Newborn Photography Ideas

newborn-photography-ideas-baby yawning

Newborn Photography Ideas and other considerations

Why you should do a newborn family photoshoot

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.  Thinking of newborn photography ideas is the last thing on most people’s minds at this point. In this article, I’ll offer up a generous list to reference as well as all the others things to consider for your newborn family session. 


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?

newborn-photography-ideas-dad kissing mom while looking at babyThe 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 its sweet attributes. 

When should you book a newborn photoshoot?

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. You can pencil something in based on your due date.  After delivery, just email or call to firm things up.

If you really want to have a date in ink for peace of mind, scheduling 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 comes unless you’re to be induced (and even then there can be surprises).  

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


In the first 5-7 days after birth, parents, especially moms, are adjusting to a whole heap 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 life. 

Advantages of waiting longer after birth

newborn-photography-ideasYou 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, your baby will rarely have its eyes open. 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, you’ll have better luck waiting a few weeks.  Some parents even opt for the six-week mark, when you start seeing smiles. 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? 

newborn-photography-ideas-baby on bellyNow that we’ve talked through time, let’s consider the differences between DIY and professional newborn photography.  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?

newborn-photography-ideas-family with dogI 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. 

How to make things easier on yourself

Book your newborn session ahead of time. Those last few months of pregnancy are a bit like the calm before the storm. Capitalize on this time by booking your session in advance. You can go through all the steps of connecting with your photographer, talking through what to expect and how to prepare, paying a little or all of the session in advance in advance, and even penciling a date on the calendar. That way once your baby does arrive, you at least know what’s coming for one area of your life. 


The pros and cons of in-home vs. in-studio newborn photos.


Studio newborn session:

  • Less to prepare on your end. 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. 
  • A change of scenery. 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 is way too stressful. I understand both views! Do whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

In-home Newborn Session:  

  • More intimate. 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. 
  • Lighting and Backgrounds can be difficult. 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.

How to decide on the right setting for your newborn photoshoot

I always ask 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 extra lighting. 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!

What to expect during an in-studio session: 

newborn-photography-ideas-feet and handsOn the day of your session, you’ll come up to the lofted area of the studio where I have various setting options for backgrounds, including a clean white bed and a couch/living room scenario. We’ll go over any items you’ve brought and make sure there are no diaper changes or feedings necessary before we start. I typically like starting with baby first, swaddling them at the start, which often helps keep newborns feeling cozy and comforted. I’ll gently move the baby through a series of posed, but natural postures, capturing all those sweet details you don’t want to forget, like their tiny toes and itty-bitty ears. 

Then, once done with the baby alone, I’ll have you and your partner join if you’d like. Many parents like to have a few photos with their newborn, but some don’t feel ready. That’s totally normal and ok! If you are at all nervous about postpartum concerns, please let me know. I’ll always do my best to photograph you and the family in the most flattering manner possible while helping you feel comfortable and taken care of. 

Sessions are between 45 minutes to one hour, unless feedings or diaper changes are necessary. I try to pad timing for newborn sessions to account for these sorts of things. 

What to expect for an in-home session:

For newborn pictures taken at home, I bring a travel newborn kit, which includes a posing pillow, a variety of swaddles, and a few simple props. Beforehand, I recommend removing anything that might be too distracting in the background (i.e. monitors, cords, etc). I’m always happy to help you remove things as well if you need a hand. When I arrive, I can do a quick walk-through to see your space and quickly decide on a flow for the session. If any siblings are involved, I typically like to have them join at the start to ensure we don’t miss our window when they’re feeling game and happy for the pictures. I’ll give you cues to help guide you through a flow as a family, while still keeping things natural. I always photograph pictures of you all together, each parent with the newborn, and any siblings with the newborn as well. As with in-studio sessions, your little one will get their chance to shine as well with a window of pictures of just them at the end. These will be simple and natural, timeless images you’ll love having for years to come. 

Newborn pose ideas:


  • Dad’s hands are on baby’s head.


  • In nature park.


  • Tight shots of hands and feet.

newborn-photography-ideas-hands and babies head

  • The Dad holding the baby’s head in his hands.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad and girls

  • How about Dad holding both daughters at the same time?

newborn-photography-ideas-dad kissing baby

  • Dad kissing baby on the head.


  • Mom holding the baby and kissing another daughter in Dad’s arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-tight face photo

  • Tight photo of baby’s profile.

newborn-photography-ideas-sisters laying down togeter

  • Sisters laying next to each other on the bed.
  • newborn-photography-ideasBaby smiling in mom’s arms.


  • Dad snuggles the baby in his arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby in bowl

  • The baby laying in a blanket in a bowl.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom kissing baby

  • Mom kisses the baby in Dad’s arms.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby sucking hand

  • Baby suckling hand.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby smiling

  • Dad kisses mom while she gazes onward at the baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-holding feet

  • Dad’s hands and baby’s feet.

newborn-photography-ideas-dad smiling at baby

  • Dad laughs, smiling at the baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom kissing baby

  • Mom cuddles the baby and kisses its head.

newborn-photography-ideas-parents laughing

  • Parents laughing while holding the 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 the side.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby yawning

  • Baby yawning.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby in white

  • Baby in white on the dark wood floor.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby swaddled

  • Baby swaddled on the 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 the baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-open mouth and hands

  • Baby with mouth open and fingers on the face.

newborn-photography-ideas-mom nursing


newborn-photography-ideas-baby in outfit

  • The baby yawning in Dad’s hands.

newborn-photography-ideas-baby fit

  • Baby’s feet.

  • Overhead photo of the baby.


  • Mom and baby in warm tones.

newborn-photography-ideas-family playing in bed

  • Family playing with a newborn on the bed.


  • Baby swaddled with taupe color on white.

newborn-photography-ideas-with pompass grass

  • Baby swaddled in pink with pampas grass.

newborn-photography-ideas-black and white mouth

  • Macro photo of baby’s mouth.

newborn-photography-ideas-parents hands

  • Baby with both parents’ hands.


  • Parents in the nursery with baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-on couch

  • Parents on the couch with the baby.

newborn-photography-ideas-dog on bed forgotten

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

newborn-photography-ideas-tucked into chin

  • Baby tucked under mom’s chin.

2. newborn prop ideas

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

3. DIY newborn photography