A casual family moment on a bed, with a man in a plaid shirt and a woman in a white dress attending to a baby, while a toddler in pizza slice patterned pajamas lies beside them.

7 Tips for Newborn Photos

March 8, 2024

We all know that babies grow up in the blink of an eye, so it is no wonder why newborn photos are so popular. As a parent, you always want to hold on to those first few memories with your baby during their first few weeks. 

Newborn photos are the perfect way to freeze this moment in time and always be able to look back and see just how small and precious they were in those first few weeks. But it can also be a bit overwhelming figuring out how to get a photoshoot done with a newborn. 

Well, as a newborn lifestyle photographer, I get to experience this amazing time with so many different families and have some key tips for newborn photos to make sure that you get amazing memories while also having a seamless experience (or as close to that as you can with an unpredictable baby!). 

Tips for Newborn Photos 

Pick a Place that is Comfortable for You

A toddler with curly blonde hair wearing a pizza slice patterned pajama smiles gently, peering over a mesh crib railing at a sleeping newborn.

Where you choose to do your photoshoot can be very important. Most of the time, newborn sessions will take place either in a studio or at your house. In my experience, newborn photoshoots at home are a great option. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, especially if you are a new parent, you are going to feel much more comfortable at home than you will in a new environment. 

You have more control over what is going on, you don’t have to remember to bring their favorite blanket or pacifier, and if you need to step away for a minute, you can do that in your own space. At home, we have plenty of time and won’t need to worry about taking breaks. 

Doing a session at home can also be more comfortable for your baby. There are so many new things that are happening each and every day during the first few weeks, and sometimes, being in a familiar place can help lower the stress of the session. 

Especially with a new person around them and them being moved around for different photos, being at home can make them feel more relaxed and make the day more enjoyable for everyone! 

Don’t Feel Pressured to do Them Too Soon

A curly-haired toddler and a ginger cat curiously watch a woman in a white dress leaning over a bassinet to comfort a newborn.

Different photographers will have different timeframes on when they will take newborn photos but don’t feel pressured to do them too soon if you are not ready yet. 

You may find that people suggest getting photos taken between 7 and 10, but if you don’t feel comfortable or feel like you and your baby are ready, you can absolutely wait longer to get them taken. 

Most of my sessions will take place between 10 days and 1 month. Just because they are called “newborn photos” doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be just as memorable and amazing 2 to 3 weeks after they are born. 

I generally find that if you wait at least 10 days, your baby has a bit more time to get used to this new world that they are living in and get more comfortable at home, making the session more relaxing for them! We may also get some photos with movement and your baby’s eyes open.

You Don’t Need Props

A top-down view of a blonde toddler in a green dress tenderly holding a sleeping newborn wrapped in a purple cloth.

I know that we have all seen the photos of babies sitting in baskets or with all of these props around them. While this is definitely something that has been popular, you by no means have to use props at all during the session. 

Generally, I opt not to use props in my sessions, and the photos turn out just as incredible and memorable. However, I have had some parents use them if they are special to them! 

If you are thinking about using props during your session, here are a few things to remember. 

First, we want to make sure your baby is comfortable. So, you don’t want to choose props that are uncomfortable. While something may look cute in a photo, the ultimate thing we want to do is make sure that your baby is happy and relaxed. 

Second, I know there are often different trends going around, and it can be easy to think we want to follow them; however, you need to choose what you think is best for your baby. If you think your baby will not be comfortable in a basket or a certain blanket or position, then we don’t need to use them. Some babies love to be wrapped tightly, and others don’t, and it’s all okay.

At the end of the day, these photos are for you and your family to remember this amazing time in your child’s life. The best way to do that is to capture it authentically, without a ton of props distracting from the photo!

Understand if There are Any Time Restraints 

A newborn baby swaddled in a white cloth with blue rainbows lies on a bed, gazing upwards with wide eyes.

Different photographers may run their sessions in different ways, so be sure to understand beforehand if there are any time restraints to the photoshoot. 

For example, when it comes to my newborn sessions, I do not have any time limits on them. I am there for as much time as you want me (or as little time as you want me). 

I prefer to do this to make sure there is no pressure on you and your family to get everything done within an hour or two. Babies are unpredictable, especially newborns, and they may need to take lots of breaks during the session. You may need to take breaks during the session, too. 

My goal is to give you as much time and space as you need to make this photoshoot as relaxed as possible. Knowing if you have any restrictions beforehand, though, can help everyone prepare better and understand what to expect when it is time for the photoshoot!

Take Breaks 

A couple, the man in a blue shirt and the woman in a floral dress, lovingly gaze at a newborn in a purple wrap, who sleeps in the woman's arms.

I know I just said it, but it is worth saying it again: Take breaks during your session. This is a big, exciting thing for your family, and it is totally okay to take your time with this and take breaks. 

This may mean taking a break after a certain amount of time just to let everyone relax and calm down or taking a break after each “scene” that you have. However you opt to do it, understand that you are going to need this time (both for you and the baby), and be flexible to adjust as the day goes on. 

Be Ready to Feed Your Baby More Often 

A couple standing against a white wall, the man kissing the woman's head as she holds a swaddled newborn, gazing down at the baby with affection.

This is definitely one of the more important tips for newborn sessions! This may seem a bit odd at first glance. However, your baby is going to need to eat more often than normal during the session. 

Because the session is going to involve moving them around a lot, this is going to burn more calories than they are used to, and they are going to need to eat more often. 

Knowing this, you can try to have some bottles prepped for your baby before the session. Or, if they have a feeding schedule that they normally stick to, you can make sure to plan for breaks around those times to make sure that they are happy and full throughout the entire photoshoot! 

It is okay to nurse while I am there. If you need privacy, I can hang out in another room. If you want pictures of you nursing baby, that is perfectly fine. This is a special bond between mom and baby, and it is up to you if you want a beautiful photo of these moments. 

Have Multiple Outfits Ready for the Session

A family portrait on a bed with a man, woman, and toddler, all smiling at the camera, while the woman holds a sleeping newborn in a purple wrap.

Finally, you want to make sure that you have a couple of different outfits picked out for your baby for the session. Now, I say a couple of outfits for a few reasons. 

One, it is always good to have pictures of them in different outfits. This can be different onesies, bows, hats, etc. This way, you can have some photos that are a bit softer and gentler and then some that show off those fun onesies that Grandma and Grandpa got them. 

Another reason is just in case they spit up or soil their outfit; then we have a clean one handy. This will be easier than looking for an outfit during the session. 

Final Thoughts on Newborn Photoshoot Tips

A newborn baby wearing a cactus-print headband lies on a fluffy white rug, looking curiously at the camera.

Newborn photos are the perfect way to freeze this incredible moment of your child’s life in time, and with these tips, you can take the session on with confidence. The most important thing to remember is to take your time and relax.

This is going to be unlike any other photoshoot you will have, and it is going to feel like there is so much going on, but there is no perfect moment or perfect picture you need to get. 

Your baby is already perfect, and we are just there so that you can remember that for the rest of your lives. 

So, if you are ready to plan your baby’s first photoshoot, I’d love to chat. You can click here to learn more about our newborn photography or get in touch to talk about your session here!

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