Newborn Photography Tips: How to Photograph Babies

September 25, 2023

Are you a new parent eager to capture those precious moments with your newborn? Look no further! This article will provide you with essential tips and tricks for taking stunning photographs of your little one. From choosing the right lighting to capturing those adorable expressions, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create lasting memories of this special time in your baby’s life. Get ready to unlock your inner photographer and capture those fleeting moments of joy, love, and innocence forever.


Preparing for a newborn photography session is essential to create a comfortable environment for both the baby and the photographer. Creating a comfortable environment involves ensuring the room is at an appropriate temperature, around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, to keep the baby warm and cozy throughout the session. It’s also important to have a fan nearby to prevent overheating, as newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature effectively.

Gathering essential props is another important aspect of preparation. This includes items such as blankets, wraps, hats, and headbands that can be used to add depth and variety to the photos. It’s important to have a variety of props in different colors and textures to create visually interesting and diverse images.

Setting up the lighting is crucial for capturing beautiful newborn photos. Natural lighting is often preferred as it creates a soft and flattering glow. Position the baby near a large window or door to allow natural light to illuminate the subject. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause harsh shadows and discomfort for the baby. Additionally, use reflectors or diffusers to control the intensity and direction of the light, ensuring a well-lit and balanced image.


Choosing safe and comfortable poses is paramount when photographing newborns. Safety should always be the top priority during these sessions. Opt for poses that mimic the natural positions and movements of newborns, such as curled up or snuggled poses. Remember that newborns are delicate, so it’s important to handle them gently and with care.

Posing with parents or siblings can add a special touch to newborn photos. This allows for beautiful and heartwarming family moments to be captured. Encourage parents and siblings to interact naturally with the baby, creating a relaxed and authentic atmosphere.

Capturing natural and candid moments is key to creating timeless and heartfelt images. Allow the baby to move and express themselves freely while capturing these fleeting and genuine moments. This can result in some of the most memorable and cherished photographs.


Ensuring the baby’s safety should always be the top priority during a newborn photography session. It is crucial to have a spotter present at all times to provide support and ensure the baby’s safety. This person should be responsible for keeping a close eye on the baby and assisting with posing, if necessary.

Supporting the baby’s head and neck is of utmost importance. Newborns have delicate neck muscles that are not fully developed, so it’s crucial to provide proper support and avoid putting any strain on their necks. Always have your hands supporting the baby’s head and neck during posing.

Avoiding poses that put the baby at risk is essential. Certain poses, such as those that require the baby to be suspended or placed in precarious positions, should be avoided. It’s important to prioritize the baby’s comfort and safety over any desired poses or creative ideas.


Scheduling the session within the first two weeks of the baby’s life is ideal for newborn photography. During this time, babies are typically more sleepy and curl up naturally, making it easier to pose them. They are also less likely to be bothered by clothing changes or being moved around. Scheduling the session early also allows you to capture the fleeting moments of the newborn stage before they quickly grow and change.

Taking advantage of the baby’s sleep patterns is crucial for a successful newborn photography session. Newborns sleep for long periods throughout the day, so it’s important to time the session around their sleep schedule. Take breaks whenever the baby needs to feed or be soothed to ensure their comfort and cooperation during the session.

Considering the ideal time of day for natural lighting is essential for capturing soft and flattering images. Early morning or late afternoon light tends to be the most favorable, as the sun is lower in the sky and creates a beautiful warm glow. Plan your session accordingly to take advantage of these optimal lighting conditions.

Camera Settings

Using the appropriate camera settings can greatly enhance the quality of newborn photos. Using a wide aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider, helps create a shallow depth of field, resulting in a beautifully blurred background that helps to emphasize the baby as the main focus of the image.

Adjusting the ISO for low-light conditions is important to prevent excessive noise or grain in the photos. Start with a lower ISO setting around 200-400 and increase as needed to maintain a well-exposed image in low-light situations.

Setting a fast shutter speed is crucial when photographing newborns, as they can have quick movements or startle easily. Aim for a minimum shutter speed of 1/200s to freeze any sudden movements and ensure sharp images.

