Newborn photography is the perfect way to capture those gorgeous, sleepy, sweet-smelling newborn days. Babies change fast, so newborn photography usually takes place within the first ten days of life.
Hiring a professional photographer for your newborn photos is the best way to guarantee you have some picture-perfect shots of your sweet newborn. Professional newborn photography can be expensive, though.
If you can’t afford to shell out the money, don’t worry. We have some great photography tips to help you take adorable photos from the comfort of your own home.
DIY newborn photography tips
If you’re planning some DIY newborn photos, the following tips will help you achieve a professional(ish) finish:
1. Pay attention to the lighting
Good photography is all about lighting. If you’re relying on daylight for your photos, you’ll need to pick the right time of day for optimum light conditions.
You should also make sure there are no shadows across your baby’s face. Finally, be mindful of where you stand; you don’t want to cast your shadow over the image, either.
A professional photographer would use special lighting to control the light levels in the room. However, you might have to get clever with the time of day and positioning to achieve a similar result with natural light.
Soft light is ideal, so find somewhere with soft shadows rather than harsh dark shadows.
- Provides gentle shadows
- Is bright without being too bright
- Won’t create shadows on your baby’s face
Take plenty of practice photos before you get your baby into position, so you can perfect the lighting without your baby getting fed up.
2. Pick your timing carefully
To achieve broody-making newborn photography, you want a sleeping subject. Although your brand-new baby might not be in a fixed routine yet, DIY newborn photography has the advantage of not being restricted to the photographer’s schedule. If you have all the props handy, you can wait until your baby drifts into a deep slumber and then whip out your camera.
3. Keep the room warm
You’ll need to keep your snuggly baby as comfortable as possible to increase the chances of a lengthy nap. So keep the room nice and warm to encourage your baby to stay asleep. This is particularly important if your baby won’t be wrapped up warm for the photos.
4. Keep it simple
If you want props, there are plenty to choose from. You can buy lots of photo props online – from adorable knitted hats and cute outfits to vintage laundry baskets and intricately laced blankets. However, if this is your first attempt at DIY newborn photography, it’s often better to keep it simple. You don’t want too much clutter that will detract from your subject.
Using different textures is ideal; a lacy swaddle or soft woollen blanket will look great in the finished photos. However, think carefully about what will be visible in the images. Do the colors complement each other? Are there exciting textures to contrast with your baby’s buttery soft skin?
5. Use a photo editing app
One of the best things about digital photography is that DIY baby photography is easier than ever, thanks to photo editing apps. You can download an app, such as Lightroom or Photoshop and achieve a professional look at home. These apps are easy to use, but it’s worth watching some tutorials first, to learn how to get the most out of them.
You can even use custom presets to filter your newborn photos, bringing the series together with a specific look. If you don’t like the custom presets available on the apps, you can buy additional ones online. It’s an easy and affordable way to achieve a newborn photoshoot from home.
6. Choose the background carefully
You need to consider the background of your DIY newborn photoshoot in advance, as you might need to buy new throws or sheets for your photo shoot. The background should be a neutral shade, such as cream, ivory, or beige.
Your baby will need to be comfy, so your double bed is an ideal photoshoot location. The bed will not only be comfortable but also smell like you, so your baby might be happier to stay out of your arms for longer.
You’ll want to position pillows under the background sheet so you can prop your baby up for the photographs. Sometimes, newborn photographers ask the mom to lie under a sheet and place the newborn on top of her; this keeps the baby happy and allows the photographer more time to take photos.
10 newborn photoshoot ideas
Now you’ve read our tips to help you achieve a professional standard DIY newborn photography shoot, here are some photo ideas for inspiration:
1. The chin-on-arms pose
You’ll need a sleepy, contented baby for this one. Simply maneuver your baby so she’s lying on her tummy, and gently position her so that your baby’s head is on her arms. You might need to do this slowly, movement by movement, but you should eventually end up with a sleeping baby resting her chin on her arms.
