A bowl makes a good prop for a newborn photography shoot

Photographing Your Newborn Takes Some Planning

Photos of your newborn baby are ones you will cherish for a lifetime. If you want special pictures for a birth announcement or a photo book, these tips will help you with capturing amazing images of your new little angel.

A bowl makes a good prop for a newborn photography shoot
Try a pretty bowl or basket for your newborn photography session

1. Plan Your Props

Gather props and accessories while you are pregnant;  you will be too tired and too busy once the baby is born. You can use just about anything you like for a prop: pretty fabric, a fuzzy blanket, faux fur, hats, scarves, bows, whatever you find interesting. Gauze wraps in different colors also make great props. Babies love to be wrapped and bundled. Just don’t use anything shiny or it will reflect.

newborn baby boy wrapped in gauze for a photo shoot
Babies like to be bundled. Try wrapping your little one in colored gauze or a textured wrap.

Your bed makes a nice, soft surface or you could use a  plain wall or bead board for a background. Some people like to put their baby in something — a  beautiful bowl or basket or even a wood crate lined with a faux fur or a blanket.  A posy pillow or small beanbag work great for holding your baby in position for photos. Towels to lift the head or bottom are helpful, and you can place a nice blanket or whatever you are using as a backdrop over the towels.

2. Plan Potential Poses and Check Out Birth Announcements

Think about this in advance. Look on Pinterest to get ideas of cute poses as well as props. If you are planning on sending out a birth announcement, before your baby is born start looking at designs and layouts. My sister picked her card design from her laptop while in the hospital recovering from an unexpected C-section, and clearly it wasn’t the best timing.

If you are set on a certain announcement design, there may be certain poses you want to get. But have several options in mind because you never know, you may fall in love with a candid pose you hadn’t anticipated. I love the baby announcement styles at Mixbook. Below is one of my favorites because it lets the baby take the full focus.

Mixbook baby announcement "Hey Cutie"
This announcement card is from Mixbook. You can customize everything from the layout to the colors.

3. Best time for Photographing Your Newborn

Most photographers say the best time frame is when your baby is from five days to two weeks old, while they are still sleeping a lot, especially if you want a sleepy newborn shot in one of those cute, curled up poses. After that they start to stretch out more and they are much harder to pose and less responsive.

4. Keep Your Baby Warm and Cozy

You will likely be perspiring, but the room needs to be warm, almost uncomfortably so, to keep your little one cozy, especially if you are take some bare skin photos. A portable heater  is safer than a heating pad and a sound machine can  help keep your newborn sleepy. Also be sure to feed your babe before you start your photo shoot to keep them sleepy and satisfied.

5. Have Some Help

Don’t try taking photos alone. You will need some help, whether it’s your spouse or a friend. You need someone available  in case the baby rolls off something, to wipe up spit, put in a binky, change the baby’s position, etc. and for general safety.

6. Expect Some Pee and Poop

Be sure to put down a blanket or pad to protect your bed or chair or wherever you are posing your baby, because while tush shots are sweet (and mandatory in my book), there is likely to be pee and/or poop involved. You’ll probably have to stop midway and clean up a little mess, so be sure to have extra blankets, pads, wipes, etc. on hand.

7. Don’t Use Flash – Natural Light is Best

Many pro photographers will tell you they rarely use flash while photographing newborns. Babies hate it and they’ll likely cry, plus they look better in soft, natural light. Use a fast lens and get natural light from a window.

8. Get Close Ups

A macro lens is ideal. You’ll want to capture those tiny fingers and toes and eyelashes, and they are only this small for a very brief time.

Capture those tiny little toes for your birth announcement

9. Take Lots of Photos

Take as many photos as you can. Get some spontaneous shots; they can be even more special than the posed ones. Try some black and white photos and don’t forget the “bottom up” shots to capture that velvety, creamy skin.

10. Consider Hiring a Pro

Finally, if you can afford it, consider getting a professional photographer to take your photos; it will be well worth it. If you do it yourself, get them printed by a quality printing service. Don’t do it at home or print them at the drugstore. Snapfish and Shutterflyicon do a fine job and have lots of options for birth announcements, baby scrapbooks, canvas prints and keepsakes.


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