Lens Selection

The choice of lens can greatly impact the outcome of newborn photos. Opting for a macro lens can be particularly useful for capturing close-up shots and details, such as tiny fingers or toes. This lens allows for a greater level of detail, showcasing the newborn’s delicate features.

Using a prime lens, such as a 35mm or 50mm, can result in sharp and high-quality images. Prime lenses are known for their exceptional sharpness and ability to capture stunning portraits. They also often have wider apertures, allowing for a shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh.

Considering the focal length is important when selecting a lens for newborn photography. A focal length between 35mm and 85mm is typically recommended as it allows for a pleasing perspective and minimal distortion. Avoid using wide-angle lenses, as they can cause distortion when photographing close-up shots.


Composition plays a vital role in creating visually pleasing newborn photos. Framing the baby with surrounding elements, such as blankets or props, can add depth and interest to the image. Experiment with different positions and angles to find the most visually appealing composition.

Exploring different angles and perspectives can significantly enhance the overall look of newborn photos. Don’t be afraid to get down on the baby’s level or try shooting from above to capture unique and eye-catching images. Be willing to experiment and take multiple shots from different angles to find the most compelling compositions.

Utilizing negative space can create a minimalist and clean look in newborn photos. Negative space refers to the empty space surrounding the subject. By leaving ample empty space around the baby, you can draw attention to their tiny features and create a serene and captivating image.

Posing Aids and Props

Using posing pillows and bean bags can provide essential support and stability during newborn photography sessions. These aids help create safe and comfortable poses by providing a soft surface for the baby to rest on. Ensure that the posing aids are clean, sanitized, and free from any sharp or potentially harmful objects.

Incorporating various textures and fabrics adds visual interest and depth to newborn photos. Experiment with different blankets, wraps, or rugs to create a variety of looks and styles. Soft and cozy fabrics, such as knitted blankets or faux fur, can add a sense of warmth and comfort to the images.

Including sentimental props or items with personal meaning can add a special touch to newborn photos. This could be a favorite childhood toy, a special blanket, or an item that holds sentimental value. These props can help tell a story and create a meaningful connection in the photographs.

Engaging the Baby

Engaging the baby during the photography session is essential to capture their attention and create lively and expressive images. Using toys or noise makers can help grab the baby’s attention and elicit natural reactions and expressions. Choose toys or noise makers that are safe and suitable for newborns.

Using gentle hands-on techniques to soothe the baby is important for creating a calm and relaxed environment. Softly stroking or patting the baby, swaying them gently, or providing a pacifier can help keep them comfortable and content during the session. Ensure that these techniques are gentle and respectful of the baby’s needs and boundaries.

Maintaining patience is key when photographing newborns, as capturing the perfect shot can sometimes require waiting for those fleeting moments. Babies have unpredictable moods and behaviors, so it’s important to be patient and flexible. Be ready to capture those split-second expressions or gestures that make for truly special and authentic photographs.

Editing and Retouching

Editing and retouching newborn photos can help enhance their overall look while maintaining a natural and timeless aesthetic. Applying subtle adjustments, such as adjusting exposure or contrast, can help bring out the details and tones in the image without over-processing.

Removing blemishes or distractions, such as flaky skin or background clutter, can improve the overall appearance of the photo. However, it’s important to maintain a balance and not over-edit to the point where the baby’s natural features are altered or lost.

Maintaining a natural look while enhancing colors and tones is crucial for newborn photos. Newborns often have a soft and delicate skin tone, so it’s important to preserve their natural appearance. Adjusting the colors and tones slightly can help enhance the overall mood and atmosphere of the image while keeping it true to life.

In conclusion, capturing precious moments through newborn photography requires careful preparation, attention to safety, and an understanding of techniques and equipment. Creating a comfortable environment, choosing safe poses, and engaging the baby are essential for capturing genuine and heartwarming images. Remember to prioritize the baby’s safety, be patient, and have fun during the session. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create beautiful and cherished memories for families to treasure for a lifetime.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.
Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

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