Newborn Photography Setup: Arranging the Perfect Shot

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

Newborn photography setup

Newborn Photography Setup: Arranging the Perfect Shot

As a professional working in a cozy newborn photography studio, I understand the unique challenges and joys of capturing those precious first moments. Whether you’re setting up a professional studio or thinking about doing a DIY newborn photoshoot at home, this guide will provide you with detailed insights and tips to achieve stunning results.

From selecting the perfect lens for newborn photography to choosing the right props and lighting setup, every detail matters. We’ll dive into the nuances of mastering newborn photography angles, highlighting the best techniques for using props, and evoking emotions through your photos. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to expand your photography business or a parent wanting to capture beautiful DIY newborn photos, these insights will help you create perfect newborn pictures.

Role & Benefits of Natural Light

Natural light is a newborn photographer’s best friend. It brings out the softness and delicacy of a newborn’s skin, creating a gentle, warm atmosphere that artificial light often struggles to replicate. When you photograph newborns using natural light, you capture their purity and innocence in a way that feels authentic and timeless. Unlike harsh light, which can create unflattering shadows and highlights, soft light diffused through a window or a sheer curtain wraps around a baby’s tiny features, highlighting their adorable expressions and details without overwhelming them.

Tips for Maximizing Natural Light

Maximizing natural light in your photography studio is crucial for creating those dreamy, ethereal newborn photos. In my studio, I always make sure to shoot near large windows where plenty of natural light floods in. Here’s a trick: use sheer white curtains to diffuse the light, softening it even further. This setup prevents any harsh light from falling directly on the baby, which can create unwanted shadows and highlights.

Additionally, I like to schedule my newborn photography sessions mid-morning, around 10 am or 11 am, when the light is bright but not too harsh. This timing ensures enough light without the intensity that can occur later in the day.

Positioning props and backdrops to make the most of natural light is an art in itself. I arrange my props and backdrops in a way that the light falls naturally on the baby’s face, creating a soft, even glow. For example, placing the baby’s head towards the window can help illuminate their face, bringing out their features beautifully. Remember, the goal is to highlight the baby, not the props, so always adjust your setup to keep the newborn as the focal point.

See my guide on mastering newborn photography lighting here

Managing Shadows and Highlights

Managing shadows and highlights effectively can make a significant difference in the quality of your newborn photos. Shadows add depth and dimension, but too much can obscure the baby’s features. To avoid this, I use reflectors or white boards to bounce light back onto the baby, filling in any shadows and creating a more balanced exposure. This technique ensures that even the tiniest details, like their eyelashes or the curve of their lips, are visible.

When working with natural light, it’s also important to move around your light source. If the light is coming from a window, consider shooting from different angles to see how the light falls on the baby and the props. Sometimes, a slight adjustment in your position can eliminate harsh shadows and bring out the best in your subject.

Selecting the Right Props and Accessories

Variety and Selection

Props and accessories are essential tools in creating captivating and unique newborn portraits. In my photography studio, I have an extensive collection of props, wraps, bonnets, and accessories, each carefully selected for their quality and aesthetic appeal. From rustic baskets and fluffy blankets to delicate headbands and cute little outfits, having a variety of props allows me to tailor each session to the family’s preferences and the baby’s personality.

Using props in newborn photography is not just about decoration, it’s about enhancing the overall composition of the photo. Each prop should complement the baby, not overshadow them. For example, a simple, soft blanket can add texture and warmth to a portrait without drawing attention away from the baby’s serene expression.

Tailoring Props to Each Session

Every newborn session is unique, and I love to personalize each one to create a truly special experience. When choosing props for a session, I consider the colors, textures, and themes that will best suit the baby and their family. For instance, if the family prefers a more natural and organic style, I’ll use neutral tones and earthy materials like wooden bowls and knitted wraps. On the other hand, for a more whimsical look, I might opt for pastel colors and delicate lace.

Tailoring props also involves thinking about the baby’s comfort and safety. I always make sure that the props are soft, clean, and secure. For example, when using a basket, I’ll line it with a cozy blanket and ensure it’s sturdy enough to support the baby. This attention to detail helps create a safe and inviting environment for the baby, which is crucial for a successful photo shoot.

