Newborn photography tips for parents

June 21, 2020

I share these newborn photography tips for parents before every newborn photo session. These tips ensure that your sweet baby will be a little more sleepy, less hungry and easier to photograph — which is better for everyone, especially your baby.

Plan your newborn photos for the first days after baby’s arrival

The most important thing is to photograph babies from 4-5 days old up to one month after their birth. The earliest you can photograph them, the better. They’re more sleepy and can be effortlessly posed. 1-month-olds are more alert, but you can capture more lifestyle images with their eyes open. Keep this in mind as you plan your photos. You’ll be tired with your new baby, but you’ll be grateful for the sweet photos as they grow much too quickly!

Keep baby awake prior to the session

Most of the images we’ll be shooting work best if baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, I recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but it will be worth it in the end!

Newborn photography tips for parents

Turn the heat up

Babies sleep best when they’re nice and warm. Turn the heat up in your house 30 minutes before the session if you’re taking the photos in your home. If it’s summer, keep the windows closed and turn off the air conditioning.

Feed and burp baby right before your newborn photos

A well-fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy, sleepy (‘milk drunk’) baby. I’m more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help baby re-fuel.

If you’re breastfeeding, please have pumped bottles on standby (if possible).

Newborn photography tips

Be patient as these photos take time

Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can predict! I ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too.



Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic.

I take the baby’s lead. Getting them to sleep and then gently into a pose takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, I’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or I’ll work with what baby is giving us. 

Just remember babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.

Choose clothing with neutral colors

The best newborn outfits have neutral colors — beige, pink, blues and white. These photograph the best as they allow your baby to stand out.

Newborn photography tips
Newborn photography tips for parents

Don’t stress when poop happens

Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use the blankets (or me) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it.

I wash all of the blankets between each session with unscented baby detergent. (This is why I only schedule one newborn session per day!)

If you’d like to help out, you’ll welcome to bring a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets for when things get messy.

Keep a pacifier on hand

A pacifier on hand is very helpful, even if you don’t typically use a pacifier. If the baby is crying, we can pop it in for a couple of seconds to sooth the baby instead of having to pick the baby up and restart from scratch.

Newborn photography tips

Take a step back as your photographer guides baby into a deep, posed sleep

The nose knows! As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts instead, of “where’s my milk?!”

Share concerns with your newborn photographer

As a newborn photographer, my goal is to alleviate any stress. I’ll put babies in poses that are comfortable to the three of you — you parents and your newborn. These sweet, posed photos take time. We’ll follow baby’s schedule and be patient through it all. These newborn photography tips are here to help you prepare and enjoy this sweet experience.

Newborn photography tips

Have questions about these newborn photography tips? Get in touch with me here and I’ll be happy to help!


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