Instructions for Taking
At-Home Newborn Photos
Time of Day to Shoot Your Newborn
Light can make or break a photo, so consider when and where your home gets the best natural light. I tend to schedule my sessions in the mid-morning for lighting reasons and also because your baby is more sleepy during the morning/early afternoon hours. But more important than the time of day is the direction of the light. Your best bet is to find a window that doesn’t have direct sunlight streaming into it; direct sun can cause harsh light and shadows. You can also hang a white sheet across the window to soften the shadows and even out the light.
A well-lit area with even light is key. If you try to do your newborn photoshoot in a poorly lit area or at night, you’ll likely end up with grainy, blurry newborn pictures.
Shoot when Your Baby is Sleeping
For the best photos, you want baby to be calm and sleepy. Sound machines can help lull your little one into a contented state. A happy baby makes your newborn photoshoot go much smoother, but the easiest way to get a great shot is when baby is peacefully sleeping. The trick is to feed baby before the shoot. (Ever hear of the phrase “milk drunk”?) Also be prepared to potentially give baby a quick snack or full feed during
the session if they’re crying.
Keep the Room Warm
Aside from making sure your newborn has a full belly, you’ll also want to ensure the room is toasty warm to keep baby comfortable. No matter how hot it is outside, keep it room-temperature indoors. A cold baby won’t sleep well through a photoshoot, so I try to keep the room as cozy as I can without everyone melting. I also use a space heater and place it about two feet away from the baby to keep them warm. This usually helps them fall asleep too! Just be careful that you do not overheat your baby.
It’s easy to obsess over styling the perfect newborn picture, but safety should always come first. Never leave baby unattended, especially around pets. Also, if you’re shooting from above, especially with a heavier DSLR camera, make sure you put the neck strap on, just in case the camera slips from your hands.
Clean Your Camera or Phone Lens and Keep It Steady
To get crisp newborn pictures, your camera lens should, of course, be smudge-free. If you’re using your phone, I recommend first making sure the camera lens is clean. Another trick to getting great newborn photos: Keeping your hands steady. Give the phone time to focus, take a breath in, hold it, then take the shot. By holding your breath, you’re less likely to shake as you take the picture.
Swaddle Baby Tightly
When you think of classic newborn pictures, you probably conjure up images of tiny, swaddled babies. But how do newborn photographers get such perfect swaddles? My biggest piece of advice when it comes to swaddling is this: Don’t be afraid to pull the wrap super tight! Babies like it, and it’s the only way to ensure they won’t escape. Babies can be so wiggly! We all want to nail picture-perfect swaddles, but I recommend starting with a basic swaddle wrap to make sure baby is contained. Then, take a second swaddle blanket and experiment with different wraps. That way you’re not struggling to get a pretty wrap with baby’s arms and legs flailing! If you do not have any wraps, you can dress your baby in something simple and neutral (no bright colors or busy patterns).
Keep the Poses Simple
I’d stick to very simple poses that work with baby’s natural positions. For example, take a sleeping baby and gently raise their arms above their head. It’s an easy, adorable pose that a parent can do. Babies like to be in this position anyway, which makes it much easier to accomplish. Add a cute hat (or not) and you’re good to go.
Another great pose is putting a sleepy baby on their side. You can then play with the positioning of baby’s hands to find the cutest pose. Of course, if baby isn’t in the mood to sleep, open-eyed pics are gorgeous too.
Where to Place Baby
For the digital composites below, you will want to place your baby on something soft, like a blanket, being careful not to cover any part of your baby with the blanket. Try to place baby on the same color blanket/fabric that the baby will be on in the digital image that you choose.