November 29, 2023

The birth of a child is an incredible occasion that deserves to be celebrated and photographed in the best way possible. Newborn photoshoots can help you achieve that and get creative at the same time. With the right newborn photo ideas, you can take outstanding photos that the baby’s parents will cherish forever.

Safety Tips for Newborn Photography

newborn photo ideas baby lying next to unicorn toy.
Before you use new products, ask the parents if they have special costumes or toys for the baby. If they don’t, make sure you talk to them before you buy any new costumes or props for your photoshoot. A parent’s intuition transcends general safety rules, so always seek their advice before you make any changes to your shoot.

Newborn photography comes with a unique set of challenges. You can’t ask babies to pose for you a specific way. It’s impossible to simply place them in front of a beautiful backdrop and start taking photos. You have to consider allergies, safety hazards, and the parents’ preferences.

Professional newborn photographers have certifications for this genre. The requirements for this are a lot of training and studying. This isn’t mandatory, which means almost any photographers can take photos of newborns. Make sure you educate yourself beforehand so that you don’t risk the baby’s safety.

A few important tips to keep in mind are:

  • Some of the sweetest poses out there were Photoshopped! Don’t re-create anything that makes the baby uncomfortable. Pay close attention to his or her reactions. Don’t pose it any way you want. Remember that babies are flexible but fragile.
  • Talk to the parents beforehand. Make a checklist that includes allergies, creative preferences, and more. Make sure the parents are close to the baby throughout the photoshoot.
  • Always have an assistant with you. This should be someone who has experience in newborn photography. It can’t just be the parents. An assistant will make your job easier and will make the parents feel more comfortable during the shoot.

To find out more information, read this guide.

Newborn Photo Ideas

1. Use a Large Aperture

baby smiling on a pink rug.
The aperture used for this picture was enough to capture the baby’s face in detail. It also kept some parts of the pillow quite sharp. If you use an aperture that’s too large (e.g. f/1.2), you’ll be able to capture a limited amount of detail. This can be a problem if you want to photograph costume or backgrounds details. An aperture like f/2.5, which is still large, can do a much better job than an aperture that’s too large.

The larger your aperture, the softer the background will look. This will add to the overall dreaminess in your shots. It will also help you focus on the baby completely. A large aperture is great for removing distractions and creating a minimalistic feel.

Keep in mind that this isn’t always necessary. Some newborn photos are full of detail. However, most newborn photographers tend to use a large aperture to create a soft haze in the background. This approach might seem simple, but it works very well in this genre.

2. Create a Sense of Safety With the Parents’ Hands

newborn photo ideas parents supporting baby with their hands.
This is one of the sweetest and simplest newborn photo ideas out there. You can convert the photos from this shoot to black & white. This will allow you to focus more on the emotions in your pictures. This is an easy way to remove distractions without having to Photoshop them out. For example, the bracelet that one of the parents is wearing here might actually be quite colourful in real life. That could be a major distraction. In the black & white version, it’s barely noticeable. The shadows and highlights stand out the most.

This is the kind of photo your clients will want to hang on their wall! It has a fine art photography feel and is easy to create. Make sure you use natural light and a black background. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly black. You can add shadows in Photoshop.) You can shoot next to a large window so you can work with as much available light as possible.

Put the baby on a soft blanket. Ask the parents to gently hold it from both sides. This will create a feeling of safety and unity in your photos.

3. Use Adorable Props and Costumes

baby wearing a rabbit costume.
When you use costumes, think of other simple props that could make them stand out even more. Here, the photographer used a bunny costume and a green rug that looks like grass. It might be a simple detail, but it adds a nice pop of colour and it makes sense in the context of the photo. This is an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re on a budget. Simple props can make a big difference.

Amazon and Etsy are overflowing with props for babies. They offer newborn pillows, adorable costumes, milestone blocks, and much more. There’s a lot you can do with these simple but effective items. For example, a bunny costume will instantly make your newborn photos significantly cuter. If you’re looking to build your portfolio, this is a great way to make each of your photos look unique.

baby sleeping in a small bed.
This is a perfect example of a more advanced prop. It’s a small wooden bed with a warm blanket. Its unusual size makes it very cute. More importantly, it’s comfortable for the baby to sleep in.

There are many options for those who want to get extra creative, too. Some companies create handmade moons, boats, planes, and much more. These tend to cost $100 or more. They can be a great investment if you want to pursue a career in this genre. (Or if you just want to decorate your home with miniature props.)

4. Use a Faux Fur Rug to Add Softness to Your Newborn Photos

baby lying on faux fur rug.
Simple faux fur rugs are a budget-friendly option for adorable newborn photography. They’re colourful enough to catch your eye, but not distracting enough to make your photos look busy. You should include them in your photoshoots to create a classic newborn photography look.

