Congratulations! You just welcomed a new member to the family! That means it is time for some adorable newborn photos. As cute as babies can be, they aren’t always the best models. Sometimes, it can be a little difficult to photograph your new bundle of joy. That’s why we wanted to share our top six tips for parents for a successful newborn photo session, curated for you by our professional photography team. We are out there photographing the cutest little girl in a pink tutu outfit, while at the same time, having to help clean spit-up from the family room couch. Trust us, you’ll want to read these newborn photo session tips to make your next newborn and family photo session go as perfectly as possible.
So you’ve already had your baby and scheduled a newborn photo session. Now what?
To make sure everyone is comfortable, we typically photograph newborns in your home. The baby already knows the location, plus you have everything you need there. You might be panicking already. But don’t worry! We have seen countless houses post-baby so we understand that life will be a little crazy. Maybe you didn’t put the dishes away or try cleaning up the piles of clothes, oh well! We can work with you when we arrive to help pick out the best spots in your home and tidy up those areas.
The main thing that we will be looking for, is a room with a lot of natural light from big windows. The more natural light, the better! We try to avoid using flash and lights on the little ones as their eyes are particularly sensitive to light in these early days.
If you are wanting an outdoor newborn photo session, we can definitely do that instead. Just make sure you bring enough supplies in case of messes. We do love photographing little babies on fuzzy blankets at the park!
Naked babies get cold. One of the more important tips for parents for a successful newborn photo session is keeping the baby warm. We suggest cranking up the temperature in the house to a comfortable 80 degrees about half an hour before your session start time. Space heaters work well too if you would prefer. The warmer temperature will hopefully help your newborn stay asleep and happy.
Speaking of naked babes, loosen the diaper a little before we arrive if you are interested in having cute newborn photos without a diaper. This will eliminate any annoying diaper lines and the need for retouching later.
3. Feeding & Breaks
Newborns will need feeding breaks throughout the photo session, especially if they are a little fussy and upset. A quick meal paired with some cuddling and your little boy or girl will be ready for the spotlight again! Feeding times also allow us to capture intimate nursing moments between mommy and baby, if you are comfortable with us being there.
It is helpful if you feed your baby before your photos session so they will be ready to sleep. Warm milk equals a happy, model-ready baby! Hungry babies wake up often and crying.
Keep extra wipes, diapers, blankets, and trash bags nearby for quick cleanups. Naked babies do tend to have more accidents, so it’s a good idea to be ready. Just remember to be patient and don’t get embarrassed or frustrated when things go wrong.
4. Props & Wardrobe
Props, props, and more props! Anything and everything is welcome! Just keep in mind that we might not be able to get to all your items. Also, you are not required to provide any props, these are just tips for parents for a successful newborn photo session. For example, during a lifestyle newborn photo session, we focus more on documenting the important moments between baby and parents, instead of the sleeping baby poses with props.
Here are some common Pinterest-inspired props that parents like to include: wedding rings, fuzzy blankets, knitted hats and matching socks, favorite stuffed animals and toys, baskets with wide bases, scarves, and family heirlooms.
As for those adorable baby outfits, we suggest prepping about two to three wardrobe changes for a standard hour long newborn photo session. Remember to have them readily available by laying them out nearby. This can include a cute diapered baby and something funny like a bear onesie. It is a good idea to include bloomers or some sort of diaper cover if you want a diaper photo because they can come across a little boring in photos.
By changing up the location or what your newborn is laying on, is an easy way to add variety to the photos. A recently-made bed, neutral couches, shallow baskets, and interesting ottomans are great options when it comes to newborn photo props. Blankets and pillows create soft fillers for basket-like objects and can be draped on couches for added texture and color.
5. Family Photos & Pet Appearances
Yes, your new baby is the star of the photo session, but that doesn’t mean mom and dad can’t jump in a couple photos, too. Don’t forget about the furry family members! We try to focus on capturing candid moments between the baby and family members so we encourage you to invite others over. Who doesn’t want to ooh and awe of the cutest little person in the room! Keep in mind that you might need to add on extra photography time as you add more people.
If you have other children, remind them to try to stay calm and quiet when they are not in the photos to keep the newborn happy. Explain to the siblings ahead of time what is expected of them during the photo session. Instead of bribing with candy and toys, use positive reinforcement and prep them by saying “Mommy and Daddy are excited about taking photos with you and the baby.”
Make sure someone always has a hold on the pets during the photo session. Animals can change emotion quickly and we want everyone to stay safe and happy while we capture adorable best friend photos.
Be vocal about any pain (like from a C-section) so we can better assist you with setup and posing. Again, never be embarrassed about saying too much.
6. What to Wear
The last thing on your mind is probably what you need to wear during the photos session, but we have outfits tips for parents for a successful newborn photo session, too! Try to keep your clothing simple, without busy patterns and logos. Soft, neutral fabrics are flattering and don’t distract from what the baby is or isn’t wearing. Check out our What to Wear for Family Photos blog post and our Pinterest board for some fashion inspiration.
Tips for Parents for a Successful Newborn Photo, aka Everything Might Still Go Wrong
Honestly, we never know how a newborn photo session will go. Babies are pretty unpredictable adorable! But hopefully these suggestions help you feel prepared and comfortable for your upcoming photo date. If you are still unsure about something, just ask! We are always here to help. And don’t forget to send us those Pinterest boards ahead of time! For some more inspiration, check out our newborn portfolio on our website.
Always remember that you know your newborn better than we do so please don’t hesitate to bring up any concerns or suggestions. But do stay patient. Babies can sense when their parents are becoming upset or frustrated. Crying, inability to soundly sleep, bathroom breaks, and the need for more feeding are all normal things during a photo session.