The bun’s right out of the oven. You just gave birth! The first few hours in your baby’s life carry lots of priceless milestones. A fresh 48 session specifically captures these moments in your newest family member’s story.

You don’t need too much experience to immortalize every beautiful memory. It doesn’t matter if you just welcomed your bundle of joy or if you’re an amateur shutterbug. You can give photography professionals a run for their money with your own baby first days photoshoot. Follow this simple fresh 48 guide and start snapping those newborn pics right away.

>>Related: Your Newborn Photography Pricing Guide (2020 Prices)

What Is Fresh 48 Photography?

A sleeping newborn baby in hospital - fresh 48
By Jimmy Conover from Unplash

Fresh 48 session is a special time to capture your baby’s first 48 hours instead of a full-on photoshoot while giving birth. This is growing trend in 2020 because some new moms don’t want the extra pressure while taking a full one.

Most photographers will adapt to your lifestyle and hold the shoot at the hospital or at home. You can turn your newborn photoshoot into a bonding experience by documenting your baby’s first meetings with family and friends.

Pro tip: There’s no such thing as too many pictures! From the little one’s first yawns to their first diaper change, every memory is fair game!

What to Wear for Fresh 48 Photos?

Newborn on her mother's shouder - fresh 48
By Echo Grid from Unplash

When it comes to newborn pictures, you’ll find that less is more. The most important part is to capture those one-of-a-kind moments so you can treasure them forever.

Just keep it simple.

1. Outfit

For baby first days shoots, there’s no need for a fancy outfit. You can get really cute results if mom, dad, and the baby just stay comfortable.

The easiest choice is opting to have your newborn wear just a diaper or the hospital blanket. Although, if you have any special outfit in mind or a customized swaddle, go for it!

Got a twin situation? Matching hats embroidered with each baby’s name and printed bodysuits are adorable options.

2. Accessories

A talk between the photographer and parents is a good idea. They can discuss beforehand to agree on any special props and accessories you might want to use.

Some professionals may offer their own flokati, wrap, and headbands.

>>Related: 10+ Adorable Newborn Props for Photography in 2020

Newborn Hospital Photography Gear

People taking pictures of a cute newborn girl
By Jonathan Borba from Unplash

If you choose to be your own first 48 hours photographer, follow these simple rules to get professional results easily.

1. Camera choice

Keep in mind that hospital rooms have limited space and don’t count on optimal lighting conditions. Under these circumstances, the best friends for newborn photographers are full-frame cameras from Nikon and Canon.

2. Technical consideration


Experts recommend using 35 mm with an f1.4 aperture. However, you can go for:

  • 24mm f1.4
  • 24-70mm f2.8
  • 28mm f1.8

In addition, you may also work with a macro lens if you’re planning on taking detail shots.

Camera setting

Remember to keep your ISO between 1600 and 4000. However, don’t hesitate to make it higher for proper exposure. The emotion and priceless moments are always worth some grain, aren’t they?

Newborn Hospital Photography Ideas

1. Sibling Shots

big sister looks at her baby brother - fresh 48
By Naveebird from Freepik

The moment when siblings meet for the first time is so sweet. Thanks to your fresh 48 session you can immortalize this memory and share it with your loved ones.

Try to portray your kids’ reactions to their new baby brother or sister. Capture everything, from ear to ear smiles to little jealousy pouts! If your children are old enough to hold the little one in their arms, let them do it.

Some other options are to have them standing next to the bassinet or sitting down just cuddling with your newborn. Keep it fun and simple, and you’ll get adorable results.

Pro tip: Candids are always a good idea.

2. Baby Alone

black and white newborn - fresh 48
By Jenna Norman from Unplash

Make your baby arrival pictures extra special by:

  • Preparing a shortlist
  • Including any props and customized clothing you’d like to use on your stage 48 photos
  • Taking as many as you want

Pro tip: It’s always better to have extra images so you can calmly choose your favorites later on.

If you’re looking for cute ideas, swaddle baby pictures are very popular. You can personalize them by embroidering the newborn’s name, birth date, and weight on the wrap.

Don’t forget to use a macro lens for close up shots of those cute little toes and fingers.

