Newborn Photography Ideas: What to + How to Newborn Photos

newborn-photography-ideas-baby yawning

Newborn Photography Ideas

After nine months of waiting, your baby has finally arrived. The next few weeks will be a blur of sleepless nights as you learn how to take care of your little one while also recovering from labor.  Speaking from experience, it’s easy to put off newborn photos when you’re mostly just trying to keep things together. But, those first few weeks, while exhausting, are also magical. 


To help make the photography experience as easy as possible, I’ll talk you through newborn photography ideas and other considerations so you can document how tiny your baby is before time slips by too quickly. 

First things first: what exactly is newborn photography?

The answer depends a bit on your photographer, but in general, they are pictures taken within the first month of your baby’s birth. There are different styles of newborn photos, which I’ll talk about more below, but the goal is generally the same: capture the tiny new life and all their sweet attributes. 

There are a few important things to consider when booking your newborn photoshoot. If you’re an expectant parent, I recommend reaching out to your photographer a few months before birth to plan for your session. I often pencil in a date with parents based on their due date, with the understanding that we will adjust if the baby decides to come early or wants to stay put for longer. 

After delivery, parents then call or email to confirm the appointment. If you really want to have a date in ink for peace of mind beforehand, first-time moms, as a general rule, deliver close or just past their due date. Subsequent babies often follow suit as the first. Booking for two weeks after your due date will likely be the safest bet. But, just keep in mind that there are no guarantees when the baby will arrive unless you’re scheduled to be induced (and even then there can be surprises).  

Why take newborn photos within two weeks to six weeks of delivery? 


The first 5-7 days after birth, parents, especially moms, are adjusting to a wealth of changes. Most need that time for a multitude of reasons, such as getting the hang of nursing (if that’s your plan), letting your hormones stabilize, and recovering from birth. Additionally, delivery can also be hard on babies. I’ve found waiting for at least 10 days post-birth makes for a smoother photoshoot. If you’ve had a more difficult birth, I recommend extending that timeframe to at least 14 days. Allowing time for both you and your baby to recover is the most important thing at that stage in your lives. 

You might be wondering with all those considerations, should you wait even longer? You certainly can, and many do. There are a few advantages to waiting beyond the first two weeks. One, it gives your newborn a chance to fill out a bit, especially if they are smaller at birth. At ten pounds, babies have that undeniably adorable “baby” look we all cherish.  

Additionally, during the first two weeks of life, you’ll hardly see your baby with their eyes open.   Some people prefer this. If you’re drawn to those sweet sleeping-baby pictures, then this is ideal. It’s much easier for photographers to gently pose babies during this stage. But, if you want to see their eyes open, waiting a couple of weeks longer will increase those chances.  Some parents even like to wait until the six-week mark, which is when you start seeing smiles. I personally love that stage and am delighted when parents want to wait. Your little one will still look like a newborn baby of course, but you’ll see a bit more of their spirit shine through at this point. 

What are the benefits of professional newborn photography? 

Now that we’ve talked through time, let’s consider the differences between DIY and professional newborn photography. With cell phone technology, amateurs are able to capture lovely pictures. If you’re like me, it’ll be impossible not to take at least a dozen pictures a day of your baby. Chances are, at least a few of those will be wonderful in their own way. You, as the parent, have access to your baby at all times, which can make for some extra special moments. When you go with a professional, though, you’re getting the benefit of their skill, experience, equipment, props, and studio space. This all adds to a sense of peace knowing you’re in good hands, that your baby is in good hands, and that you’ll come away with quality images you’ll cherish forever. 

Should the whole family be part of the session? I really love photographing parents with their newborns, and I especially love when siblings are included. If this is your first child, I encourage you to be in at least a few of the pictures. It’s normal to not feel “camera-ready” at this stage, but a professional photographer should be considerate of this. A great newborn photographer always strives to create artistic, flattering images that highlight the connection between you and your baby. 

Not sure where you’d like these photos taken? 


Let me share the pros and cons of in-home vs. in-studio newborn photos. After delivery, the last thing many parents want to worry about is picking up and prepping their home for newborn pictures. It can be overwhelming to think about, but so many families welcome the studio setting where they don’t have to worry about cleaning up. Some people also welcome the change of pace. 

