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Expert tips for photographing newborns

Taking beautiful newborn photos requires preparation and patience. Learn how professional photographers get the shots that make our hearts melt.

Expert tips for photographing newborns
Image: Terese Condella/Sheknows

Prepare while pregnant

If you’ve been combing Pinterest and Etsy for cute newborn photo ideas and props, the time to shop for hats, blankets and accessories is before baby is born. “You will not have the time or energy to run around to stores looking for things as a new mom,” says photographer Jennifer Bacher.

baby photo with hat
Photo credit: Hanna Mac Photography

Be patient

Jade Brookbank, one of the “b’s” behind the letter b. photography says the key to a successful newborn photo shoot is to just take a big breath, take your time and wait the baby out.

Help baby fall asleep

letter b photography
Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Brookbank recommends scheduling a newborn photo shoot within the first two weeks, since that’s the time babies are sleepy and easy to move around. In her experience, there are some tried and true ways to help newborns fall asleep. Place a warm heating pad beneath your shooting blanket, have a portable heater oscillating across the baby, and play a sound machine. “Those three things do wonders for helping a baby fall asleep and STAY asleep during the course of a newborn shoot,” says Brookbank.

Adapt to the circumstances

baby on back
Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Johanna McShan of Hanna Mac Photography likes to be prepared for a variety of circumstances by having a bunch of different poses in mind. “We all know newborns are unpredictable,” says McShan. “Some are colicky. Some hate lying on their bellies. Some hate lying on their backs. Some hate being naked. Some like being held.” Because you never know how your newborn will be, she has poses to fit every mood.

Use natural light

letter b photography twins
Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Choose a time of day when your home gets the most light, pick the room with the most natural light and open all the blinds and curtains. If there is only one window with good natural light, then use it. “I have had to use one window and one window only for many in-home newborn sessions,” says McShan. This may necessitate getting creative. Instead of trying to angle baby facing the window for every shot, McShan recommends using the shadows too. “Don’t be afraid to use the window for backlit shots. Just make sure you are spot metering.”

Include other family members

baby with brother
Photo credit: Jennifer Bacher

Make sure you take photos of the family with your newborn too. Sometimes the best shots come when an older sibling is being silly with baby or cuddling in bed. Be sure to get photos of baby with mom and dad as well. “Your child will love seeing what you looked like when he/she was born,” says Bacher.

Tell us: Do you plan on hiring a professional photographer to take newborn photos? Or do you plan on taking them in the comfort of home? Share with your photography plans in the comment section below.

More photography tips:

Temporary photo backdrops using what you already have
Picture perfect: How to get the most from your camera
Tips for photographing your baby’s first year

Photo credits: Hanna Mac Photography, the letter b. photography, Jennifer Bacher

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