Always tackle different angles and focal lengths to achieve the desired outcome. You might want to try and shoot overhead to get the baby’s full body in the frame.

Pro tip: Camera flash and babies aren’t a good combination, so shoot these snaps under natural light whenever possible.

3. Dad

dad holding baby
By Volody10 from Freepik

Even when you’ll also take some hospital photos with dad, you might want to leave him for in-home snaps. This will allow him to put his undivided attention on the shoot.

The classic newborn pics with daddy are usually extremely cute due to the contrast of sizes. Try nose to nose or baby’s bum on daddy’s chest shots. Another common idea is to have dad cup his hand underneath the baby’s head.

Pro tip: Not all pictures must be posed. Remember that spontaneous images are always a lot more meaningful.

4. Mom

mom hold her newborn
By Kayla G. from Flickr

If anyone in this world shares an extra special bond with her newborn, it’s mom. Let it show through your fresh 48 pictures by having her snuggle with her tiny bundle of joy.

  • Take photographs of both of them over mom’s shoulder
  • Get close-ups that display her emotions as she holds her little one for the first time at the hospital.

Mom’s first images with her baby are incredibly precious and should reflect how beautiful maternity is.

Pro tip: Just avoid getting the mom’s belly in the frame unless otherwise requested.

5. The Whole Family

whole family with newborn baby
By Michelle Bauer from Flickr

In-hospital newborn photography can include the whole pack as well. Stage picture-perfect moments by having everyone sitting on the hospital bed together.

Other popular options are leaning over the bassinet or looking over the new parent’s shoulders as they hold the baby. These shots often only include parents and siblings.


There are no rules in fresh 48 photography. As long as the hospital allows it, extended family members can be present too.

6. The Scene

baby feet - fresh 48
By Charles Eugene from Unplash

Fresh 48 pictures are also meant to document other significant moments of your baby’s day of birth.

Take snapshots of your newborn being weighed and examined. Capture skin-to-skin time and nursing. Set up pictures that show the date and time. Use your phone, a calendar, or the front page of a newspaper.

Still-life pictures will help you better remember things that become such a blur in these exciting times. Document the whiteboard, the nameplate on the bassinet, and even the entrance to the ward.

Don’t let any memory be left behind.

Pro tip: Get creative! Forget about portraits for a while and take snaps of your surroundings.

Newborn Hospital Photography Tips

Before the Session

1. Prepare yourself

top view newborn in crib
By Jimmy Conover from Unplash

There’s nothing more frustrating than having technical difficulties caused by a lack of preparation. A fresh 48 photoshoot is extremely time-sensitive. Every minute counts, so make sure that the photographer comes equipped.

The night before the session, all batteries should be charged and memory cards wiped out. Get lenses ready and clean, and don’t forget the camera!

Pro tip: Preparation is key to avoid any unnecessary stress.

Well-preparing doesn’t mean to stress yourself out. Hospital newborn photos can be challenging but also very fun.

Pro tip: You can listen to some good songs to clear your mind and relax.

2. Prepare the parents

dad kissing baby - fresh 48
By Javi_indy from Freepik

If you’re going to take photos of someone’s baby’s first days of life, we recommend to address any doubts and expectations beforehand. It’s essential to keep the parents informed, confident, and feeling in control at all times.

Next, the photographer should give an estimate of how long the whole process will last. Usually, it won’t take more than 60 minutes.

It’s always a good idea to show the parents samples of any previous work. This will give them a better sense of what to do or how to pose.

When outlining logistics, every person involved in the shoot has a very special role to fulfill.

  • Mom will usually feed the baby 45 minutes before the shoot.
  • Dad will take care of turning up the heat. The ideal room temperature for a newborn is around 80 degrees so the baby must remain as cozy as possible to avoid any fussy moments.
  • Dad will also help declutter the room and reduce distractions. Remember to keep the setting natural and not make it look too neat.

Pro tip: Keep the hospital’s rules in mind at all times to avoid any inconvenience.

If you want to take your own newborn hospital photos, you’ll have a lot of things to do. So don’t hesitate to enlist some help.

