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How to Take Newborn Photos: A Complete Guide

Last updated: April 19, 2024 - 15 min read
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Newborn photography can produce some of the cutest pictures. But it also presents some unique challenges. There’s no persuading the model what to do. You have to run with the mood they are in, and hope they are quiet or asleep! But it can be very rewarding, so let’s see how you can make the most of this cute niche.

How to Take Newborn Photos

There is plenty you can do to give yourself the best chance of success. Having a good plan, the right props and equipment, and staying flexible are the key. Understanding the basics of photography will help, and then learning how to apply them to this specific type of photography will help you to unlock the magic of newborn photography.


How to Get Started as a Newborn Photographer

It doesn’t take much, but the right preparation will let you get the best out of your subjects. A few props, some clear idea, and a good grasp of technique will help you on you way.


Getting Started

Becoming a newborn photographer takes some preparation. First, decide if you’ll work in a studio or visit clients’ homes. Studios offer more control over lighting and props, while in-home sessions capture the family’s lifestyle.

You’ll need a few essentials like posing pillows, blankets, and a white noise machine. Get comfortable handling newborns and learn safe posing techniques. Always support the baby’s head and keep them warm.

Showcase your best work with print and album samples to encourage sales. And don’t forget a referral program to grow your business through word-of-mouth. With these tips for newborn photography, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career capturing precious memories for families.

become a newborn photographer

Maternity Photos

Of course, you can make a start even before the baby arrives. Maternity photos are popular ways of getting some beautiful shots of the mum-to-be. Here are some tips for beautiful maternity photos:

Include family members like the spouse and siblings in the photos. This shows the whole family is excited about the newborn. Get detail shots of them kissing or holding the baby bump.

Use props that represent the parents’ personalities, like items related to their hobbies or interests. This makes the session more meaningful and personal. Also consider using gender-specific colors in the wardrobe, like blue for a boy or pink for a girl.

Photograph the baby’s nursery if the session is at the client’s home. Capture the parents-to-be in the nursery without posing for natural emotions and expressions. These detail shots can be very emotional and personal for them.

Our guide has many more ideas for maternity photography, so check it out.

A pregnancy bump, with the parents' hands making a heart shape over it
© T P E Marshall


Cute Ideas

Newborn photography captures precious early moments of a baby’s life. It’s about creating adorable images that parents can cherish forever.

If you’re looking for newborn photo ideas, try poses you can do at home without special equipment. Use natural light and include parents, siblings, and even pets. Wrap the baby in a blanket or capture tender moments like the mother’s embrace, the father’s arms, or the baby’s tiny hands and feet.

For studio newborn photos, play with props, colors, and themes. Wrap the baby in colorful blankets or put a matching hat on their head. Place them in a deep basket, make a cozy nest, or use a miniature bed. Create magical sets with seasonal backdrops, crowns, and animal costumes for prince and princess or woodland themes.

Newborn photo ideas are endless, so let your creativity shine. With the right poses, props, and themes, you’ll create newborn photos to treasure for a lifetime.

newborn photo ideas

Newborn Poses

Capturing the innocence and beauty of a newborn baby is one of the most rewarding things a photographer can do. With a little practice, you can create stunning images using these ten best newborn poses.

Always prioritize safety when posing a newborn. Stick with simple poses like on the back, on the side, or on the tummy. Use props like blankets, pillows, and beanbags to support the baby and keep them comfortable.

Get creative with your camera angles and try shooting from above or the side. Capture close-up details of tiny hands and feet. Involve parents and siblings in the photos to showcase the family’s connection and joy. Newborn poses can be varied and adjusted to create a diverse portfolio of images that parents will love.

newborn poses


Photographing newborn twins can be challenging, but with the right preparation and techniques, you can capture precious moments. Start by communicating with the parents about their preferences for props, colors, and accessories. Ensure the photography area is clean, safe, and free of clutter.

Use a camera and lens suitable for portraits, such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a prime lens around 85mm. Natural light from a window is ideal for a soft, even look that won’t distress the babies. If using studio lights, opt for softboxes and a less intense flash.

When posing newborn twins, keep safety a top priority. Use soft blankets, non-abrasive materials, and avoid any props with sharp edges. Try different poses, such as having the twins lie together, in matching or differing outfits, or include family members for extra special photos. With patience and creativity, you can capture incredible newborn twin photos to treasure. You’ll find many more twin photoshoot ideas, in our in-depth guide.

twin photoshoot ideas

Christmas Ideas

Christmas is a wonderful time to capture adorable photos of a newborn baby. There are many creative ways to incorporate the holiday spirit into your photo shoot. Using minimal props like a Santa hat or bow can add a festive touch while keeping the focus on your little one.

