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5 Best Photography Tips for Shooting Newborn Babies

Last Updated 3rd March 2021

If you are looking for newborn photography tips and tricks you have come to the right place!

Today, we are sharing the five most important tips on how to photograph newborn babies. Whether you’re new to the newborn photography world, been doing it for years or wanting to take a ‘Do It Yourself’ approach as a parent, these tips will help you make the most of your newborn photo sessions. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a newborn shoot though, including quality lighting, equipment, posing, props and of course, keeping the baby happy and safe. Working with newborns can be daunting at first, but with these simple tips and tricks you will be creating beautiful memories in no time. 


Schedule a Newborn Shoot as Early as Possible

It’s the age old saying, “they grow up so fast”! So, it makes sense to shoot newborns when they are a few weeks old (and still a newborn). These moments will not only pass by quickly but also because during their first few weeks, babies sleep a lot. In this stage, newborns also tend to be easier to move and position and will quite happily sleep while you snap away. That being said, you can photograph newborns and babies at any time. Though, once they become more alert and are moving around, it can be trickier to keep them still so seizing the moment in the first few weeks is ideal. Remember, you are always on the baby’s schedule and you never know what the day will bring so always be prepared for anything. 


Keep the baby comfortable and safe with the right props and tools

Props are key for newborn photos. Soft blankets, cushions and bean bags are great for creating a cosy environment for the baby but also add texture and depth to the shoot. Using meaningful props, like the babies’ first toys and family mementos can also create more meaningful photos. Thus, ask the parents if there is anything they can bring along to the shoot, the more props the better.

Remember: there is no perfect prop! It is all about trial and error and seeing what works and what doesn’t but it’s always better to have too many than not enough.  

Nailing the lighting set up is paramount, whether you use natural or studio lighting, good lighting goes a long way. Most newborn photographers opt for continuous lighting and natural light over flash lighting, because flashes produce a sharp abrupt light that can be a bit of a shock for a newborn. Continuous lighting has the added benefit of being able to see what the shot will look like before you even take the shot, so it can save you time adjusting the lighting set up. 

With any photoshoot it’s important to make sure everything is safe and when working with newborns and children it is even more important, we recommend investing in some quality sandbags to make sure all your lighting and equipment is secure and stable. There are pre-filled options like the Spectrum Black pre-filled lead shot sandbag or if you can go for fillable option like the Heavy Duty 10kg Rated Yellow / Black Sandbag (Empty).


Anticipate trial and error for everything!

With newborn photography you can really get creative but there are some shots that are must haves like close-up shots of the feet, hands, and face. It is always best to tick these off first up so the rest of the shoot you can spend getting creative and trying different things.

Always keep in mind that there are no hard rules when it comes to newborn photography poses. You can try different things (this is where having those extra props will come in handy). 

The lighting set up you choose will also involve some trial and error. There is no single lighting set up or position that will work in every shoot, but the more shoots you do the easier it gets. Take the time to set up and test everything first, it will make the photoshoot go a lot smoother. 

One of the most important newborn photography tips is to learn to be patient and always plan for delays. Babies have their own schedule, and they may need little breaks. It’s good practice to plan extra time for breaks, you never know what the shoot will bring. 


Use the right backdrops and lighting for your shoot

There are plenty of backdrops options to choose from which can be overwhelming for those who are new to the field. Paper and Cotton Muslin backdrops are the most popular options for newborn photographers. They are easy to use, set up and also come in a range of different colours and styles to suit any shoot. These backdrops also come in varying sizes so if space is an issue, you can opt for smaller more compact backdrop options. 

Good lighting is essential to great newborn baby photos. Kits like the Newborn & Portrait Photography Studio Continuous LED Lighting Kit or the Newborn & Children Photography Jinbei EF200V Continuous LED Lighting Kit are great as they have everything you need to create a great lighting set up for newborn shoots, including light, soft box and light stand. For those just starting out and aren’t quite ready to invest in large setups, a kit like the Spectrum DIY Newborn & Baby Photography Lighting ‘Twinkle’ Kit or the Hypop DIY Photography Lighting ‘Cake Smash’ Kit are great inexpensive setups that will still give you incredible results. For a lightweight and easy to transport option, why not try a Ring Light Kit like the 18" LED Portable Ring Light – Diamond Luxe III or 13" LED Beauty Portable Ring Light – Mini Pearl III, they offer a beautiful diffused lighting and can be battery operated so you can shoot anywhere anytime. 


Be yourself, it’s your vision!

Creating the perfect Newborn photo shoot is a mix of finding the right lighting, best poses and using quality props and equipment. Ultimately though, it is all about making your vision come to life, finding your personal style and producing beautiful images that capture the first moments of a baby’s life. At the end of the day, to someone looking for newborn photography ideas, we highly recommend that you invest in some good continuous lights, as well as master the basics of setting up a newborn shoot.


Final Thoughts

Newborn photography can be challenging at times but at the end of the day it’s all worth it. Choosing the right lighting setup, backdrops and props can make all the difference, so it’s important to invest in a good setup that will last you for years. We recommend using continuous lighting setups and making sure to secure them all properly with sandbags for a smooth shoot that keeps everyone happy and safe. Always remember to leave extra time so you don’t have to rush and can get all the key shots you need. Most importantly, get creative and be yourself! 

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