There’s something magical about a newborn photoshoots. The teeny tiny fingers and toes, the soft whisps of hair, the delicate curve of the baby’s head resting gently to the side—all these details are parts of the first days of a new baby’s life that parents want to hold onto forever. Capturing new born baby photos is about documenting the beginning of a new chapter, the continuation of a family’s story that began with maternity and now unfolds with a new baby at home from the hospital.
As a new parent or an aspiring photographer, you might find the idea of a newborn shoot a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. We’ve all had those first-time jitters—wondering if the baby will stay still, if the baby photography at home will turn out like the ones we’ve admired, or if we have everything we need. From the first full feeding to the careful placement of the baby on a soft bean bag, each step is a dance—a delicate balance between art and care.
In this guide, I’ll share with you all the things I’ve learned along the way—both the triumphs and the mishaps. If you’d like to learn about newborn photography, this article is for you. I hope these tips and stories will help you capture the new little wonders of the world.
Planning Your Newborn Photography Session: Step-by-Step
Getting ready for a newborn photoshoot can be as fun as the photo shoot itself. You’re setting the stage to capture those first precious moments that will be cherished forever. I always tell new parents, and photographers alike, that when it comes to newborn photography, planning is key.
Select the Photographer: Research and choose a newborn photographer whose style resonates with you and who has a portfolio that matches the vision you have for your baby’s photos.
Book Early: Contact the photographer well before your due date to ensure availability. I recommend scheduling the shoot within the first 14 days after birth.
Discuss the Style: Decide if you prefer posed newborn photography, which is typically done in a studio, or lifestyle newborn photography, which captures more natural and candid moments, often in your home. See my guide on 21 creative newborn photo shoot ideas.
Setting the Scene: Choosing the Right Backdrop and Props
Choosing the right backdrop for your newborn photoshoot is like picking the canvas for a masterpiece. You want something that complements the baby’s delicate features without overpowering them. I’ve found that simple, neutral colors work best—they create a timeless look and keep the focus on the newborn’s tiny details.
As for props, we all know the saying that less is often more. A beautiful swaddle, a couple of soft blankets, and maybe a knitted little hat are all you need. And remember, you can find adorable, baby-safe props on sites like Etsy, which will add a personal touch to your photos.
Consider Props and Themes: Select any props or themes you’d like to incorporate, such as heirlooms, toys, or specific colors, and discuss these with your photographer.
Create a Comfortable Environment: If the shoot is at your home, ensure the space is warm and comfortable. Natural light is ideal for soft, gentle images.
Have a Backup Plan: Newborns are unpredictable, so have a backup plan with your photographer in case the baby is fussy or the timing needs to change.
Timing is Everything: Why Giving Yourself an Extra Hour Matters
If there’s one piece of advice I’d like to give, it’s this: give yourself an extra hour to get ready. Whether it’s a last-minute diaper change or a feeding that took a little longer than expected, having that extra time can be a game-changer. Plus, it helps everyone feel relaxed, and a calm environment is key to a successful newborn session.
Plan the Timing: Newborn sessions usually last 1-2 hours, so plan for a time of day when your baby is usually most content and sleepy, often after a feed.
Feed the Baby Beforehand: A well-fed baby is typically more content and easier to pose, so aim to feed your baby right before the session.
The Secret to Soothing and Posing Newborns
A well-swaddled baby is a happy baby, and happy babies make for the best photos. Swaddling is not just about wrapping your baby snugly, it’s about creating a sense of security for them. Once they’re swaddled, they’re much more likely to sleep through their pose changes, and sleepy babies are the stars of newborn photography.
Capture the Details: Make sure to let your photographer know of any specific shots or details you want to capture, such as tiny hands and feet, or the baby in a special blanket or outfit.
Relax and Be Patient: Newborn photography requires patience, so take your time during the shoot to ensure a calm environment for the baby and the best possible photos.
Essential Gear for Newborn Photoshoots
The gear you choose can make a big difference in newborn photography. It’s not just about having a good camera, it’s also about the accessories that go with it.
Selecting the Perfect Lenses and Camera Settings for Delicate Newborn Photos
When it comes to lenses, a 50mm or 35mm lens can work wonders for close-ups of tiny fingers and toes, while a macro lens can capture details you’d otherwise miss. As for camera settings, I love using a wide aperture to get that soft, dreamy background, while keeping the focus sharp on the baby’s face.
Prop wise,I suggest a beanbag. It’s a simple, versatile tool that allows you to gently prop the baby in a variety of cute poses. Just make sure it’s firm enough to support the baby right, but soft enough to keep the baby comfortable.
Mastering the Newborn Pose
Posing a newborn takes a gentle touch and a bit of creativity. Safety is always the number one priority, so never force a pose if the baby seems uncomfortable.
I recommend simple poses that allow the baby’s natural beauty to shine. A favorite is the ‘tushy up’ pose, with the baby’s bottom up in the air and their head resting on their arms. It’s not only adorable but also a comfortable position for most newborns.
Remember, photographing newborns is about capturing the essence of this new little life. Take your time, be patient, and the beautiful newborn photos will follow. Stay tuned for more detailed tips and tricks in the upcoming sections of this guide.
Lifestyle Newborn Photography with Parents and Siblings
Lifestyle newborn photography captures the interaction between the newborn and their family, creating heartfelt moments. Encourage parents to hold and cuddle their baby, these natural poses are often the most beautiful. See my family photos 101 guide for more in depth tips on preparing for your family session.
