How to Do a Newborn Photoshoot Like a Pro

Updated February 16, 2021
Baby photoshoot

With a few tricks prized by professional photographers, you can do your own newborn photoshoot at home. From lighting and camera settings to keeping baby quiet and happy, these are the tips you need to make your newborn portraits go smoothly. Get inspired with some simple DIY newborn photoshoot ideas that you can use to make your photos look adorable.

When Should You Do a Newborn Photoshoot?

Although most people do a newborn photoshoot during the first three weeks of a baby's life, there are no hard and fast rules. You'll know what's right for your baby. The key to great baby photos is to pick a time when mom and baby are both relaxed and happy. This often works best very early in a baby's life when he or she is still sleepy. You should also keep baby's happiness in mind when choosing the time of day, scheduling the shoot after meals and before naptime. If you're doing the newborn photoshoot at home, you'll have total control over the schedule.

What You Need to Do a Newborn Photoshoot at Home

Hiring a professional newborn photographer is often a great idea, but you don't need to be a pro to get some great shots. You also don't need pro gear for making good infant portraits. Here are the supplies you need to do a photoshoot with your baby at home:

  • Camera - You can do DIY newborn photos with an iPhone or other cellphone camera, but it's even easier if you have a DSLR. No matter what camera you're using, take some time to explore its settings and learn how to use it.
  • Clean background - You'll need a nice, clean background for your pictures to keep the focus on baby. Choose a simple, neutral-colored blanket, if possible.
  • Good natural light - The best light for a newborn photoshoot is next to a large window or patio door on a cloudy day or when the sun is on the other side of your house.
  • A warm place - Babies can have trouble regulating their temperature, and a nice, warm spot for your photoshoot is important. If it's drafty or chilly where you're shooting, bring in a space heater.
  • Outfits (optional) - You can photograph your baby in anything, but special newborn photoshoot outfits can make your pictures extra special. Consider heirloom items, a special wrap or piece of fabric, or a sweet dress.
  • Props (optional) - Newborn photoshoot props are definitely optional, but you could consider using a basket, flowers, or a special item that represents your family.
Newborn Baby Girl Swaddled in Prop Basket

How to Do Your Own Infant Portraits

Doing your own newborn photoshoot is a simple process, especially if you're home on maternity or paternity leave. Wait for a good time when baby is sleepy and happy, and then follow this simple process.

1. Set Everything up Before You Bring Baby In

Get your DIY newborn photoshoot setup in place before you add your baby to the scene. Look around your home for the right place for your photoshoot. A big window with nice, soft light coming in is ideal. Lay a clean blanket on the floor in the background color of your choice. If you're using props, get those set up too.

Props and a basket for photo-shooting a newborn

2. Pose the Baby

When you're ready to shoot, bring the baby in and pose her the way you have in mind. You can use pillows or towels under the blanket to help support your little one in a pose, but make sure you're there at all times to keep her safe. You should try a few different poses to see what works best for your baby and for the photos you have in mind.

3. Shoot From Different Angles

For each pose you try, be sure to shoot from a variety of angles. Shoot from above for a few photos and from the side for a few. Step back and get some photos that show how tiny your little one is, and step closer to get some photos of his sweet face. Try walking around your baby and taking photos from different places in the room.

Overhead portrait of newborn baby boy held by father

4. Include Close-up Shots of Details

Be sure to get some close shots of your baby's fingers and toes, that little wisp of hair, his perfect ears, and his belly button. Whether or not you choose to include them in your birth announcement or post them on social media, these detail photos will be precious newborn memories you'll want in years to come.

Close up of baby smiling

5. Edit Your Newborn Photos Like a Pro

When you're done shooting, it's time to edit your photos. If you have a program like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop and know how to use it, that is the best choice. However, you don't need fancy software to edit your photos. You can use the photo editor that came with your computer or phone too. Here's how to do a simple newborn photoshoot edit:

  • Adjust the overall exposure to make sure the image is bright enough but not too bright.
  • Reduce the shadows a bit to help show off your baby's features and make them look dimensional.
  • Increase the highlights or bright areas as needed to show your baby's skin.
  • Check to see if your baby's face is the brightest thing in the photo. If it is not, use a brush tool to dodge (brighten) the face and burn (darken) the rest of the image.

DIY Newborn Photoshoot Tips

The following tips will help you get great results with your newborn photos:

  • Use your hand to check the light coming in and make sure it isn't super bright or too shadowed. If the light looks good on your hand, it will look great on baby.
  • Have an assistant to help you pose the baby. It's difficult to be behind the camera and posing the baby at the same time, so newborn portraits are always easier with a partner.
  • Try some outside photos too if the weather is nice. Pick a place with some nice, even shade and a pretty background.
  • Always keep the baby's safety in mind. Never pose a baby in a way that's uncomfortable or dangerous.
  • Add some white noise if it will help your little one sleep. You can use a white noise machine or a phone app to provide a constant source of calming noise.
Little girl is being prepared for a photoshoot

Get Inspired and Then Experiment

If you're looking for some creative newborn photoshoot ideas, take some time to peruse the work of Anne Geddes and other newborn photographers. Although elaborate poses and props may not be your thing, you can get some great ideas about how to pose a baby and the kind of light that makes a newborn portrait especially beautiful. Then take some time to experiment and get some great photos of your own.

How to Do a Newborn Photoshoot Like a Pro