As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).

2.  Lots of photos of the specific type of session that you want to book.  Another thing you might want to consider is that although your wedding photographer may have done a fantastic job on your wedding photos, that doesn’t mean she’ll be any good at taking posed photos of your newborn baby.  It’s a totally different skill set!  Similarly, if you’re thinking about using your newborn photographer for family photos, you may want to check out her family sessions and make sure you like her style.  She probably won’t be having you all squish up into a bucket and pretend to sleep, so her family photo style could look quite a bit different from her newborn style. 🙂  If you have young kids, make sure they’ve got a lot of experience working with busy little ones.  If you’re looking for senior portraits, make sure they know how to pose teens in a flattering way.  These are all things that we as photographers study and we’ve all chosen to specialize in different areas.
Firstly timing your shots is important. Babies don’t move much but they subtly change their position and expressions in ways that can make or break a photo. I’ve had my camera set in continuous shooting mode since Xavier was born because I find that shooting a single frame often misses ‘the moment’. I’ve also ended up with some wonderful sequences of shots by shooting off three or four shots in a row.
Babies look peaceful while sleeping — and they are also easier to work with for photographs because they aren’t going to pull out of that swaddle. That doesn’t mean you can’t photograph a newborn that’s wide awake, but be aware that many of the poses you see aren’t possible with an alert baby because they wiggle out of that perfect placement of the hands and toes.
Professionalism is seen in the details. Pay attention to how their presentation is, the care with their website, with their social networks, the attention that the person gives you. Does the photographer treat clients as just one more job? Or do every customer is important? Do you realize that they love what they do? Paying attention to these little details can help you choose or discard professionals.
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!
The absolute beauty of digital photography is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot. It might be tempting to delete images that don’t work right away but just hold fire. There is plenty of time for culling in post-production. You don’t need to add another job on the wedding day. Additionally, you have to think that images can be manipulated in the editing, whether that’s cropping or sharpening slightly. Another point is that your mistakes allow you to see where you went wrong and help you to improve.
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
i love this article. I feel so much more capable of taking my own newborn photos rather then spending an arm and a leg for a photographer. I know O have a lot to still learn but my husband and I have debated on buying a nice camera to have throughout the years. What brand and model would you suggest knowing I want to take newborn photos with it. I feel like there is something out there that doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles but will still get the job done. Thanks so much!

Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
While it may work out amazingly, you run the risk of things getting a bit awkward with your friend if you really don’t like the pictures (know your friend and their sensitivity to such things: will they be completely offended if you don’t like the shots and decide to get a different photographer or if you want to take photos again? You don’t want to damage a friendship over family pictures!).

4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!

Lisa Felthous Photography aims to tell the story behind every portrait. The photography studio, based in Sachse, shoots newborn portraits, maternity portraits, child portraits, adult and couple photos, family photos, senior portraits, and corporate headshots. Lisa Felthouse uses a spontaneous and passionate approach toward her photography. Clients have praised the photographer for her eye for detail, inventive photos, and hard work to get the perfect shot.


Kimberly Fain Photography is located in old town Burleson. This photography studio specializes in newborn, maternity, and the first year of life sessions. Owner and photographer Kimberly Fain provides many options to display the beautiful images, including prints, mounted prints, gallery wrapped canvases, metals, acrylics, and beautiful heirloom albums. Clients may purchase digital packages, print packages, or à la carte prints as well. Kimberly's clients have left rave reviews for her abilty to create stunning galleries with a welcoming personality, and she is also a member of the Professional Photographers of America.
MOST PARENTS PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR DAUGHTER IN A SWIMMING COMPETITION WOULD BE HAPPY TO GET A SHOT LIKE THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM. BUT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER REMOVES ALL OF THE ABERRATIONS OR CLUTTER OUT OF THE BACKGROUND. I SHOT THIS PICTURE IN A HOTEL POOL, SO I CREATED A BLACK BACKGROUND TO GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY CLUTTER SO THAT ALL THE VIEWER'S ATTENTION WOULD BE PLACED ON THE ACTION.
I love to celebrate each of my client’s uniqueness during your photographic session. No experience will ever be the same, which is what I love the most about what I do! I strive to learn as much as I can about each individual in your family before our photo session so that each individual’s personality shines through in your images. Don’t forget to request my style guide for great tips on what to wear, location ideas, and everything in between!
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

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.
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