You can also involve siblings or parents in the photos to capture the love and bond of your family. Dressing the baby as a little angel or placing them in a sleigh are cute ideas. And don’t forget about the family pet – including them can add an extra level of cuteness!

If you’d like to learn more about newborn christmas photos, we have plenty of great resources available with even more adorable ideas and inspiration.

newborn christmas photos

Milk Bath

Milk bath photography is a dreamy, minimalist portrait style. It is more often used for women, but can work well with babies too. It involves photographing a subject in a bathtub filled with a mixture of milk and water. The milky white liquid allows you to utilize negative space and draw focus to your model’s face and body.

To set up a milk bath photoshoot, you’ll need a bathtub, warm water, and whole milk or milk powder. Gradually add the milk to the water until you achieve the desired opacity. Use props like flowers, lace fabric, or simple accessories to enhance the ethereal look.

Of course, with a baby, you will need to take extra care, and pay particular attention to water temperature.

When shooting, place the bathtub near a large window for soft, natural light. Avoid standing directly above the model to prevent unflattering reflections. Focus on the details like hairstyles, poses, and props to create unique compositions. A milk bath photoshoot offers plenty of room for creativity and experimentation.

milk bath photoshoot

Cake Smash!

Cake smash photography is a fun way to celebrate your baby’s first birthday. To get the best photos, ditch the high chair and let your little one make a mess on a flat surface. Keep props simple, like a plain background with one or two items besides the cake.

Choose a color scheme that coordinates with an item like a headband or the cake frosting color. Avoid white frosting as it can easily overexpose in photos. Schedule the session when your baby is happy and you have good natural light, like near a large window.

Perfect your camera settings before bringing in the cake. Encourage shy babies by letting them taste the frosting first. Adjust your angles to get a variety of shots, from close-ups of frosting-covered toes to wider shots of the whole scene. With a little planning, you can capture adorable diy cake smash photos to treasure.

diy cake smash

Smartphone Tips

Newborn photography doesn’t have to break the bank. You can capture precious memories of your little one using just your smartphone. The key is to keep the photos simple and the poses safe.

Use window light and white noise to create a calm environment for your baby. Gently adjust their arms and legs into a snuggly position, but never force them into a pose. Get creative with your composition by shooting from different angles and distances.

Editing apps like Lightroom or VSCO can help you perfect your images. Remove temporary flaws, reduce redness, and apply filters for a polished look. With these DIY newborn photography tips, you’ll be capturing sweet memories in no time.

diy newborn photography

Camera Settings

Knowing the best camera settings will help you capture better newborn photography photos. They should be sharp, with a soft, blurred background. Use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/160 s for babies who are quiet, and 1/250 s or faster for active babies to freeze motion. A wide aperture like f/2.8 creates a creamy background, but a narrower f/4 is easier to keep the baby sharp.

Balance the exposure with the lowest ISO that allows for a fast shutter speed. Around ISO 3200 or lower is best for image quality. If the photo is too light or dark, adjust the ISO or use exposure compensation.

Mastering newborn photography camera settings is key to capturing the rapid changes of a baby’s first months. Learning manual mode offers the most control. But, aperture priority with auto ISO and a minimum shutter speed is simpler for beginners to learn.

newborn photography camera settings

Choosing the Best Gear for Newborn Photography

The gear you have isn’t the most important thing. But it does make a difference. A mirrorless camera is really handy, or a DSLR with live view. It is often easier to get the right angle while looking at a screen rather than through a viewfinder. With a mirrorless camera, the silent electronic shutter will also be a bonus. 



The best camera for newborn photography should have a mid-range resolution sensor, perform well in natural light, and have a quiet shutter. Look for cameras with at least 20 MP resolution. Higher megapixels can show too much detail in a newborn’s skin.

Autofocus should be reliable but a high burst rate isn’t necessary for newborns. However, if you plan to photograph toddlers too, look for cameras with faster burst speeds.

Cameras that have good high ISO performance are important for natural light photography. Lenses with wide apertures like f/1.8 or f/2.8 also help in low light. If you want to learn more about the best camera for newborn photography, we have a detailed guide.

camera for newborn photography


Newborn photography props add variety and interest to photos while drawing attention to the star of the show: the baby. Some of the best props are wraps, hats, headbands, and baskets. Wraps keep babies warm and comfortable, and can be used in many different poses. Hats and headbands are easy to switch out without waking the baby.

Baskets and wooden crates make great props for beginners. Simply place a blanket inside to keep the baby cozy, then shoot from above. Mom or dad’s hands can also be used to create a sweet, personal photo.