Faux fur rugs are affordable but safe for most babies. (Again, make sure to check with the parents beforehand!) If you buy them from a professional store, you’ll have the perfect background for your shots.

Many newborn photographers use rugs because they’re soft and come in many appropriate colours for the genre. If possible, invest in a few colours. This will give you more creative freedom when you photograph different costumes and outfits. Some of the most popular rug colours are light pink, light grey, and beige. Choose colours that won’t take the spotlight away from the baby.

5. Focus on Details

newborn photo ideas close-up of baby's feet.
Popular details in newborn photography: toes, fingers, hair, and lips. You can showcase all of these details at once in a collage.

Parents usually want to remember everything about their child because the first few weeks pass quickly. Don’t be afraid of photographing details that might seem simple or insignificant. Fingers, toys, and small moments are all precious in newborn photography.

It goes without saying that you can’t get too close to newborns. In general, getting close to a subject is bound to make them feel uncomfortable. Even if you’re the parent, try to keep a safe distance. You can use a regular lens. If there’s too much negative space, you can crop it out in post.

6. Include a Beloved Companion in Some Shots

dog sleeping next to baby.
This is a heartwarming picture that tells a clear story about the dog’s relationship with the newborn. The photographer used an unusual angle. Most people would take a few steps back to capture everything in detail, but this person did the opposite. Even though the baby is out of focus, it’s clear that the dog is protecting it. Use this as inspiration to shoot from unusual angles of your own.

To make your newborn photos stand out more, you have to tell a story. You can easily do that with the help of an item or a person. Does the baby have a toy that helps it fall asleep? Is there a pet in the house that keeps it safe? You can include all of these things in your shots to give viewers a better idea of your subject.

Experiment with different angles and apertures to make your newborn photo ideas come to life. You don’t need to focus on the baby all the time. However, make sure it’s in the frame most of the time. Even if it’s out of focus, its presence will add to the story.

7. In a Parent’s Arms

newborn photo ideas mother holding baby.
If you want to take a wide photo of the baby and its parent, make sure to use a simple background and foreground. This image is a great example of this. The background is white, so it’s not distracting. The foreground is a white bed sheet, which complements every other colour in this shot. The mother’s clothes are simple and the baby’s outfit isn’t too vibrant.

Not all newborn photo ideas require the use of a studio. This is a practical tip that you can use in almost any setting. You just need the baby and its parent. Ideally, the baby should be wrapped in something that’s beautiful and comfortable. The parent’s outfit should complement what the baby is wrapped in. When in doubt, use simple pastel colours. You can’t go wrong with those!

Photos like this work very well because they are heartwarming. They show the relationship between the child and its parent. If possible, photograph the newborn separately in both parents’ arms.

8. Use Lightroom Presets and Textures to Enhance Your Newborn Photography

baby looking at snow.
As you can tell, the snow in this photo is fake. In this case, it adds to the overall charm. The photographer used textures to make it seem like the baby is admiring the snow. Using textures is a budget-friendly way to make your newborn photos more creative. It’s also much safer than creating DIY props. If the photographer used DIY snow made of cotton balls, for example, it could be dangerous for the baby and it would create a mess.

Your creativity doesn’t have to stop at the end of your photoshoot. The editing process can open up a whole new world of tools. These tools can help you take your newborn photo ideas to the next level.

Some of the most popular editing programs right now are Lightroom and Photoshop. pictures within seconds. Newborn Lightroom Presets can help you turn simple photos of babies into eye-catching masterpieces. In Photoshop, you can utilise textures to make your photographs look even more creative.

9. Use Your Outtakes

baby sticking its tongue out.
Your outtakes don’t need to be perfect. They can be silly or funny. In this image, it looks like the baby is purposely sticking its tongue out. This might not end up in the family album, but it can be something that the baby will find amusing when it grows up.

Never delete photos that you don’t like. If someone doesn’t look flattering, that’s a different story. However, if the photo is relatively sharp but doesn’t reach your standards, don’t delete it. Take some time to look at it on your computer. Wait a few days before you make a decision. Add it to an outtakes folder in your archive.

Outtakes are photos that don’t make it into your gallery. They might not be perfect, but they still have some charm to them. Outtakes usually end up being forgotten in archived photo libraries. They might not be as bad as you think, so come back to them after some time. You might see them with fresh eyes and decide to include them in your portfolio later on.

baby in father's arms.

Before you start taking photos of newborns, familiarise yourself with all the safety hazards. Once you’re aware of them, you can experiment with different photo ideas.

Don’t be afraid of trying new techniques. Shoot from different angles, focus on details, and include fun props in your pictures. All of these tricks will make your newborn photos as precious as your little models.

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