I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not as experienced in newborn shoots as I am with other types and my latest one just kicked my butt! I’ve been trying to edit a particular image for 2 days. And then… I found your tutorials and it made all the difference in the world. I also really needed to see that you started out shaky with your own kids and how you’d improved. Sometimes, I forget it’s ok that I don’t know everything yet. Thanks again!
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.

As you’re looking through portfolios, keep an eye out for what identifies the photographer’s portfolio as distinctly their own. It might be that they take super crisp images with really high quality lenses. Or maybe they use their grandfather’s camera to take old school black and whites. A photographers’ favorite tool will tell you a lot about the way they see the world (and while you can get an idea of this from their portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. I could geek out forever over my plungercam. And any photographer who uses film could spend hours telling you why).
"Simply put, Gabi & Brandon were the best decision we made at our adventure elopement. They captured every moment so effortlessly and made both of us feel so comfortable in front of the camera, which is a huge deal for two awkward people like ourselves. We couldn't be happier with how our photos turned out, and hope to work with these two again someday! Thanks for everything you two!"

In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns.  On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more.  Click below to see the workshop details.
Our portrait studios have multiple camera rooms featuring professional lighting systems, along with the latest trends in scenic and full-color backgrounds. Our trained photographers use professional hand-held digital cameras, allowing them to move and interact with you to capture candid expressions.  Once your session is complete, you'll sit down with your photographer to select your favorite images, add special effects and even order custom photo gifts and keepsakes using your portraits.  All of your portraits are printed on-site, using a cutting-edge digital printing system that produces breathtaking, high-resolution images printed on the finest archival-quality, portrait paper guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. I really try to be “consistently inconsistent” (I recently heard another photographer, Nate Kaiser of theimageisfound.com, use this term and I had to pirate it). Let me explain, you’ve got to approach each shoot as it’s own. I’m very committed as a photographer to tailoring each shoot for the subject I’m photographing. Like I said before, this is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.
Our adventure elopement in Sedona was everything we dreamed it would be! We can’t say enough about Gabi and Brandon. They are down to earth, so friendly, relatable and fun to hang out with. They surprised us after our hike to our picture location with Italian “champagne” to toast, and Brandon packed in about a dozen candles I really wanted incorporated at the last minute and was happy to do anything to make our day perfect! Gabi is incredible! She was like having a maid of honor to fix your hair, dress, hold your dress and bouquet WHILE running around like crazy - climbing, running, laying on the ground - whatever it took to get the perfect shot! These two are incredible. Everyone we know has said our photos are the best they’ve ever seen, and I can’t agree more.
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.

Some photographers work only on location; others work only in studio with backdrops. Think about the setting you prefer, as well as your timing constraints. Do you have extended family visiting for a limited time who will be part of your portrait session? If so, even if you prefer outdoor photography, you may still need a photographer who also has a studio so that you have a rain plan.
Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. One of the best ways to understand lighting is to hold up your hand and face your palm toward a window. Then start rotating your hand back and forth and look at the different ways shadows are cast on your hand as you move it around. If you face your hand directly at the window, the light falls very evenly and cleanly, but if you start moving your hand at a ninety degree angle away from the window, it creates shadows that make your hand look moody and dramatic. This is what photographers do all day. We analyze light. So as you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios, you’ll start to notice that we all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light is totally different, and therefore the photos are totally different.
Great tips, I especially love the one about safety first, it’s scary the positions that some people put newborn babies in for the sake of photos! I also agree with your comment about the images looking the same at times. We have to remember that while it might be the same old thing for us, it’s the first time for this family portrait session, and this baby.