See my guide on picking clothes for newborn photoshoot sessions.

Cleanliness and Safety

Newborn safety is my top priority, and maintaining a clean and sanitized studio is a fundamental part of that commitment. Babies have delicate immune systems, and ensuring a hygienic environment is essential to protect their health. In my Los Angeles photography studio, every prop, blanket, and accessory is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before and after each session. This practice not only keeps the baby safe but also gives parents peace of mind, knowing that their little one is in a clean and secure setting.

Safety Measures for Handling Newborns

Handling newborns requires special training and a gentle touch. As a professional newborn photographer, I’ve undergone extensive training in newborn safety and posing. It’s important to always support the baby’s head and neck, as they are very fragile in the early days. I use a variety of poses that keep the baby comfortable and secure, avoiding any positions that could strain their little bodies.

Safety measures also extend to the props and equipment. I make sure that all props are stable and free from any sharp edges. For example, when using a prop like a basket or a bowl, I ensure it’s placed on a sturdy surface and often have a spotter (an assistant or parent) close by to ensure the baby’s safety at all times. Additionally, I keep the studio warm to help the baby stay comfortable and sleepy during the session.

Mastering Newborn Photography Angles

When it comes to newborn photography, mastering the angles is key to capturing the perfect shot. The angle at which you photograph a newborn can dramatically affect the mood and storytelling of the image. For instance, a slightly higher angle can create a feeling of protection and tenderness, while a lower angle can emphasize the newborn’s tiny yet significant presence. Trying multiple angles during a session is essential because each angle can highlight different aspects of the baby’s features, expressions, and the overall composition of the photograph. 

Capturing the Best Angles for Emotional Impact

Top-Down Perspective

The top-down perspective is a classic and beloved angle in newborn photography. This angle involves positioning your camera directly above the baby, looking down. Here’s why it works so well: it captures the entire scene, including the baby’s face, body layout, and the surrounding props, creating a cohesive and visually pleasing composition.

When using this angle, ensure that the baby is comfortably posed on a soft, padded surface. For instance, laying the baby on a plush blanket or a soft fur rug not only adds texture to the photo but also keeps the baby cozy and relaxed. This angle is perfect for capturing those adorable, peaceful sleeping expressions. A little tip: use a wide lens to ensure you capture enough of the scene without having to be too high above the baby. This allows you to stay close, providing a sense of intimacy and connection.

Additionally, from this perspective, you can focus on the baby’s delicate details, such as their tiny hands, feet, and the soft curls of their hair. It’s also a great angle for incorporating props like a cute bonnet or a wrap, ensuring they enhance rather than overpower the baby. 

Side Angles

Side angles are another essential perspective in newborn photography. This angle showcases the baby’s profile, highlighting their delicate facial features and the depth of the props used. It’s a fantastic way to add dimension to your photos, creating a more dynamic and engaging image.

To capture a perfect side angle, position the baby on their side, ensuring they are supported and comfortable. Using a rolled-up blanket or a small posing pillow can help keep the baby in place. 

When shooting from the side, pay attention to the background and props. Ensure that they complement the baby without distracting from the main subject. For instance, a simple wooden bowl or a basket can add a rustic charm to the photo, but make sure it doesn’t overshadow the baby. Position your camera at the baby’s eye level to capture their face clearly, and use a narrow depth of field to blur the background slightly, making the baby’s profile the focal point.

A pro tip: play with different heights when shooting side angles. Sometimes, lowering your camera just a bit or raising it slightly can make a significant difference in the final image. Also, watch for the light source; soft light from the side can create beautiful shadows and highlights, again adding depth and dimension to the baby’s features.

See my beginners guide on how to take newborn photos. 

Techniques for Highlighting Newborns with Props

Balancing Props and Focus

Props can add a lot of charm and character to your newborn photography, but the key is to ensure they complement the baby without overshadowing them. The baby should always be the star of the photo. Here are some professional techniques to achieve that perfect balance:

Size and Scale: When choosing props, consider their size relative to the baby. Large props can dwarf a tiny newborn, making them look lost in the scene. Opt for props that are proportionate to the baby’s size. For instance, small wooden crates or baskets work well as they cradle the baby without overwhelming the frame.


