props, backdrops, and, importantly, controlled lighting conditions. However, if you’re leaning toward a home session, here’s how to make it work with natural light:

At home: Find a room with ample natural light. You don’t need to stick just by the window—think outside the box. Maybe there’s a spot where light spills across the floor in the late morning, creating a soft, warm area perfect for placing a comfortable, padded basket or a plush blanket for your baby to lie on. 

In a studio: As a professional newborn photographer, I make sure that the studio is prepped and ready with the heating slightly higher than normal to keep the baby comfortable. For natural light, I use large windows that allow a generous amount of soft light to filter through, which can be diffused further to mimic a cloudy day for that perfect soft glow on your baby’s skin. 

Remember, whether it’s a dim corner of a nursery or a well-lit studio, it’s all about how you use the light to create beautiful photos of your newborn. See perfecting your newborn techniques here for more insights.

Equipment Essentials for Professional Newborn Photography

When you’re gearing up to capture those beautiful newborn pictures, the right equipment can make a world of difference on your newborn photoshoots. From the camera you choose to the way you utilize light, every detail counts. Let’s dive into how to select the perfect gear for creating stunning, soft, and detailed photos of your sweet little one.

Choosing the Right Camera and Lens

Picking the right camera and lens for newborn photography isn’t about having the most expensive gear, but rather choosing tools that enhance your ability to capture delicate details and soft textures. When selecting a camera, look for one that performs well in low light and has a good dynamic range to handle the subtleties of newborn skin tones. A full-frame camera is typically ideal due to its larger sensor size, which provides richer detail and better performance under varied lighting conditions.

When it comes to lenses, a prime lens is your best friend in newborn photography. Why? Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, which means they don’t zoom, but they compensate with sharper and higher quality images. They usually have wider apertures, which allow more light to hit the sensor, perfect for creating that dreamy, blurred background effect (bokeh) that makes your newborn photos look magical. An 85mm or 50mm prime lens is fantastic for portraits as they help keep baby’s proportions accurate and flattering.

Natural Light for Beautiful Lifestyle Newborn Baby Photos

While I’ve mentioned the importance of natural light, let’s go a bit deeper into how to sculpt it to your advantage to create those beautiful newborn photographs. The key to mastering natural light isn’t just about finding any window but understanding how the light changes throughout the day and how it interacts with your space.

Positioning your setup near a window is a start, but consider the quality of light you’re working with. North-facing windows are a gem because they provide consistent, indirect light throughout the day, giving you a soft illumination that’s ideal for newborn sessions. If you’re working with east or west-facing windows, timing becomes crucial. Morning light from an east-facing window can be wonderfully gentle and warm, whereas late afternoon light from a west-facing window offers a golden glow that can add a magical touch to your photos.

Beyond just finding the right window, it’s important to manipulate the light to suit your needs. Using light diffusing techniques can soften the light’s intensity. Sheer curtains or a white translucent fabric can be hung over windows that let in too much direct light, creating a softbox effect that diffuses light evenly and mimics the softness of studio lighting. Alternatively, if the light is too low, using a white reflector can help bounce light back onto the subject, filling in shadows and evening out the light distribution.

See 10 benefits of scheduling a studio newborn photography session. 

Mastering Newborn Poses 

Posing a newborn is both an art and a science. As a photographer with extensive experience handling newborns, I’ve refined techniques that ensure each baby is safe, comfortable, and beautifully presented in every photo.

Safe and Comfortable Poses for the Little One 

Ensuring the safety and comfort of your newborn is my top priority. Safe posing is critical, and as a fully trained professional in newborn handling and posing, I adhere strictly to safety guidelines that protect your baby throughout the session.

When posing newborns, it’s crucial to always support the baby’s head and neck. Never force a baby into a pose, instead, follow their natural movements and comfort level. Some of the best poses are the simplest — for instance, the “baby bundle,” where the baby is gently wrapped in a soft swaddle, creating a cozy, secure feeling that often leads to peaceful expressions. Another go-to is the “tummy tuck” pose, where the baby is laid on their belly, hands tucked under the chin. This pose is not only adorable but keeps the baby calm and compact.

