Rookie Tips for Newborn Photos

Last month I introduced you to the new love of my life…harry-hr-newborn-baby

…my nephew, Harry Jr. Isn’t he just gorgeous? Sigh. I’m in love.

To celebrate the new little guy, Bridget & I did a mini newborn photo shoot for my brother & sister-in-law. We figured that since we’ve gotten pretty good at taking photos of inanimate objects like flowers, DIY supplies, and home decor…then a sleeping baby wouldn’t be that hard to capture. Right?crying-baby-newborn-harry-jr

Wrong! We have a new appreciation for all newborn photographers out there. Holy moley, it’s a hard job. Give us immobile objects any day over a tiny human who moves, cries, and wiggles all over the place.

Now I must say we did have a great time taking these photos because it was a new challenge for us both. Will we ever do it again? Probably not. We’ll stick to what we do best. But we did learn a lot over our amateur newborn photo session, and figured we would share those findings with all of you. That way you can improve your home photos of your own baby.

baby-sleeping-harry-r-newbornAnd if you want perfect photos of your new child, then by all means HIRE A PRO! They know what they’re doing and it can be worth the money for their expertise. (Just be sure to set the date way in advance so you can get on their schedule when the baby is still… a baby!)

Newborn Photography Tips

1. It’s Getting HOT in Here: I don’t know much about babies, but I do know that they like to be snuggly and warm. Whenever we took Harry Jr. out of his swaddle and into the crisp air, he wasn’t a happy camper. So we turned the air off, let the sunshine in, and let the bedroom get nice and steamy. Then, during the pics where he was just in his diaper (what a cutie) we hid a heating pad under the blanket. He stayed warm during the photos, and then mom wrapped him up in a big blanket as we changed things up for the next round of shots. Warm baby = happy baby = better photos.harry-jr-baby-newborn

2. Keep it Simple: We’ve all seen extravagant newborn photos with props, crazy backgrounds, and moody lighting. Since you’re doing this yourself as a rookie, then keep it simple. A cozy blanket or a white sheet should work just fine. The attention should be on the baby…not on the stuff surrounding the baby. We kept things fairly simple throughout the entire session and some of the best photos were the simplest ones.

3. Mama Should be Close By: This is an obvious tip, but make sure the mama (or daddy) is nearby during the photos. Bridget & I were a bit terrified to be left with a newborn anyways, but having mom nearby for feedings or a bottle is crucial to keep the little guy happy. Every 15 minutes or so he had some milk to tide him over through the next round of pics.

harry-jr-newborn4. Lighting is Key: Whenever we talk about photography, we’re bound to talk about lighting. That’s because there aren’t good photos without good lighting. To keep things simple (see tip #2), we decided to just do bright lighting near a window. Nothing moody here. We took the photos on a sunny day with the curtains open and light flooding into the bedroom. Then we used a white reflector and held it up while taking the photos. That made the lighting softer, and took away any harsh shadows on baby Harry.

baby-yawn-harry-jr-newborn5. Make Some Noise: Again, I don’t know much about babies….but my nephew is all about soothing noises. I put some white noise on my iphone and placed it behind him in some of the photos. Those calming noises kept him happy & quiet (for the most part…)

baby-feet-newborn-harry jr6. Wear Neutral Colors: We can’t claim this tip as our own. Instead my amazingly talented wedding photographer passed this along to us. Whenever you’re taking photos, be aware of what you’re wearing. If you wear a red shirt, those red tones can be picked up on the object you’re shooting! Instead, opt for neutral colors (we go for grays & whites) and you’ll see a difference in the color tone of your pics. Who knew that a simple wardrobe change could make your photos look better?!

newborn-harry jr7. Give Yourself Plenty of Time: We thought the pictures of Harry Jr. would take about an hour to 1.5 hours. Boy were we wrong. Again it’s that whole moving, crying, wiggling thing that happens when you’re shooting a person and not a vase of flowers. We would shoot pics for a few minutes, Harry Jr. would cry, and he would need to be soothed for about 10-15 minutes before doing it all over again. Plus, when crying did happen his body would get all red and puffy and we wanted to wait until he relaxed a bit. So moral of the story…give yourself plenty of time so you can have a stress free photo session. (Okay maybe not stress-free…but less stressful!)

sleeping-baby-harry-jr-newborn8. Have Fun with It: At the end of the day, you’re trying to capture something so precious and beautiful…a child! Relax, have fun with it, and keep the baby as happy as possible.


Our Photography Favorites

For your information, here is our all-time favorite photo equipment & what we use to take all of our pictures (affiliate links used):

Update: Looking for MORE newborn photography tips? Since creating this post, we added 10 more things to keep in mind when photographing newborns HERE. Here’s a sneak peek…. 



  • Summer Hogan

    Oh my goodness the cuteness! Great tips too!

    • Thanks Summer! We’ll need tips from you as he gets older. You get the cutest shots of your lil guy!

  • Jo Abella

    These are gorgeous!

    • Thanks so much Jo! We give newborn photographers a lot of credit. It’s hard!!!!!

  • Paige Scheetz

    He is so CUTE! How could you take a bad one : )

    • Right, Aunt Paige! I totally agree. He’s a cutie.

  • Add “model” & “favorite nephew” to his resume.

  • Harry O’Halloran

    Thanks again Casey & Bridget! He’s a star!

  • Kjaydee

    My sister-in-law is a photographer, and another tip is to have momma feed the baby just before the shoot. Get their tummies nice and full, burp them and then let them fall into a deep sleep in warm room. Once they are really, really sleeping, you can move them around and pose them however you’d like — I was shocked at how well this worked!

    • Love this tip! Kudos to your sister-in-law…it’s hard work!

  • Love the tip about your own clothing. I never thought of that before. And isn’t he just the cutest! Well done Aunt Casey!

  • Pam Kissner Sheedy

    I would tend to agree with you to leave it to the professionals if you want quality newborn portraits. These are moments you will never have again. There’s a huge difference between a snapshot and a portrait that you would turn into a gorgeous canvas to hang in your family room. Really cute baby though ☺

  • Pam Kissner Sheedy

    I would tend to agree with you to leave it to the professionals if you want quality newborn portraits. These are moments you will never have again. There’s a huge difference between a snapshot and a portrait that you would turn into a gorgeous canvas to hang in your family room. Really cute baby though!

    • Yes and yes! We agree but hope these tips are helpful for the moms (or dads!) that may want to try and get quality photos beyond the professional … and maybe for months to come! Or the parents who can’t afford the professional ones (we heard a newborn session around us is $400+). Thanks for stopping, Pam!