Color Coordination: Props should enhance the baby’s natural tones and the overall color scheme of the photo. Soft, neutral colors often work best as they keep the focus on the baby. Avoid overly bright or bold colors that can draw attention away from the newborn. For example, if you’re using a soft beige blanket, a matching bonnet or wrap can create a cohesive, calming look.


Texture and Layers: Adding layers and textures can make your photos more visually interesting. Use soft fabrics, knitted blankets, and delicate lace to create depth. The texture should be gentle and pleasing, enhancing the baby’s delicate skin. Place a fluffy blanket inside a rustic basket to create a cozy nest that highlights the baby’s softness.


Minimalism is Key: Sometimes, less is more. A simple setup with just one or two well-chosen props can be incredibly effective. For example, a baby swaddled in a plain muslin wrap lying on a simple wooden bowl can create a timeless and elegant portrait. The simplicity directs all attention to the baby’s peaceful expression.


See my guide on newborn photography styling, textures and color palettes here

Enhancing Props Through Camera Angles

Low Angles for Depth: Shooting from a low angle can give depth to the props while keeping the baby as the focal point. For instance, if the baby is nestled in a vintage crate, a low angle can show the texture of the wood and the cozy setup inside. This angle also gives a sense of grandeur to the small setup, making the baby appear more precious.


Top-Down for Full Context: A top-down angle is perfect for capturing the entire scene, including all the props and the baby. This perspective is ideal when you have a beautiful arrangement, such as the baby lying on a soft rug with flowers or small toys around. It allows you to show all elements in harmony, ensuring the baby remains the center of attention.


45-Degree Angle for Balance: Shooting at a 45-degree angle can balance the props and the baby, giving a sense of depth and perspective. This angle works well when the baby is placed in a prop like a bowl or a basket. You can capture the baby’s face and upper body while also showcasing the prop’s design and texture. This angle also allows you to play with light and shadows effectively.


Close-Ups for Detail: Don’t hesitate to get close and capture the details. A close-up shot of the baby’s tiny feet peeking out of a knitted wrap or their hand gripping a soft toy can be incredibly charming. These close-ups are not just about the props but how the baby interacts with them, adding a personal touch to the photo.


See 21 creative newborn photo shoot ideas here

Example Shots

Baby in a Basket: Place a cozy blanket inside a wicker basket and position the baby comfortably. Use a 45-degree angle to capture the baby’s face and the basket’s texture. This angle allows you to see the baby’s serene expression while showcasing the rustic charm of the basket. Use natural light from a nearby window to add a soft glow, avoiding harsh light that might create strong shadows.


Baby on a Wooden Bed: For a baby posed on a small wooden bed prop, a low angle can be very effective. Position the camera slightly below the baby’s eye level, focusing on their face and the front edge of the bed. This creates a sense of depth, making the bed appear more prominent while keeping the baby as the focal point. Soft, side lighting will enhance the textures and create gentle shadows, adding depth to the image.


Simple Wrap and Bonnet: Sometimes, simplicity speaks volumes. Swaddle the baby in a soft, neutral-colored wrap and place a matching bonnet on their head. Use a top-down angle to capture the baby lying on a textured rug. This perspective will highlight the baby’s peacefulness and the softness of the fabrics, creating a timeless and serene portrait.


See 10 cutest newborn photoshoot ideas to try! 

Balancing Props and Focus: Techniques to Use Props Effectively

Props are an essential part of newborn photography, adding context and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your images. However, the key to using props effectively is to ensure they complement, rather than overshadow, the newborn. Here are some advanced techniques to master this balance:

Proportional Props: Always choose props that are proportional to the size of the baby. Overly large props can make the baby look even smaller and can distract. For example, a tiny wicker basket is perfect for holding a sleeping baby snugly, creating a warm and inviting scene without dominating the frame.


