Newborn Photography Tips for Parents

There’s something special about newborn babies that only parents understand. Holding your newborn for the first time is a magical experience. But before you know it, they’ll be growing and changing.

Capturing those first weeks on camera preserves the joy of having a newborn forever. But try taking a picture of your newborn, and you’ll learn quickly that newborn photography is tricky. Many parents turn to professional newborn photographers, but this can be expensive and stressful for both baby and parents.

Luckily, with a little know-how and the right equipment, you can take beautiful pictures of your newborn. Check out these newborn photography tips for parents, and you’ll be ready to start snapping pictures!

But, before we discuss these tips, I recommend you read "When Should Newborn Pictures Be Taken" so that you can understand the best time to capture those memorable photos of your newborn.

baby photography tips for parents

Safety First:

First, be sure to choose poses where your newborn’s head and neck are supported. You can get great photos of your baby lying down or swaddled. If you want to snap a few pictures of your babysitting up, use a nursing pillow to support them.

Keep safety in mind when choosing props and taking overhead shots, too. You don’t want to drop anything on your baby accidentally. Even a cell phone falling could hurt a newborn.

Newborn Photography Tips for Parents

Keep the Room Warm:

Warm Newborn babies tend to get cold quickly. A cold baby will not only be uncomfortable and unhappy, but they will also be fussy and hard to photograph.

If you’re photographing your newborn at home, turn up the heat a few hours before your photo session. You can also use a space heater or an electric blanket for a little extra warmth. The higher temp will allow you to take lovely natural pictures of your newborn without clothes or a blanket in the way.

Use White Noise:

Newborns are susceptible to sounds. The movement of lights and props or the click of a camera can disturb a newborn. You don’t want a crying baby to delay your photoshoot or ruin your pictures. 

White noise machines are a great solution if you already have one handy. If not, don’t worry. There are plenty of white noise apps you can download on your phone. That will block out all the extra noise and allow your baby to relax peacefully.

newborn photography checklist for parents

Pick a Few Props Props:

Props are a fun way to get some cute, unique pictures of your newborn. A quick online search can give you tons of ideas for accessories to use in your photos. Many parents and professional photographers use baskets or crates filled with soft materials, for example. 

Decide on just a few props before you start shooting. Remember, taking pictures of a newborn can be time-consuming. Using too many accessories will only prolong your photoshoot and increase your chances of ending up with a fussy baby.

Use Soft, Natural Light:

Newborn photography should be soft and natural. Harsh lighting won’t capture the warm, fuzzy feelings you associate with your baby very well. Natural sunlight will emphasize a newborn’s soft, smooth skin and features perfectly. 

Soft lighting will also keep your baby comfortable throughout your photoshoot. Newborns are susceptible to both sounds and lights, so shining a spotlight on them won’t give you good results. Be sure to turn off your camera’s flash before you start shooting.

newborn photography tutorial

Take Breaks:

Both new mothers and newborn babies will need frequent breaks during a photo session. Newborn babies need to be fed every couple of hours, so a lengthier photo shoot will certainly be interrupted. It’s also essential to take a break when your newborn is fussy or needs to be held. Remember, you’ll have plenty of time to take pictures, and a crying baby won’t make for a great shot.

Keep Outfits Simple:

Some parents choose to dress their newborn up in a complete themed outfit, complete with accessories and all. That makes for cute photos, but it can be challenging to dress up a newborn. Not to mention, if they have an accident or need to be fed, you’ll end up with a mess. 

For those of you who want to dress up your newborn, there are plenty of adorable hats or headbands that will look great in photos and won’t take much time or effort on your part. Plus, you don’t have to worry about feeding or accidents. 

If you choose a full outfit, keep your baby’s comfort in mind when dressing them up. Many of the outfits available for newborn photo shoots are made of thick knitted material. While this is great in pictures, your newborn may get hot if your photo session takes too long.

learn newborn photography

Focus on the Details:

The tiny details are what make newborns and newborn photography so special. Their tiny little fingers and toes, the wrinkles in their skin—these are the things you’ll want to look back on and remember as your baby grows. Photos of your baby with props or cute outfits are great but don’t forget to zoom in and capture these details in some close-up shots. 

A better camera will make this easier, but even with a cellphone, you can get some great detail shots. Try waiting until your baby falls asleep. That’s when they’ll be still, and you can get up close without worrying about them moving around. If you want to purchase a new camera, then read my guide to camera selection. Or else, if you're going to take photos on your cellphone, then there is another post for you - Complete Guide to Newborn Photography Using Just a Smartphone.

Include Family Members:

As described in my post "Shot List for Newborn Baby," don’t forget to include family members in your newborn photography. Of course, the newborn is your focus. But capturing the special moments between your new baby and the rest of your family will give you great pictures, too. If your newborn has older siblings, this is a great time to get some pictures of them together. And don’t forget to take a few pictures of mom and baby together. The newborn stage is a special time for mothers to bond with their children. But too often, Mom is the one behind the camera and not in front of it.

Newborn photography can be tricky, but with these tips, you’ll get some pictures to cherish forever. So break out the camera and get snapping!