You should be able to get amazing newborn and baby photography results with almost any camera and lens if you simply learn the proper lighting, creativity, and camera angles for newborn photography. Though a professional camera like a Canon 5K Mark III, a full frame camera, will give you better overall image quality than an advanced point and shoot camera like a Sony NEX, a camera like the Sony NEX will likely be sufficient for capturing great images of newborns. Below is a quick side-by-side showing images from the two cameras mentioned above with the Canon 5D Mark III image on the left and the Sony NEX image on the right. For more on this, be sure to check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.

Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.

You’ve probably seen a wide variety of newborn baby poses, from a sweet swaddle to a baby in a basket or hanging in a sling from a branch. Lots of the poses you may have seen might take half an hour just to set up, and some actually require having an assistant hold the baby in position and then editing out the assistant’s hands in post processing. Some people love these more creative poses; some people hate them. Personally I think some (when well done) are kind of cool, but I really prefer more natural poses that don’t look contrived. Since my goal here is to help you take better photos of your own newborn at home, I’m going to share three simple, go-to poses that you’ll be able to use without extra equipment (or even extra help).
Pro tip: "Using props for a maternity session should have a special meaning," Denver family photographer Jermaine Amado says. "The most common props for maternity pictures are shoes, a onesie, an ultrasound picture, block letters for the baby's name and a book. Since you will be incorporating a prop in your pictures, most of the time the focus will be on the prop. But you can change it up and shift the focus from the prop to the family or belly. Sometimes it's an amazing shot to see the belly and family, then have your focus shift over to see blurred baby shoes or an ultrasound picture."
Not really! But if you are shooting at a gorgeous venue that’s the reason the bride and groom have booked it. Allow a bit of time to wander around the grounds and capture the venue from various angles. These photos can also be used to practice shots and imagine the couple within them. If you do a good job the venue might want to hire you to take advertising shots of their venue. Equally, they might just recommend you to potential couples. You never know!
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.
It’s important to know a little about the photographer you are choosing. Read their “about” page, talk to them, understand their motivations and style. If they have a blog, read their blog, look for connections, ask them questions. When a connection between the photographer and the family happens, the chances of the job flowing well are huge. The family feels more relaxed and the photographer feels free to create. The result is usually the best it could be.
The first thing that I want to mention is that if you currently own an SLR camera DO NOT immediately go and sell your camera in order to purchase one of the cameras here. Just because I perhaps don’t mention your camera in this article doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for portrait or wedding photography. You may just want to keep this article in mind for future purchase, or upgrades.
Light stands – You need one stand for each light. As a rule of thumb, the heavier your light is (along with the light modifier), the sturdier your stands need to be. Don’t invest in cheap gear or you will risk your lights being too unstable and wobbly. Prefer stands that extend to 2.4 metres and higher, as often the lights are above the model. It is also useful to have a small stand. This can light the model from below or to hide your rim/background light behind the model.
If you’re preparing your birth announcements, don’t forget take a look at our guide on birth announcement wording to answer all of your questions on birth announcement etiquette. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your pregnancy and not yet ready to schedule newborn photos a few months out, you can start preparation for your maternity photos instead, using our time frames on when to take maternity photos.Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
Jonas Peterson has been in the wedding photography scene for a long time. With blog posts on his website along going back as far as 2008 it’s clear to see why he is highly regarded within the industry. We get the sense that with Jonas’s work it is all about the story. We found this quote from an interview he did with Norwegian Wedding Blog where he says –

Here’s why: The thing that takes the most time with family formals is gathering everyone together and getting people organized. If you set up your wedding day photography timeline to do the bride and her family and the groom and his family separate before the ceremony and then the bride + groom and both of their families together after the ceremony, then we have to gather families three times instead of just one. Moreover, the difference between the group “Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents” and the group “Bride + Bride’s Parents” is just saying “Groom, can you step out for a second?” which takes about 3 seconds to quickly re-arrange and will save you time in the end.
Danielle and Tony are the husband and wife team of professional photographers behind Mon Petit Chou Photography. Based in Toronto, we specialize in maternity, newborn, baby, family and lifestyle photography. Our style is natural and relaxed, and we strive to create a custom experience for each family that we work with. Learn more about us or get in touch.
You may have already done a shoot with the couple just after the Ceremony and safely have some awesome shots. However, there is something special about the light just as the sun is setting and you should definitely exploit it. Learning to use the light at sunset will once again come with experience. Do you want to shoot with the sun on the couple? Or do you want to shoot backlit? Both methods can yield stunning mantelpiece worthy photos.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
No one is going to be so late that they miss your entire ceremony and then some (at least it is very unlikely). If you let your immediate families know to just be in a certain spot after the ceremony, then you can save yourselves a LOT of headaches and get your family formals done super quickly and efficiently while still getting awesome photos of the people you love.
Keep on the look out for those times in your baby’s life when he or she seems most settled and content. They may not smile yet but there are times in a daily routine which are better than others for photos. I find in Xavier’s day there are a couple of moments that are especially good. One is bath time (he loves it) and another is mid morning after he’s had half of a feed and when we let him have a little ‘play’ before finishing his feed off. These are times when we’re guaranteed to get wide open eyes and even a giggle or two.
Don’t stop me now. I’m having such a good time. I’m having a ballll. Ooops got a bit carried away there. Seriously a wedding is fast paced so you need to work at the speed of light. This mainly comes with the experience of knowing what will happen and when. Following this sort of wedding photography tutorial will certainly help to know exactly what to expect.
You never know where your next big referral will come from, so you have to be prepared! Make sure to add those stunning newborn baby pics to your online portfolio, so prospective clients can see your infant photography skills. The more amazing newborn photo shoots and newborn photos you have on your portfolio, the more folks will want to hire you to shoot their little ones!
Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).
Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…

"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"

A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up. Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
DO back up extensively. A common mistake among nonprofessionals, says Pike, is inadequately backing up wedding files. This includes immediate Internet, hard drive, and DVD backups, but also instructing the wedding couple that they, too, are responsible for backing up digital wedding pictures. Also, as you pull full memory cards from your camera, store them securely, all in the same location. "One of the worst things that can happen is losing a memory card," warns Kwan.

Angela Weedon Photography is a premier family photographer serving the Dallas area for more than 16 years. They are dedicated to producing timeless wall portraits and heirloom albums featuring families, expectant mothers, newborns, and children. Their team is also highly experienced in photographing high school seniors. Angela Weedon Photography was listed in D Magazine’s Best of Big D in 2011.
For cameras and camcorders, it really pays to buy a card reader if you don't have the necessary media slot in your system, though most recent computers have at least an SD card slot. While you can connect the devices directly to your computer, standalone drives or slots tend to be a bit faster, and the goal of this exercise is to make downloading as painless as possible so that you'll actually do it regularly. Phones, on the other hand, tend to have inconveniently located spots for their flash media, and use tiny, easy-to-lose microSD cards. You're better off leaving those in the device. Tablets fall somewhere between, some with only built-in memory, some with easily accessible SD slots.

that blend with the the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. A handful of flowers that are a natural, neutral color or that coordinate with color pops in the subjects’ clothing, a vintage camera, a basket of apples, or the absolute best type of prop is something that is meaningful to the subject (grandpa’s vintage camera, their favorite stuffed animal, a quilt made by great grandma, the family’s beloved pet). But don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot.
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