Color Harmony: The colors of your props should harmonize with the baby’s skin tones and the overall theme of the session. Neutral tones like creams, soft pastels, and earthy colors often work best as they don’t compete for attention. For a baby with a fair complexion, soft pinks or light blues can add a gentle touch. For babies with darker skin tones, warm colors like creams and browns can create a beautiful contrast.


Textural Layers: Adding layers of texture can bring depth and interest to your images. Soft fabrics, knitted blankets, and delicate lace can provide a tactile element that enhances the photo’s visual appeal. For instance, layering a plush blanket inside a wooden bowl not only keeps the baby comfortable but also adds a touch of rustic charm.


Minimalist Approach: Sometimes when you take newborn photos, less is more. A minimalist setup with just a few carefully chosen props can make a powerful statement. For example, a baby swaddled in a simple muslin wrap, lying on a plain white backdrop, can create a pure, serene image that highlights the baby’s peacefulness.
 

See my minimalistic white portfolio here. 

Practical Tips for Newborn Photographers

To create stunning newborn portraits, having the right equipment is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive list of the essential tools and setups that every newborn photographer should consider:

Camera and Lenses: A high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera is a must. These cameras offer the flexibility and control needed to capture the delicate details of newborns. For lenses, a 50mm or 85mm prime lens is ideal. These lenses provide sharp focus and a beautiful bokeh effect, making the baby stand out against a softly blurred background. A macro lens is also useful for capturing close-up shots of tiny hands, feet, and facial features.


Reflectors and Diffusers: These are essential for managing shadows and highlights. Reflectors bounce light back onto the baby, filling in shadows and creating a more even exposure. Diffusers help soften harsh light, ensuring a gentle glow on the baby’s skin.


Props and Backdrops: A variety of props and backdrops can enhance your newborn photoshoots. From knitted blankets and soft wraps to wooden bowls and vintage crates, having a diverse collection allows you to create unique setups tailored to each session. Make sure all props are clean and safe for newborns.


Posing Tools: Beanbags, posing pillows, and supports are essential for safely positioning the baby. These tools help you achieve those adorable, posed newborn shots while ensuring the baby is comfortable and secure.


Noise Machines and Shushers: Keeping a baby calm during a session can be challenging. A baby shusher or a white noise machine can help soothe a fussy baby, creating a peaceful environment conducive to taking photos.


Capture Expressions and Details: Be patient and wait for those magical moments when the baby smiles or makes an adorable expression. Use a macro lens to capture close-up details like tiny fingers, toes, and eyelashes. These intimate shots add depth and emotion to the session, creating treasured memories for the parents.


Ramina Magid - Newborn Baby Photographer Los Angeles

See my newborn photography portfolio here, my reviews here and contact me to plan a session that’s just right for your new family! I also offer full day newborn photography mentoring for photographers

My Los Angeles photography studio is located at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035.

Conclusion

Newborn photography is a beautiful blend of technical skill, artistic vision, and deep empathy. As a newborn photographer, I know first hand that each newborn photo shoot is an opportunity to capture the fleeting moments of a baby’s early days, creating lasting memories for families. Whether you’re working in a professional newborn photography studio or setting up a DIY newborn photoshoot at home, the tips and techniques shared in this guide will help you achieve stunning results.

Remember, the key to successful newborn photography lies in the details: the soft lighting that enhances the baby’s delicate features, the carefully chosen props that add charm without overpowering the subject, and the thoughtful angles that evoke emotion. By mastering these elements, you can create a diverse newborn portfolio that showcases your style of newborn photography, from posed newborn photography to lifestyle newborn photography.

As you continue to develop your skills, don’t forget the importance of patience, safety, and communication with the families you work with. Whether you’re conducting home newborn sessions or working in a studio space, these practices will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. For those looking to start or grow their photography business, investing in the right equipment and continually learning through photography classes and workshops is crucial. And for parents, creating beautiful DIY newborn photos at home can be a rewarding way to capture your baby’s first days.

Ultimately, newborn photography is about celebrating life and capturing the purest expressions of love and joy. With these detailed tips and insights, you’re well on your way to creating perfect newborn photos that will be cherished for generations. 

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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
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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.