Capturing the earliest years of a child’s life is important, as those are the days that tend to pass in the blink of an eye. Parents who have recently welcomed a new addition to the family might be interested in hiring a photographer to capture these precious moments. If you’re a photographer looking to expand your portfolio, there are some interesting newborn photography  principles to understand before you begin.

Take the best possible pictures for your clients and preserve the memories of an infant by exploring this straightforward tutorial on newborn portraiture. Here are a handful of useful tips that will guide you to the right genre for your newborn photography.

What Is Newborn Photography?

Much like traditional portraiture, taking photos of newborn babies is essentially composing a portrait of a child who is under two weeks old. Since children tend to grow quite fast and parents aren’t always able to stop and appreciate the moments before they pass, this has become quite a popular form of photography in recent years.

Whether you’re a parent looking to snap pictures for your family photo albums or you’re an amateur photographer looking to expand your portfolio, there are plenty of great ideas to explore with this type of portraiture.

When Should Newborn Photos Be Taken?

Though the time right after a child’s birth might feel like a whirlwind of new responsibilities, you definitely want to remember to take the photos right away. To be considered newborn photography, the pictures need to be fresh.

According to professional photographers, the best pics of a newborn usually happen within the first 48 hours after a child has been delivered. If this isn’t possible, you can take the pictures up to twelve days after the delivery for your baby to still retain the fresh and curly newborn look. 

See also: Newborn Hospital Photography 2020: Fresh 48 Session Ideas, Tips and More

Types of Newborn Photos

All newborn portraits are not the same. In fact, there are a few distinct angles you can consider when it comes to photographing infants. Consider your options to find the best route to travel for your own photos.

Posed Shoots

The classic approach to newborn photography is a posed shot. This type of portrait can be taken either in the studio of a professional photographer or at the home of the child’s family.

Due to how susceptible newborns are to viruses, opting to take the pictures in the home is a safer choice. In most cases, the pose that is used is very simple and natural. Props are often incorporated in order to maximize the cuteness factor of the pictures. 

Lifestyle Shoots

Another option that has been growing in popularity in recent years is lifestyle shoots. This option is a bit more casual than posed shoots and takes place “on location,” meaning the house of the family.

Instead of portraits that are staged with props and lights, lifestyle shoots center around capturing the family around the house.

Using the natural lighting available in the space, you can easily capture plenty of amazing pictures of the newborn and family without having to go to much effort. If the natural lighting is scarce, a little manipulation of the scene might be required.

Newborn Photography Tips

Jumping into newborn photography without first considering a few general rules of thumb can be a dangerous move. From safety standards to pose options, there are a few important points to think over before you get started.

These general tips will help you create the best possible situation to capture adorable pics of the little one.

1. Safety First

Above all else, you need to make safety a top priority while taking pictures of a newborn. A child who has only recently emerged from the womb is prone to countless injuries and illnesses.

This means that the environment needs to be completely safe and prepared for the arrival of the child. The space must be sterilized to compensate for the newborn’s developing immune system. Besides, props need to be checked and verified to be safe for babies. Most of this will come down to common-sense decisions that help you put the child’s wellness at the center of the shoot.

2. Prioritize the Newborn’s Comfort

Outside of safety, you also need to think about the comfort of the child. Unlike an adult, a newborn can’t hold a pose for a long period of time.

While newborns are not able to move much on their own, holding still isn’t always possible.

To guarantee the best pictures and make the little one feel safe and provided for, think about how you can create the right atmosphere. Soothing music and gentle lighting can be a great way to make the baby feel at ease and sink into cozy positions that make for amazing photographs.  

3. Have Another Person Nearby

Photography is rarely a one-person job. Whether you’re a parent who wants to take pictures of a precious family member who has recently arrived or a professional who is just starting out with newborn photography, an assistant is a must for your shoot.

A newborn cannot be left alone under any circumstances, especially around hot lights and camera equipment. Having another person in the room during the shoot provides peace of mind when it comes to having another set of eyes on the child when you need to tend to the specifics of the shoot itself.

4. Get the Whole Family Involved

Newborn photography does not have to center exclusively around the baby. In fact, this can be a great excuse to get a new family portrait on the wall.

If you have other children, you can take some pictures with the newborn and the loving siblings welcoming the latest playmate. Whether you keep it small or you bring in grandparents, uncles, and aunts, you should definitely seize this opportunity to get some great new photos of your clan.