During a time when days can blend together, it can be nice to get out of the house. For others, the thought of going anywhere with a newborn feels like an insurmountable task. I understand both views and recommend doing whatever makes you feel more comfortable. Besides the sense of peace staying put can bring to some, there are a few other reasons people opt for this setting. An in-home session can feel more natural and intimate for your family. The backgrounds can be the nursery you’ve spent so much time putting together, the bed your whole family piles into or the couch you’ll spend hours together on.  

If you do opt for an in-home newborn photoshoot, you’ll just want to make sure to talk with the photographer beforehand about lighting. Many homes, especially traditional Chicago brick homes, have less natural light than a traditional studio space. For this reason, I always ask my families to send a few phone pics with natural light only of the rooms they’d like me to use during the time they plan to have me there. This allows me to get a sense of what I’ll be working with so I know in advance if I need to supplement the scene with certain equipment. Most people prefer natural light photos – for good reason – so if your space doesn’t have much window light or there are tall buildings next door, then it’s a great idea to consider going into the studio. 

Wherever and whenever you choose to do your newborn photos, reaching out to your photographer in advance to talk through everything will help to ensure the photography process goes smoothly the day of. During a time when things can feel a bit overwhelming, a smooth and easy process will make your day! If you’re still looking for a photographer, I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here or call 402-304-4057. I look forward to hearing from you!

1. newborn pose ideas


Dad’s hands on baby’s head.


In nature park.


Tight shots of hands and feet.


Tight photo of hands and face.

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Dad holding baby’s head.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad and girls

Dad holding both daughter’s at the same time.

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Dad kissing baby on head.


Mom holding baby and kissing other daughter in Dad’s arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-tight face photo

Tight photo of baby’s profile.


Mom nose-to-nose with daughter while holding baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-sisters laying down togeter

Sister’s laying next to each other on the bed.


newborn-photography-ideasBaby smiling in mom’s arms.


Dad snuggling baby in arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby in bowl

Baby in a bowl with soft blankets.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby on belly

Baby on tummy with fingers near mouth.

newborn-photography-ideas-feet and handsHands and feet.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom kissing baby

Mom kissing baby in Dad’s arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby sucking hand

Baby suckling hand.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby smiling

Baby swaddled and smiling.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad kissing mom while looking at baby

Dad kissing mom while she gazes onward at baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-holding feet

Dad’s hands and baby’s feet.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad smiling at baby

Dad laughing, smiling at baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom kissing baby

Mom cuddling baby and kissing.

newborn-photography-ideas-parents laughing

Parents laughing while holding baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-head swirl

Baby’s head swirls.


Macro photos of hands and mouth.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby on side

Black and white of baby on side.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby yawning

Baby yawning.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby in white

Baby in white on dark wood floor.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby swaddled

Baby swaddled on back.

newborn-photography-ideas-big sister holding little sister

Big sister holding little sister while laughing at parents.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad gazing at baby

Dad smiling at baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-open mouth and hands

Baby with mouth open and fingers on face.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom nursing

Mom holding or nursing baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-family with dog

Whole family together and dog.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby in outfit

Baby yawning in Dad’s hands.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby fit

Baby’s feet.

Overhead photo of baby.


Mom and baby in warm tones.

newborn-photography-ideas-family playing in bed

Family playing with newborn on bed.


Baby swaddled with taupe color on white.

newborn-photography-ideas-with pompass grass

Baby swaddled in pink with pompas grass.

newborn-photography-ideas-black and white mouth

Macro photo of baby’s mouth.

newborn-photography-ideas-parents hands

Baby with both parent’s hands.


Parents in nursury with baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-on couch

Parents on couch with baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-dog on bed forgotten

Dog on bed in foreground with parents holding the baby in background.

newborn-photography-ideas-tucked into chin

Baby tucked under mom’s chin.


2. newborn prop ideas

Swaddles, headbands, lovies, onsies, pillows, building blocks, flowers, grasses.

3. DIY newborn photography