Always remember, the baby dictates the pace and poses of the shoot. If a baby seems uncomfortable or restless, it’s time to take a break or try a different position.

The Art of Storytelling Through Newborn Photography

Capturing a newborn’s photos isn’t just about documenting their beginning—it’s about telling their first story. Each newborn photography session is a chance to weave a narrative that captures the essence of the newborn and their emerging place within the family.

As a professional newborn photographer, I aim to add elements that speak to the unique story of each family into each set of photos. Whether it’s the gentle hold of a parent’s hand or a tiny yawn that shows the baby’s budding personality, every detail contributes to the family’s ongoing story.

Incorporating Props and Swaddles 

Props and swaddles play a significant role in newborn photography, but the key is to use them in a way that enhances rather than distracts from the baby. With a vast variety of props, accessories, blankets, wraps, hats, and bonnets at my disposal, I customize each setup to reflect the baby’s and family’s personality.

Choosing the right props involves considering the color palette, textures, and the overall mood you want to convey. Soft, neutral colors often work best as they highlight the baby’s delicate features without overpowering them. Swaddling is an art in itself, used not only for comfort but also to add a layer of texture and warmth to the images. A well-swaddled baby looks snug and serene, which makes for tranquil and beautiful photos. Swaddles should be soft and flexible, allowing for a snug fit that keeps the baby secure without being restrictive.

In newborn photography, every little detail contributes to the safety, beauty, and narrative of the session. By integrating thoughtful props and mastering safe, comfortable poses, we can create stunning, meaningful images that families will cherish for a lifetime.

Techniques for a Smooth Newborn Photoshoot

Achieving a smooth and successful newborn photo shoot requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of a baby’s needs. As someone who specializes in newborn photography, my goal is to ensure that every session is as calm and enjoyable as possible for both the baby and the parents.

Keeping the Baby Comfortable and Secure

One of the most critical aspects of a newborn photoshoot is ensuring the baby remains comfortable and secure throughout the session. I make sure the room is warm—about 75 degrees—since newborns can’t regulate their body temperature like older children and adults. A warm room helps the baby stay sleepy and content.

In addition to warmth, I use white noise machines to mimic the sounds they would hear in the womb. This often helps soothe and keep them asleep even during slight movements for poses. Keep an eye out for signs of discomfort, such as fussing or waking frequently. If a baby seems uncomfortable, it may be necessary to take a break, change the environment, or adjust the room temperature.

Capturing the Perfect Shot

Focusing on tiny details like eyelashes and fingers can transform a simple photo into a captivating image. Using a macro lens is particularly effective for this, as it captures the smallest details sharply, letting the softness of the baby’s skin contrast beautifully with the crispness of the details.

Additionally, shooting from different angles can add variety and personality to your photos. Each angle tells a different story, don’t just stick to eye-level, try shooting from above, from the side, and close up. 

DIY Newborn Photos at Home

For parents looking to take beautiful newborn photos without the professional setup, here are some DIY tips that can help you capture beautiful moments.

Tips for Parents as Photographers

Create a Comfortable Setup: First, choose a room with plenty of natural light, such as near a large window where soft light pours in. Arrange a comfortable space on the floor or a bed with neutral-colored blankets or soft textures. This simple setup not only looks great but also ensures your baby’s comfort and safety.

Optimize Lighting: The best lighting for newborn photography is soft and diffused. If the sunlight is too harsh, diffuse it with sheer curtains or a thin white sheet. This will mimic the soft box effect used in professional photography, giving your baby’s skin a soft glow and reducing shadows.

Engage with Your Baby: Interaction is key to capturing vivid expressions and personality. Talk softly, play gentle music, or lightly tickle your baby to show those adorable smiles. The connection between you and your baby will shine through in the photos, adding warmth and emotion.

Capture Candid Moments: Some of the most compelling images come from candid, unscripted moments. Keep your camera within reach throughout the day to capture natural interactions like feeding, snuggling, or when siblings are gently playing with the baby. These everyday moments are precious and make for powerful photographs.