>>Read more: 15+ Newborn Photography Poses Tips to Capture the Perfect Pictures

The Day of the Session

1. Light challenge

sleeping newborn on her mother's hands
By Freepic.diller from Freepik

When photographing your newborn at the hospital, you have to act fast. Natural light changes pretty quickly, and you will want to take advantage of it.

If you’re starting in the morning or afternoon, use the windows to illuminate your portraits. Turn off most lights in the room to avoid overexposed images and white balance issues.

As it starts getting dark during the evening or when facing a low light situation, move closer to the window. Don’t worry about getting some grain. Pop up your ISO and inject some personality into those snapshots.

Heavy flash is not a good idea when photographing your newborn. If the lighting settings are challenging, use a speedlight for softer additional illumination. However, let this be your last resort and try to avail of other lighting sources when possible.

2. Focus on emotion

mom holding her baby
Source: Freepik

Newborn photo sessions can get very emotional. Focus on capturing the mood, the newness, and magic of welcoming your new baby boy or girl.

Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s OK. Enjoy the moment and don’t worry too much about striking a pose.

3. Mix approaches

newborn and her big brother and mommy - fresh 48
Source: Freepik

The family, along with the photographer, will decide the best approach. You can mix between lifestyle and documentary to get a wider selection of images.

As you walk into the room, capture every new happening. Sometimes the seemingly most insignificant details produce the most magnificent photos.

If this is the first fresh 48 photography session for inexperienced parents, the photographer should guide them. Make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Acting natural and spontaneous will give great material to the photoshoot. Then, the expert’s job is to be observant and capture these precious moments that would otherwise be gone.

4. Move around

big brother look at his sister in a room
By Gabriel Tovar from Unplash

Try to explore different angles by moving around.

  • Get close to register even the tiniest details.
  • Step backward to get the whole scene.
  • Stay in the middle for traditional portraits.
  • Capture things at the eye level, above and even down low.
  • Apply layer, leading lines and frames also.
  • Switch between lenses to create astonishing images that will wow the family.

In all this moving back and forth, you’ll notice extra elements that are easy to overlook. Go above and beyond to get magazine-worthy shots.

Pro tip: A good photographer needs to talk to the parents during the session. They will feel a lot more comfortable when knowing why you move too close or too far.

5. Why not videos?

dad looking at his newborn
By Danielle MacInnes from Unplash

Pictures are not the only resource you have to immortalize this happy event. You could consider switching back and forth between photography and video.

Take 10 to 15 seconds long clips to further capture all the sweetest and most touching moments. Shooting video will definitely make your fresh 48 session something to remember.

Pro tip: Take into account the parent’s use of social media. Create loops and slideshows to share through several platforms.

After the Session

mom holding her newborn
By Zach Lucero from Unplash

1. Editing

Editing style can vary depending on the family’s taste and personality. It should also have the photographer’s input.

The recommended editing approach for fresh 48 newborn baby pics is to keep it clean and timeless. Use true-to-life colors and apply moderate contrast. Your pictures will look less outdated as the years go by.

It’s OK to add some fun and trendy features to a couple of your captures, but not all. Another classic suggestion is to have some black&white or sepia snaps to show some emotion.

2. Image delivery

The new parents can expect the files of their favorite pictures. The usual waiting time is one or two days from their fresh 48 session.

Once the full gallery is adequately formatted and edited, you’ll get the high-resolution digital images. The most common way of getting your files is via link or email.

The whole process from start to finish shouldn’t take longer than two weeks. After this short wait, you’ll receive over 50 beautiful professional images. Get ready to share snaps of your little one’s first moments with friends and family.


In the first hours of your infant’s life, everything changes so fast. Every minute is a new beautiful memory to cherish.

  • The sweet baby gaze
  • Your newborn’s cute yawns
  • Counting fingers and toes

You won’t want to miss a single thing!

Keep a visual record of these fleeting moments. A fresh 48 session will make it possible for you to hold onto important mementos. Your baby’s first days are a perfect excuse to bond with the family.

Consider capturing these moments as a DIY project. Follow these simple newborn hospital photography tips and snap away!

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