Tips for professional newborn photos

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photo credit Pamela Anticole

Many parents commemorate the birth of their new baby with a professional newborn photography session. This investment may not be an option for every parent, either due to budget or to social distancing measures; but still you don’t have to miss out on capturing these early precious moments with your little one! Here are seven professional tips for you to take your own stunning pictures of your newborn.

  1. Keep baby happy

Infants are much less likely to fuss during their photo session if they are comfortable! There are several things that you can do to keep baby content, giving you the time that you need to take beautiful pictures.

First, make sure the room is warm. If you don’t have a space heater, crank the thermostat up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Babies love feeling cozy and womb-like. Be sure to do this an hour or so before you plan to start your photo session, to ensure your central heating has time to do its thing.

Next, make sure you feed baby just before you start taking pictures. Infants with a full tummy are much less likely to stir or complain while you are moving them around, which gives you more time for your photoshoot.

Finally, use your own knowledge of your baby’s routine to your advantage. Does wrapping her tightly help keep her calm? Is he usually more relaxed in the morning or afternoon? Do you typically put your baby down for a nap using a white noise machine? You are at an advantage here because you know your baby best!

  1. Stick with candid pictures

Don’t worry about posing! Stick to more natural scenes, and both you and baby will be happier with the experience. Try photographing baby lying swaddled in his crib or cradled in dad’s arms. Snuggle in close, give lots of kisses, and shoot away with your camera. Remember the candid moments hold the most memories!

  1. Simplify the lighting

Natural light is your friend! Turn off your flash as well as any interior lights in your home. Bring baby over to the nursery window to take advantage of the soft diffused light that streams through. Finally, pay attention to the direction of the light. A good rule of thumb is to place baby so that the light hits her forehead at about 45 degrees from the top. There should be very few shadows on baby’s face, other than directly underneath her nose.

  1. Take your time.

Time is at your disposal. One of the benefits of taking your own newborn pictures is that you don’t have to fit the entire session into a particular timeframe. It is totally okay if baby isn’t in the mood to cooperate for your favorite sleepy pictures. There’s always another day for those portraits. Keep everything low stress, let baby set the tone of the session, and remember: if you end up shooting again another day, you will only end up with more variety!

  1. Shoot soon after birth

Every sleep-deprived parent knows those first 10 days postpartum are deceiving, as baby seems to be born the perfect little sleeper, napping regularly. Use baby’s sleepiness in those early days to your advantage! Baby will be less bothered by movement or outfit changes, giving you more time to work magic with your camera. Remember, too, how quickly they grow. You will want to capture everything before it changes!

  1. Don’t forget the little details

Remember the first time you held those amazingly tiny feet in your hands? Don’t forget to capture all these special little details that make baby unique! Take pictures of her hands and feet, yawns, wrinkly thigh dimples, even the curve of her ear. If you own a macro lens, this is the time to use it so you can get in extra close.

  1. Get in the pictures

The photographer in the family should be in the pictures, too! Hand your camera off to your partner, or set it up on a tripod with a timer. This is often the hardest tip to follow, as it is so much easier to focus on baby as the star of the show. But remember that these pictures are for your baby, and she will want to see photos of herself with her mom. And she won’t care at all if your hair is messy or you look like you haven’t slept for a few days (which you probably haven’t!). All she will see is your love.


Pamela Anticole is a professional photographer specializing in documenting family life. Her images have received awards from both the FPJA and the Documentary Family Awards, and her work has been exhibited in print here in Pittsburgh, PA. Mother of 4 young children, Pamela is passionate about sharing her knowledge about photography with other parents. To learn more from Pamela, please visit her website at