Lighting and Composition
Illuminating Your Subject: Natural Light vs. Studio Light in Newborn Photography
When it comes to lighting in newborn photography, I’ve found that nothing compares to the softness of natural light. It wraps around the baby, creating gentle shadows and a warm, inviting atmosphere. If you’re planning a photoshoot at home, consider a room with a large window; the diffused daylight is perfect for highlighting a newborn’s delicate features.
On the other hand, if natural light isn’t available, studio lights can be analternative. They’re adjustable and can mimic the softness of natural light when used with the right diffusers. The key is to create soft shadows that give depth to your photos without being too harsh on the baby’s skin.
Composition: Framing Newborn Photos
Composition is an art form within itself. With newborn photography, it’s all about simplicity. Centering the newborn in the frame works wonders, but don’t be afraid to place them off-center for a more dynamic composition. Using the ‘rule of thirds’ can create a captivating image that draws the viewer’s eye across the photo, telling a story with just a single frame.
Dressing the Star: Tips for a Memorable Baby Photoshoot Wardrobe
Choosing outfits for a baby photoshoot is a delightful process. Soft, pastel colors work beautifully! If the parents are also being photographed, One tip I’ve learned is to have the parents dress in complementary colors. If the baby is in a soft pink swaddle, a mother in a cream or light grey top can create a harmonious image. And if you’re ever in doubt, remember, a white onesie never goes out of style for a baby photoshoot.
When it comes to accessorizing, think of props that have meaning and always ensure any accessory is safe for the baby, clean, and free from small parts. Safety and comfort should always be at the forefront when selecting props/accessories. See more on what to wear for family portraits here.
Comfort Tricks: Keeping the Newborn Soothed Throughout the Photoshoot
Beyond feeding, there are other comfort tricks to keep a newborn soothed. A warm room will keep the baby content, and a gentle shushing sound can work wonders in mimicking the whooshing sounds they heard in the womb. It’s these little soothing techniques that can help a newborn stay sleeping, even when posing on a beanbag.
Newborn Safety During Photoshoots
In newborn photography, safety is paramount. It’s not just about the endearing poses, it’s also about how we get there. Never place a newborn in an unstable position, and always have a spotter or parent nearby. Remember, some poses you see online are composites, so don’t shoot for something that could put the baby’s safety at risk.
Spotting and Support: The Role of an Assistant in Newborn Photography
Having an assistant can be invaluable during newborn sessions. They can help ensure the baby is secure, assist with props, and even help with the smooth transition from one pose to another. An assistant is also there to step in if the baby becomes fussy, allowing the photographer to focus on capturing those beautiful newborn moments.
Once the photoshoot wraps up, the next step is to bring out the best in each image through careful editing. The goal is to enhance the photo without taking away from the newborn’s natural beauty. Adjusting exposure and color balance can make a world of difference, ensuring the skin tones are soft and true to life.
Skin Retouching and Color Correction for Newborns
Newborns often have blotchy or flaky skin, and it’s amazing what a little retouching can do. Using editing software like Photoshop, I gently smooth out the skin and add a pinch of color where needed, all while maintaining those unique details that make each baby special. The key is subtlety!
Showcasing Your Work: Creating a Portfolio
Your portfolio is your calling card. It should reflect the style and heart of your work. When selecting images, choose those that tell a story and show a range of poses and expressions. It’s not just about showing off your best shots, but also demonstrating your ability to capture the unique essence of every newborn and the bond they share with their family.
Transforming your passion for newborn photography into a thriving business is entirely possible with the right approach. It begins with understanding your unique value and communicating it clearly to your potential clients. Think about what sets you apart and make sure it shines through in every interaction.
Summary: 10 Quick Tips for Aspiring Newborn Photographers
Embrace the Golden Hour: Schedule photoshoots within the first 5-14 days after birth when newborns are most flexible and sleepy.
Preparation is Key: Have all your gear ready, the studio warm, and a plan in place before the little star arrives.
Safety Above All: Never compromise on safety for a shot; always have a spotter or parent close by during poses.
Feed Before You Shoot: Encourage parents to feed the baby right before the session for a content and sleepy subject.
Master the Swaddle: A good swaddle can soothe a newborn into a serene state, perfect for capturing those peaceful moments.
Lighting Matters: Use soft, natural light where possible for the most flattering shots. If using studio lights, diffuse them to mimic natural light.
Keep It Simple: Use minimal props and soft colors to keep the focus on the baby, not the setup.
Learn Post-Production: Develop skills in editing to gently retouch skin and balance colors, enhancing the natural beauty of the newborn.
Build a Portfolio: Select a variety of images that showcase your best work and the emotional depth of your newborn photography.
Ramina Magid Newborn Photography
At Ramina Magid Photography studio in Los Angeles we are currently open for booking family, baby, cake smash and newborn photo shoot sessions. You can see photoshoot pricing under each portfolio page and our photography reviews here. Our studio is located at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035, United States.
Are you ready to turn the short moments of your newborn’s early days into everlasting memories? Feel free to contact me, I’m here to help you do just that!
I hope you’ve found inspiration and confidence in the newborn photography tips shared. Remember, every newborn shoot is as unique as the new born baby in front of the camera. Capturing new born baby photos is about preserving the ‘once in a lifetime’ moments that fleetingly whisper by as the baby grows. It’s about the gentle touch that positions a baby’s arms and legs into adorable baby poses, the warmth that ensures the baby is comfortable, and the patience parents take to get great shots.