No matter which props you choose, always prioritize the baby’s safety and comfort. Make sure props are sturdy, and use a soft blanket between the prop and the baby’s skin. Newborn photography props are a great way to get creative while capturing precious memories.

newborn photography props


The best lenses for newborn photography offer sharpness, versatility, and low-light performance. Look for lenses with focal lengths between 24mm and 105mm. These allow you to capture close-up details and wider shots with the parents.

Lenses with wide apertures like f/2.8 or f/4 are ideal for low light. They also create a soft background that makes the baby the focus of the image. Image stabilization is another useful feature that will help you shoot sharp images without a tripod.

Our top pick is the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. This versatile lens delivers exceptional sharpness and performance. To learn more about the best lenses for newborn photography, we have a detailed guide covering the top options from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and more.

lenses for newborn photography

Canon Lenses

When capturing the precious moments of a newborn, having the right lens is key. The best Canon lenses for newborn photography offer a mix of soft backgrounds, sharp details, and natural perspectives.

Our top pick, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, has a wide f/1.4 aperture that creates dreamy, soft backgrounds. This helps to highlight the baby’s delicate features. It also offers great sharpness, especially when stopped down to f/2.8, ensuring every tiny detail is captured beautifully.

The 50mm focal length provides a natural perspective, avoiding distortion and allowing for intimate portraits without getting too close to the baby. This versatile prime lens is a great choice for newborn photography, offering professional-quality results at a reasonable price. To learn more about the best Canon lenses for newborn photography, check out our in-depth guide.

canon lenses for newborn photography

Nikon Lenses

If you’re a Nikon user, then we have some recommendations for the best lenses for newborn photography.

The Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED are our top picks. The Z MC 105mm has a comfortable shooting distance and sharp images. The AF-S 105mm has stunning bokeh and is great in low light.

Other good options are the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S for a natural perspective and the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S for flattering portraits. The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S and Nikon DX Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR are versatile zooms.

For Nikon DSLRs, the AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is sharp with a constant f/2.8 aperture. The AF-S 35mm f/1.4G has a wide aperture for soft backgrounds. You’ll find more details about the best Nikon lenses for newborn photography, in our detailed guide.

nikon lenses for newborn photography

Sony Lenses

When choosing Sony lenses for newborn photography, look for wide apertures to create soft backgrounds that highlight the baby. Focal lengths around 50mm provide a natural perspective without distortion. Image stabilization helps capture sharp details in low light.

Our top pick is the Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS for its f/1.8 aperture and sharp image quality. The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN is a versatile zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture. For intimate details, the Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS performs well.

Our selection of Sony lenses for newborn photography come in a variety of focal lengths and apertures to suit your style. With the right lens, you can capture the precious early moments of a newborn’s life with beautiful clarity and softness.

sony lenses for newborn photography


Choosing the right flashgun can be tricky. There are many advantages to using one, and some types of photography are almost impossible without a flashgun. Our top pick is the Godox V860III-S, a great all-rounder that packs TTL, HSS, and a rechargeable battery into a great-value package.

The Godox V860III-S is powerful enough for most situations with a guide number of 60. It has a quick-release mount, built-in modeling light, and a Li-ion battery pack good for 480 full-power flashes. The flash will zoom to accommodate lenses from 20mm to 200mm.

It has both a receiver and transmitter, so you can use it as the trigger in a multi-flash setup or as a slave. This gives great flexibility in how you deploy the flash. If you’d like to learn more about flashguns, we have an in-depth article that covers everything you need to know.


Studio Flash

There are three basic types of photography lighting equipment: continuous lights, strobes, and modifiers. Continuous lights are always on and produce a soft light. Strobes are flashes that can be manual or TTL.

Modifiers change the direction, intensity, or quality of light. Each type has benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to understand how each one works before buying.

If you want to learn more about types of photography lighting equipment, we have a detailed guide that covers everything you need to know. This will help you make an informed decision and start taking amazing photos!

types of photography lighting equipment

Some Inspiration for Your Newborn Photography

Worrying about lack of ideas can be a real problem for any kind of photography. And newborn photography is no different. So we’ve looked into some inspirational photographers to get you on the right path.


Famous Photographers

Newborn photography is a challenging but rewarding field. The best baby photographers capture the unique personalities of their tiny subjects with creative setups and props. They work quickly and flexibly to get the perfect shot before the baby gets hungry or tired.

From Anne Geddes’ iconic photos of babies in whimsical costumes to Shannon Leigh’s fairy tale-inspired setups, these 10 famous newborn photographers are sure to inspire you. Each has their own distinct style, but all share a passion for preserving those fleeting moments of early childhood.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply looking for ideas for your own baby’s photoshoot, these talented artists are worth checking out. For more in-depth information on famous newborn photographers, be sure to explore their individual portfolios and websites.

newborn photographer