Tips & Tricks for Photographing Newborns

I thought it could be fun to talk about various types of sessions and the best tips and tricks that I have found, tried, and tested in the field. So to start it out, lets talk about newborns.

THE FIRST 10 DAYS: They say the best time to shoot is in the first 10 days of life! I say there is NO bad time to shoot newborns and I think it's important to let clients know that... Just in case they just happened to get around to calling you on day 11. Why the earlier the better? Because they are still so sleepy and moldable.
I have shot multiple newborn between 2 and 6 days. I have found it very funny that they ALL were wide awake for a big part of the sessions, but in those last 30 minutes when I finally wore them out - each one was definitely moldable! I've started to realize that my best shots always come at the end when baby is finally tuckered out!
DETAILS: When shooting newborn it's so important to be thinking details! Little hands, feet, rolls, eye lashes, hair, feet. The newborn stage disappears all to quickly. Make sure as their photographer of choice that you are helping mom and dad remember it all.

CRANK UP THE HEAT! I always ask mom and dad to turn the heat up, kick on the fireplace and maybe even put a few blankets in the dryer. All the warmth might make me sweat but baby goes right to sleep! I also bring a small heating pad that I can place under the black-drop to help baby get cozy even quicker as I move her around.

PROPS! Props can be SO much fun! But with newborns it's not a necessity. Your very best prop may just be dads hands! When shooting little ones, always try to encourage the parents to let their little one show off her birthday suit. Clothing can look bulky and distracting on infants. Just be aware that little legs are closed. My favorite beanies come Portland Beanie Co.

BACKGROUND! To start I just purchased the cheapest / softest black fabric I could find at Walmart. I think I paid less than $2 per yard. (In post editing using Lolly's blackdrop fix action I blacken out the fabric). I rewash it after each baby and replace it often as most of my babies seem to feel the need to leave behind their mark. It's easy to set up anywhere I go and insures a very classic and non-distracting portrait. Also take a look around their home. Do they have a piano, beautiful hutch or great kitchen table? Use what you see!

MOMS VOICE! Place mom or dad directly behind you if baby is awake and let her talk to her baby. Chances are, baby may just look right toward your camera! If you have an iPhone and need more comfort noise, I downloaded a free app called Waive Crashers (for sleeping) that I turn on and place under the fabric. It's babies own custom white noise!

All images shared are by the incredibly talented Laura Farris who has newborn photography down to a VERY FINE ART!


  1. These are great tips. Thank you! I'm curious -- where would one buy the cute knitted wrap thingys I see in so many newborn pics? Where they are all curled up inside -- like a hat or a nest or something like that. Do you have to be a talented knitter or are there people out there that make those? Let me know if you know! You can facebook me . . . Heidi Lawson

  2. Thank you for this post! I am not a photographer, but I make a baby photo props. These tips help me understand the needs of the little model and the photographer!

  3. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  4. Hi. I love the second photo down (the baby in the parent's hands). How did you get the rest of the background to be black? I love that! Sorry to be so dense - I'm a total amateur. Also, do you have to set your camera to black and white before you take shots? Thanks!

  5. I get the background black with this awesome action from Lolly's Playground called Lolly's Black Drop Fix. (love when they keep the names self explanatory!!)

  6. Thank you so much for these helpful tips. I am doing my first newborn session on the 19th and have been searching for some helpful tips. You hit the spot. Again thank you.

  7. Thanks for the tips! Also thanks for posting the video, it's always great to see photogs in action!

  8. Thanks for the tips! And I looooove that top image. What kind of lighting are you using - all window light? or do you have some kind of artificial help? I try to use all window light, but find that it's often just not enough and my images are just not quite right.

  9. To Heidi: the cute knitted wrap thingies are called cocoons and can be found all over Etsy.com. Just search on "cocoon" or "baby photography prop"!

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