5. Posing the Baby

One of the most challenging aspects of photographing babies is finding the right pose. You can’t pose a newborn as freely as an older child or adult, as the baby needs to remain in safe and secure positions.

The easiest pose to explore is the “tummy pose,” where the baby is flat on his or her stomach. Though adorable, it is far from the only pose available. Consult this reference guide on newborn photography poses to feel inspired and understand what is actually possible during your shoot. 

6. Colors of the Shoot 

With a studio picture of a newborn, you don’t need much color in order to draw attention to what matters in the photo. Most photographers and parents prefer to use a neutral background like a white or heathered grey.

You can add a touch of color, typically pink or blue, by placing a single child-safe accessory on the baby. The props you incorporate can also add any colors you might require. If you’re looking for a portrait that fits with current trends, look at softer hues and pastels. 

Equipment Considerations for Baby Photography

gear for newborn photography: a good camera
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Taking an exceptional picture of a newborn is all about having access to the right equipment. While you don’t need the most expensive gear on the market, it helps to have a few essential pieces.

This checklist of must-have items will help you ensure you have all of the accessories required for your venture into newborn photography.

Camera

Though a phone can suffice in a pinch, you really want to have a digital camera on you when you take pictures of a newborn.

A DSLR is the ideal camera to use, as it allows photographers to shoot raw photos that capture the full quality of the image and can be easily transferred and edited later.

Mirrorless cameras are helpful with newborns, as well. This type of camera is less noisy and runs less of a risk of disturbing the child.

Since a camera can break or give out for a number of reasons, be sure to have a backup on you when handling a shoot.

Lights

Photography is built around the idea of manipulating light in order to capture a specific image. This means you definitely need good lights if you’re planning on taking the best pictures.

Natural light is the easiest way around buying expensive gear, but finding a good source of natural light is not always possible.

With newborn children, you want to remember how sensitive the baby’s eyes are to light. If you use a flash, keep it at the lowest setting. Aim all lights away from the child so that there is no direct contact with the eyes. These precautions will make all the difference. 

Lens

A single lens can be all a photographer needs to get some amazing portraits. However, you can get more dynamic images by having a few different lenses available at all times.

While you don’t want to invest a ton in lenses for newborn photography, one or two that help with close-ups and improving depth of field can be a lifesaver. 

Memory Card

In the digital age, there is no need to worry about blowing through all of your film during a photoshoot. All you need to guarantee you can snap all the shots you want is a quality memory card.

Most photographers keep a few extra cards on hand while on a shoot. This way, you will not need to worry about the card filling up and dedicating time to deleting pictures from the memory stick before continuing with your work.

Props

For a photographer who is looking to get into the business of photographing infants, newborn photography props are just as important as any camera accessory you bring along with you.

These toys and items will help to distract the infants and set the scene for some adorable images. Animal ears, giant flowers, baskets, and silly costumes are all great newborn photography props that you can consider for your next shoot.

More ideas:

10+ Adorable Newborn Props for Photography in 2020

Newborn Photography: 33 Photo Ideas To Inspire Your Shoot

Backdrop

A few backdrops in different neutral colors will also help you shoot. Most newborn pictures are taken with a white or similarly colored background.

Bringing along the backdrops and offering parents a chance to select the specific shade that they like best will help you make the family feel like they have control over the shoot. Keep it simple with newborn photography backdrops and you’ll have an easier time pleasing your clients.

See also: 35 Newborn Backdrops for Parents and Photographers in 2020

Odds and Ends

There are plenty of other odds and ends that you might want to think about bringing along with you as a photographer.

A stepstool is essential for getting bird’s eye shots of the newborn as he or she sleeps peacefully in a basket or crib.

A posing bean bag, similarly, will be a great help when it comes to positioning the baby in a safe manner throughout the shoot.

Some photographers find that a white noise machine helps to soothe the newborn. Thus, this can also be an investment that is worth your time.


The birth of a child is a precious milestone for a family. Whether you’re an amateur photographer looking to get into the business or a parent interested in DIY newborn photography, there are many points to keep in mind to make the most of your decision.

Familiarize yourself with the basics to get started on the right foot and tackle newborn photography at home in a way that you never thought possible.

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