Use Props and Personal Items: Incorporate meaningful items such as a blanket knitted by a grandparent or a favorite family book. Props should be simple and not overpower the main subjectm\, your baby. Items that have sentimental value add a layer of depth and story to your photographs.

See my masterclass notes on beautiful newborn photography in Los Angeles here.

Additional Insights

Having photographed over 700 newborns, I’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge—not just about getting the perfect shot, but also in navigating the unpredictable. Here are some insights to help you manage your sessions smoothly and elevate your craft.

Common Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

In newborn photography, even the most meticulously planned sessions can face unforeseen challenges. Learning from little mistakes has honed my ability to anticipate and adapt, ensuring each photoshoot runs as smoothly as possible.

One common issue is underestimating the time needed for a session. Newborns require frequent feedings, changes, and comforting. Always allow more time than you think you’ll need so that you never feel rushed. Another typical mishap is not having backup equipment. Always bring extra batteries, memory cards, and even a spare camera if possible. Equipment failure is rare, but being prepared means it won’t derail your shoot.

See my complete guide on what to avoid for the best Los Angeles newborn photography.

To stay prepared for unpredictable moments, keep a mental checklist of essentials: Is the room warm enough? Do you have easy access to all your gear? Is there a comfortable space for parents to relax? Being one step ahead helps manage the natural chaos of working with infants.

Layer your props: Use multiple layers of blankets and fabrics under your main backdrop. This makes it easy to switch out the top layer if it gets soiled, reducing disruption during the shoot. See creative newborn photo shoot ideas

Use a heating pad: Before the baby is placed on the set, warm it slightly with a heating pad, then remove it before laying the baby down. This keeps the surface warm and soothing for the newborn.

Master the “shush-pat” technique: This soothing method works wonders for calming fussy babies. A gentle “shush” sound combined with light patting can mimic the comforting environment of the womb.

Ramina Magid - Newborn Photographer Los Angeles

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, my newborn photography studio also specializes in family photography, cake smash photography and baby photographyI am fully licensed, insured, trained on newborn safety and would be honored to be considered for capturing your family’s special moments. 

See my reviews here and contact me today to schedule your shoot and begin the journey of capturing your family’s precious story in the most beautiful way possible. My Los Angeles photography studio is located in Beverly Hills at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035.

For Photographers

For newborn photographers looking to refine their skills I offer one-on-one private mentorship classes. These focus on everything from technical skills to client interaction and session planning. Booking a private mentorship class with me not only enhances your technique but also enriches your understanding of this delicate art form. 

See more information on my page for photographers here.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a parent looking to take DIY newborn photos or a professional photographer aiming for that classic newborn look, the key is patience and love. The best photos often come when the baby is comfortable and interacting naturally with their environment or family. So take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t forget the little details—they’re what make these photos so precious.

Photographing newborns is more than just a technical skill, it’s a way to document life’s sweetest beginnings and to hold onto memories that, like your little one, will only grow more cherished with time. With the tips and tricks you’ve learned today, and a steady hand at both your camera and swaddling, you’re ready to capture beautiful photos that capture the essence of newborn beauty. 

If you’re seeking to elevate your newborn photography with a professional touch, consider booking a session with me at my Beverly Hills Newborn Photography Studio. Here, every aspect of your newborn’s first photoshoot will be handled with utmost care and professionalism, ensuring you get timeless images that you’ll treasure forever. Visit us to create breathtaking memories in a comfortable, loving environment tailored just for you and your new arrival. 

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ramina magid newborn photography los angeles

Studio Address

1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035, United States

HOURS

Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday – Closed

Ramina Magid Photography is a family, maternity, and newborn photography studio located in Los Angeles, CA, minutes away from Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West LA. Ramina is a Los Angeles newborn photographer, baby photographer, and family photographer. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding cities including Burbank, Brentwood, Pasadena, La Canada, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, West Hollywood, San Marino, Calabasas, San Bernardino, Malibu, Altadena, Covina, Alhambra, Granada Hills, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, and all other communities in Southern California.