Top Tip: If your baby is deeply asleep, you might be able to play around with the positioning and add props to the images.
2. The swaddled newborn
Is there anything lovelier than the sight of a swaddled newborn? Choose a swaddle that complements the background color. Ideally, it will be another neutral shade that won’t steal center stage from your beautiful baby. Gently swaddle your baby and place her on the bed.
Top tip: Don’t worry if your baby kicks free of the swaddle; keep photographing unless the baby seems distressed.
3. Bum in the air
Babies love sleeping with their bums in the air, so be sure to get a shot of your newborn in this classic position. When your baby is napping on her tummy, try gently maneuvering her legs so they are crossed under her bottom.
Top tip: This position looks best photographed from the side, but be sure to play around with the angles, so you find the best shot.
4. Wide awake baby
If your baby isn’t fulfilling the ‘sleepy baby’ part of the newborn photoshoot requirements, don’t worry. You can still take divine photos of wide-awake newborns. Your baby’s eye color is likely to change over the coming months, so this is the perfect chance to capture the cloudy color of your newborn’s eyes.
Top tip: If you’re behind the camera, your baby is bound to follow you with her eyes. Be sure the light is reflected in the baby’s eyes for stunning newborn baby photos.
5. Sleeping baby
The sleeping baby pose is popular for newborn shots. Lie your sleeping baby on her back, then cover her gently with a blanket, so she appears to be sleeping in bed. You can place a nightcap on her head for extra adorable points, if you want.
Top tip: You can place their favorite teddy or sentimental toy next to them on the bed.
6. ‘Womb’ shot
If you often find yourself cradling your newborn and wondering how it’s possible that she was living inside you just a week ago, this newborn shoot position is for you. The idea is to position your baby as she would have been in the womb. Of course, most photographers do this on a comfortable surface but there are gorgeous images of dads holding their babies in the womb position, folded up snugly in their strong hands.
Top tip: Experiment with your positioning as you take the photo, so that you can capture the womb position from different angles.
For more ideas, see our article Stunning Photography Shows How Babies Fit In The Womb.
7. Headbands and hats
This isn’t a position, but it wouldn’t be a newborn photo session without using some teeny tiny hats and headbands. Crocheted and knitted hats look beautiful, with the threads from the yarn adding extra detail to the final picture. Have a selection of statement headbands and adorable hats and switch between them during the newborn photo session.
Top tip: You can buy newborn hats and headbands online, but if you have any keen knitters or crocheters in your circle, they might be willing to make some for you at a fraction of the cost.
8. Simple baby pictures
You don’t need fancy props or a photography studio to get amazing photos of your newborn. A simple picture of your baby wrapped in a blanket will do. You will get some gorgeous shots of your little one like this. The simplicity of the photo will make sure your baby stands out so that each perfect feature is there to be admired.
9. The bigger pictures
Most newborn photo shoots focus solely on the baby but, since you’re taking this photo at home, you can also include aspects of your home. When taking pictures on your bed, instead of taking close-ups that don’t show where the baby is, why not include images that show your whole room?
Whether your bedroom is decorated to perfection or yet to be decorated, the photographs will help to capture a moment in time. Then, one day in the future, when you look back on these images, you’ll be able to remember that awful wallpaper or that house you used to live in.
Top tip: Don’t shy away from capturing reality. The photos showing mountains of laundry in the background are often the most relatable. Nobody is on top of life with a newborn baby and there’s no need to pretend you are.
10. Family photo
One of the benefits of a newborn photography shoot is that you will have a family photograph to treasure. Because you gave birth recently, you probably don’t feel like having a photoshoot right now but, trust me, you won’t regret the photos you take with your newborn. Yes, you’re tired and your bump hasn’t fully deflated yet but you’ll want to remember these newborn days forever.
Either use a timer or ask someone to take the photo when they visit you during the postpartum period. If you do not have visitors just yet, ask your midwife to take the picture, they’ll likely be thrilled to capture your first family portrait.
Top tip: You will love looking back on this photo in years to come.