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Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Whether the baby has just arrived or you’re anxiously counting down the days until the due date, now’s the time to make plans for newborn photography. A baby’s first few weeks pass by quickly.
Those adorable sleepy shots—with the baby curled up, and legs tucked up underneath, hands sweetly folded beneath the chin—are only possible during the first two weeks. After that, they’ll be sleeping less and moving more!
Should you hire a Newborn Photographer?
Before deciding which of the cutest newborn baby poses to capture, determine if hiring a newborn photographer is necessary. A professional photographer who consistently works with newborns should have a creative eye and the know-how to keep a newborn safe and happy during a photoshoot.
Newborn photography studio
Newborn photographers often go to a home for a photo shoot. Many of them also have a newborn photography studio already set up with equipment and props. It may be a less stressful alternative than doing a photo shoot at home. Bring props, or use what the photographer has available.
Newborn hospital photography
Many professional photographers visit hospitals to capture newborn hospital photography. It’s an opportunity to showcase the beginning of a baby’s journey from their first appearance.
DIY Newborn Photoshoot
A DIY newborn photoshoot at home may sound intimidating, but it’s certainly doable. Incredible first photos of babies at home and with minimal equipment are easy to capture.
With a point and shoot camera or a smartphone, use the portrait mode setting to blur the background and smooth skin tone and hair. It gives the baby that angelic look. When using a DSLR camera, set the aperture to the smallest number for that soft, blurred background. Use a tripod (for propping the smartphone) and the camera’s self-timer.
A sound machine or fan can help keep the little one quiet and content while sleeping. Choose props and outfits that are neutral colors and similar textures. Light colors help with lighting the photos since they reflect light instead of absorbing it. Add visual interest by using a prop with texture, like a knit blanket. Use one as a backdrop since they won’t wrinkle the way sheets and curtains do. Household blankets, nursing pillows, and baskets all work well as props. Remember to place ample padding wherever the baby is, so they’re comfortable!
Newborn Photography Ideas
A newborn is one of the most cooperative photoshoot subjects ever. Take newborn baby portraits within two weeks after birth. Babies are the smallest (and sleepiest) they’ll ever be during this time. Ready to plan a newborn photoshoot? Try these ten newborn photography ideas to capture special moments.
Start early with a maternity photoshoot
Maternity photoshoots are a fantastic way to capture the feeling of excitement and joy before meeting the newest family member. Choose to document a pregnancy journey from the very beginning through just before giving birth for a full pregnancy timeline effect. Or, choose to do a creative “belly” photoshoot right before the due date to celebrate the end of this significant milestone. If possible, chronicling the entire 9 month journey can really be rewarding.
The first day in the hospital
New mothers shouldn’t worry about how they look in photos. The joy of holding a newborn will overshadow any look of exhaustion. This is a moment to capture—document the baby’s first moments with partners, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives.
Big brother/big sister shots
If this is a second or third child, be sure to photograph the older siblings’ first introduction. A big brother or sister gazing down at a tightly swaddled, peaceful sibling is a sweet, memorable moment. Meeting the new baby is likely to be one of a child’s earliest memories. It makes perfect sense to capture the moment with a camera.
Breastfeeding and other bonding moments
In the beginning, a lot of bonding time is spent rocking and feeding a baby. These quiet moments are precious and priceless. They make for exquisite mother/baby portraits. Enlist a photographer who’s willing to take plenty of candid photos throughout the daily routines associated with a newborn. Or set a tripod and a timer on your camera to capture chosen moments. Ignore the camera, so these images provide a genuinely authentic peek into the first one-on-one newborn interactions.
Moments shared with your partner
Take photos of these first, special bonding moments shared with partners and a newborn during a bottle feeding or skin-to-skin contact. It’s never too early to start reading to the baby—snap a quick pic of your partner reading a beloved childhood classic such as Love You Forever or Goodnight Moon.
Don’t miss the delicate details
Ten tiny toes, ten tiny fingers, two tiny ears, and a button nose—a baby grows quickly! Preserve the memory of the adorable newborn through photography. It’s easy to grab a few close-ups of wrinkly newborn feet and hands while also taking full-body photographs.
Swaddle up for fun with baskets and bowls
Swaddle a little one in a cotton blanket for a quick photo shoot in a basket, bowl, or other safe containers. Be creative with baby placement. Use an Easter or other holiday gift basket if the baby was born around a particular holiday, or use a pumpkin-themed container to celebrate an autumn baby.
Do a baby portrait
Lighting for newborn baby portraits is important because photos will be close up to the baby’s face. Newborns have very sensitive eyes and should not be exposed to bright light until they’re several months old. Ensure that safe lighting is used during a photo shoot. Ambient light, a soft light that mimics sunlight from a nearby window, is the best option to use for newborn photoshoots. Soft, white studio lights are also helpful and won’t cause the baby’s skin to look red and warm.
Newborn photography props
A photoshoot is a great time to experiment with newborn photography props. These often represent family and introduce the baby to new traditions. For example, if a partner is a baseball fan, consider capturing the baby curled up in a catcher’s mitt. Snuggle the baby with a childhood teddy bear or other family heirlooms. Sentimental outfits, rattles, books, or a special toy are all great ideas for a newborn photoshoot.
Props for a newborn baby boy photoshoot can include blankets, clothing, or hats to match favorite colors or a family’s favorite sports team. Family heirlooms such as trains, stuffed animals, or other toys passed down generations also make great accompaniments with the brand new family member. Props for a newborn baby girl photoshoot can include headbands, jewelry, blankets, or clothing to match favorite colors and sports teams, too. Tutus also give a dramatic and adorable effect for a sleeping baby girl. Use clothing passed down through the family to celebrate the next generation.
Newborn poses to try
There are many newborn poses to try during a newborn photo shoot. Depending on how much time and patience the baby has, poses can be kept simple or more trendy and elaborate for maximum “oohs” and “aahs.” There’s a reason babies are called little “bundles of joy”!
A sleeping baby is the easiest to photograph. Go with what feels natural to position the baby comfortably, and more important, safely. Some babies love being swaddled. Others like to have their arms or legs free to move around. Wrap the baby snugly yet carefully in a simple fabric. Try different fabric textures, including muslin, linen, or cashmere. Baby’s hands can be in or outside the wrap, although the latter can be a bit trickier. A baby on their side while sleeping is also natural and an adorable way to photograph a quiet moment.
A newborn photo shoot isn’t complete without a family photo. Be sure to include siblings, pets, and even extended family in these precious family photos. A family photo can be either formally posed or taken in a more natural setting at home. Consider taking pictures outside, such as a favorite park or picnic spot, or anywhere families gather.
Try Them All
These newborn photography ideas will be treasured by family and friends alike. They’ll be perfect to use in a custom photo baby announcement or photo album. The Apple Photos extension Motif makes it easy to create heirloom-quality baby brag books and other custom photo projects to announce and celebrate any newborn baby. Motif takes the guesswork out of getting your project started. Even a new parent can find time to make a unique photo gift.