Expert Tips for Creating a Newborn Photoshoot at Home

The early days with your baby are rare and precious. Capture them in a home newborn photoshoot using these tips gathered from photography experts.

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #586
The Quick And Dirty

One of the easiest ways to capture the essence of your baby's first days is through the lens of your camera. There's no need to be intimidated by photographing your new cherub. Relax and enjoy bonding with your baby as you snap some intimate shots with these proven expert tips from professional baby photographers. 

  1. Know the best time to plan a newborn photoshoot
  2. Get organized
  3. Location, Location
  4. Gather creative props
  5. Make a plan for older siblings
  6. Strike a pose
  7. Be prepared to go with the flow

A newborn baby entering your world is lifechanging in so many beautiful ways. Soon, you'll be swept away with the intoxicating smell of new baby combined with the heartwarming sound of sweet baby coos. Your precious bundle of joy will melt your heart every time you look at him or her. Ah, baby love!

Those first days of your baby's life are moments to treasure, but it's easy to forget how special they are as you navigate the raw emotions of new parenthood. Between soothing your post-partum body, managing sleep deprivation, and getting comfortable with your new baby, the first precious days of your baby's life can be a total blur. How can you make sure you remember them? A newborn photoshoot!

Here are some tips to help you capture baby's first moments with beautiful images you'll always cherish.

Know the best time to plan your newborn's photoshoot

After months of patiently waiting to meet your newborn baby, you're finally bonding and getting to know him. While your plans may include lots of getting-to-know-you and snuggle time, your baby has other plans—sleeping. Newborns tend to sleep eight hours or more during the day and eight or more (hopefully!) hours during the night.

Some of the most adorable newborn images are of sleeping babies with dreamy faces, all cuddled up and cozy, snoozing away without a care in the world. (Think Anne Geddes. This iconic Australian photographer put newborn photography on the map!)

Wondering when the best time to capture a quintessential sleepy baby pose is? You may want to plan even before your baby makes his arrival so you won't miss it! According to most professional baby photogs, the ideal time for a newborn baby photoshoot is before three weeks of age.

Newborn shoots take place in the first two weeks because, during this time, the sleepy curled-up poses can be achieved; after this time, babies tend to sleep less and are less flexible, so it will be less likely that we achieve these poses.

Sally Slack, Professional Baby Photographer    

Another pro tip includes planning on photographing your baby shortly after his feeding. Photographers love to take advantage of their "drunken milk" stage, and who doesn't love that look of utter contentment a baby has when she's got a full belly!

Get organized

When trying to mimic a professional session, your best tool is organization. Spontaneous shots are whimsical and loving but staged photos take some thought, so think like a trained professional.

  • Where will your at-home session take place?
  • Who else will be posing?
  • Is someone available to watch older siblings while you fuss over baby?
  • What fun props will you need?
  • What will baby wear (or not wear)?
  • Will you need any special gear?

If it's just baby, you and your spouse, invest in a remote-control device to activate the camera on your phone, a fantastic tool for a DIY session. Instead of you having to run up and down to the phone to set the timer for each shot, you activate Bluetooth, and the remote connects to your phone. The remote control should be easy to hide in the palm of your hand, so it won't be noticeable in the photos.

Have fun with this part of the process. Jot the experience in your baby's journal. Not only will the photos be a fantastic memento, but you'll appreciate the written memories years from now.

If you're not sure what types of pictures you want, peruse hundreds of adorable ideas on Pinterest.

Find the best location

Choosing the right setting for your baby's photo debut is something to consider well before you grab your camera.

According to photography pros, the first thing to scout is a well-lit area with even light. A room with a lot of natural light from big windows is ideal.

Master bedrooms are a popular choice for baby's photoshoot because using the bed as a backdrop is comfy and versatile. A cream or white comforter allows for a clean, crisp setting where a pop of color can add contrast with a favorite scarf or throw to swaddle baby.

Wherever you decide to work your magic, remember to have everything you need on hand and ready to go in that location.

Take advantage of your porch or a sunny garden in the backyard. If your baby is cooperative, you can shoot for (pun intended) both indoor and outdoor shots.

If you do choose an indoor setting, especially during colder months, be sure to have a warm room. One of the more essential tips for parents for a successful newborn photo session is keeping the baby warm and cozy. Crank up the temperature in the house about half an hour before your session start time, especially if baby won't be fully clothed for the shoot.

Wherever you decide to work your magic, remember to have everything you need on hand and ready to go in that location.

Gather creative props

One of the most exciting parts of an in-home photoshoot is choosing meaningful props. Props are an excellent method to bring your family's personality into the newborn photography session. Photography studios offer tips such as searching out family heirlooms, using fun hats, and placing baby inside a favorite throw you picked up on your honeymoon, to name a few.

The goal is to interject attractive materials and staging items (baskets, bowls, wagons, pretty blankets) that will add interest and a sense of flair to your photos.

Check out this YouTube video, Amazing baby photoshoot ideas at home, to gather some fresh ideas. Be prepared—your creative juices are going to flow!

Make a plan for older siblings

Before your baby's solo portion of the shoot begins, the pros recommend taking sibling shots first. This allows older children to feel like they're an important part of the process. But once their part is done, they can go play, and you won't have to worry about them getting fussy or burned out before your shoot gets rolling.

Enlist grandparents or a friendly neighbor to help out during the photoshoot so you won't have to worry about keeping the older siblings busy while you focus on the task at hand, photographing your newest addition.

Strike a pose

If you're planning your baby's photoshoot, chances are you've gleaned ideas from friends and family or searched out dozens of adorable poses online. There's the scrumptious newborn frog pose, the precious wrapped taco pose, and even the melt-your-heart tushy-up pose. These poses are the norm for professional studios.

But as you plan poses, remember that when it comes to newborn photography, safety always comes first!

You can still achieve a fantastic result without contriving a pose that may look sweet as can be but isn't in your comfort zone to arrange. Some simple poses include the back pose, side-lying pose, and tummy pose. Each of these allows you to capture your baby's pure innocence with minimal effort. Combine them with your hand-picked props, and you've now created a true masterpiece.

Read more about simple newborn photography poses on slrlounge.com.

Check out this super-sweet YouTube video for a great way to wrap your baby during a photo session.

Don't forget those up-close-and-personal shots of baby's tiny hands, feet, mouth, and eyes. These are a must for your newborn scrapbook.

Be prepared to go with the flow

The key to any family photo session, particularly one with a new baby, is to keep your calm and go with the flow. Babies can pick up on your energy, so getting yourself into a peaceful state of mind before the photoshoot is vital. Regardless of how many awesome shots you end up with (and you will!), the best part about taking photos at home is that you can take a break if your baby gets fussy and come back fresh later.  

Now that you've successfully taken dozens of marvelous baby photos, showcase them in an online video. Flexclip offers a free video service with a creative template assortment. Now friends, family, and baby lovers everywhere can enjoy the fruits of your photoshoot labor.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.