SEVEN Tips for a Successful Newborn Photography Session

Have you ever wondered how newborn photographers capture those peaceful, sleeping baby shots so perfectly?  Are you a professional photographer in other areas, and thinking about attempting a newborn shoot? This type of photography requires specific skills and preparation, read on for a few tips and tricks.

#1 Light Source

  • We typically like to shoot with an 86 inch PLM by Paul C Buff. Always remember this tip: the larger the light source, the softer your light will be for newborn photography sessions.
  • For newborns, place your soft box about two to three feet from baby.
  • Don't be afraid to move your light around to find the most flattering shadows. Take notice as to how the light falls off baby's face.
  • In the example above, the light source is about 2-3 feet from baby.

#3 Don’t Forget the Details

  • Macro details of a newborn baby are sometimes the most important part of the "newborn" story. When you are photographing a new baby, please don’t forget those tiny details! Parents love them! It is these details and macro shots that truly tell the story and are so important if your clients want to make an album. We always like to tell parents how important these detail shots can be to them 25 years from now, once their baby is all grown up. Remind them that those tiny lips fingers, toes, eyelashes, etc. will never be this small again.
  • For newborn sessions, we recommend to shoot between 2.5 and 3.5 F-stop. For macros, our photographer likes to stop down to about 5.6 or 8 F-stop.
  • Details of the baby are so important to each session....toes, lips, eyelashes, etc.

#5 Make the Most Out of your Swaddles/Wraps

  • Although bare baby shots are awesome, always remember that your swaddled captures are going to be your easiest way to add the most variety without unsettling baby.
  • Make sure to plan in advance to put together two separate set ups that can be photographed using just one wrap. It can be two props, a prop and a flokati, or a prop and parent shot.
  • First, photograph the initial set up. Then adjust your wrap in a different way and add baby to your second set up.
  • You can quickly give parents more variety in their newborn photo shoot without having to disturb and reswaddle baby.
  • You can see in the image above the same cream wrap used in both very different set ups, but when reconfigured it looks completely different.

#6 Newborn SoothingNewborn Soothing

  • Do yourself a favor and invest immediately into a sound machine or shushing gadget. These emit womb like sounds and loud shushing which help keep newborns asleep for longer during a session.
  • Make sure to keep the room where you will be photographing baby very warm and cozy.
  • Newborns have a hard time regulating their body temperatures, so it is especially important to keep them warm enough.
  • A sleeping baby is an easily photographed baby.

#7 Capturing Parents with Baby

  • Parent shots take more time to perfect, however clients love these shots!
  • Start with posing mom and baby together, with mom sitting down on a high step stool. Ask mom to cross her arms in front of her, with her hands up at each shoulder. Place swaddled baby in her arms, her hands cupping baby's head and feet. Go through a series of poses and expressions with mom: looking at camera, cheek to cheek with baby, looking down at baby, kissing baby and snuggling baby with her nose.
  • Next, bring in dad and have him sit right next to mom. He should place one arm around mom's waist and one under her arm for support. Again, go through a variety of poses of both mom and dad together: both looking at camera, both looking down at baby, both kissing baby, and last, dad kissing mom on the temple while mom closes her eyes peacefully.
  • Last, remove mom and give swaddled baby to dad. Have dad cradle baby in his arms and proceed to go through the same series of poses and expressions as you did with mom.
  • Image above shows examples of posing for parent shots.

#8 BONUS: Parent Shots- Behind the Scenes Look Into a Twin Newborn Session

In Summary

To make the most out of your newborn photography session, make sure to follow the tips above.

  • Get your equipment right, your lighting right, and prepare adequately for your tiny subject.
  • Have your macro lens on hand, the ability to get your light source close to the baby, and plenty of swaddle wraps to keep baby warm and snug.
  • Ensure the room you will be working in is warm and has soothing womb like sounds playing in the background.
  • Plan for your parent posing workflow.


What do you think?

13 Points