Do you ever find that when you’re summoned to participate in a group photo, you’re suddenly angling your body slightly left to hide that mommy tummy or tilting your head up a fraction to lose the double-chin? Maybe we do this because we can’t trust the photographer to take the photo at our best angle, so we try achieving it ourselves. Babies are going to have to trust us as the photographers to capture their best angle (Can you picture your baby saying, “Oh please, this angle is so not right for me, all you can see is my cradle cap!"?). Play around with different angles as you take your photos and don’t stop once you think you’ve got a good one. If you’re baby is still holding his pose, keep shooting!
I’m brand new at this photography thing, i really am falling in love with it and its time for me to buy a camera. I tend to do more portraits, head shots and dance photos, But it would also might be nice to grow into something like shooting a wedding so I’m looking for a camera that has fast autofocus, something where the f stop remains the same on the zoom, probably a 85-100mm lens. Anything you could perhaps recommend? I was looking at the EOS 70D or the 6D. What do you think?-Zach

Don’t be afraid to move the parents around and tell them where they need to be. Even if you’re just casually photographing your neighbor’s family, you’re the professional and people will listen. If a location isn’t working or the light is poor in a certain area, suggest an alternative in a positive way. Say something like, “Why don’t we try moving into that large open shade area by that tree, it will give us a break from this heavy sun”, rather than, “The light is horrible here, let’s move”.
LeTisha Nichole Photography is a mobile portrait studio serving the Dallas area, specializing in maternity, birth, and newborn photography. They are known for top-notch service, beautifully archiving everyday and milestone moments among mothers and children in the comfort of their home. The studio is also equipped with a styling center that assists subjects in looking their best. Clients commend photographer LeTisha Nichole for her keen eye for detail, professionalism, and patience.
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."
I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
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#1 - the umbrella is to make the light spread out over a larger area which softens it. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer - not true. If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will - but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. Light quality is related to the size of the light source - nothing else.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
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.
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.

Kimberly Wylie Photography specializes in newborn photography in the Dallas area. The photo studio uses creative settings to create original portraits of babies, children, families, and expecting mothers. Kimberly Wylie is a PPA Master Photographer who regularly presents photography workshops. The business was voted The Best Portrait Photographer of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area by WFAA Channel 8 in 2015, and Kimberly's work is regularly featured in Fox 4's GOOD DAY. The Kimberly Wylie Photography studio has a kid's playroom to create a stress-free experience.


Once you are ready after hair and makeup, we will meet up at your location of choice. Do you need to know how to pose? Nope, that’s what you have me for! I know tons of ways to position you based on your body type and what you are wearing. The slightest movement one way or another, can make the biggest difference on how you look on camera…I’ve studied it, and I can help you get those magazine style poses!
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.
Your photographer may have some unique locations and places in mind for your photo shoot. Chat with them to see if those locations interest you. “I would like to take some photos by the water. Do you know of a nice lake or stream nearby that might serve as a good location?” Your photographer may have a list of their favorite spots for you to choose from.
Babies have always been a passion of mine. My mother owned an in-home daycare until I was 12 years old and she then became a full time mom. Babies have been my life for as long as I can remember and I love to be around them everyday watching them learn and giggle. This is more than just pictures to me- these are memories. Its your babies personality shining through the images that makes me love this so much more. I am a PROUD surrogate mother of boy/girl twins that are two years old. And, my wife, Ana delivered our own boy/girl twins Ford and Davis in June 2018!
Equally important to whether we eat is when we eat. The best time for us to take a few minutes to get a few calories down is when you (the bride+groom) are eating. Why? Because that is normally the only time of day that people don’t really want photos (pictures of people eating are probably the least flattering photos we could possibly take) and when no other events are happening. If we have to wait until after the guests are all served, you will be done eating and ready for toasts, dances, mingling, and other things that make for great photos! So, if possible, let your caterer/coordinator know that we will need to eat at the same time as you and schedule that into your wedding day photography timeline in order to make sure we don’t miss anything.
These are great tips to take photos of your pregnancy. The best dates for pregnancy photo shoot are going to be towards the end of your pregnancy but not too soon as to be in the possible delivery window. Yes there are early babies and they just want to come out and see you sooner. Ask your photographer to book your maternity photos from weeks 34 and 35 where you will be showing the most and still have several weeks til possible delivery.
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
Babies have always been a passion of mine. My mother owned an in-home daycare until I was 12 years old and she then became a full time mom. Babies have been my life for as long as I can remember and I love to be around them everyday watching them learn and giggle. This is more than just pictures to me- these are memories. Its your babies personality shining through the images that makes me love this so much more. I am a PROUD surrogate mother of boy/girl twins that are two years old. And, my wife, Ana delivered our own boy/girl twins Ford and Davis in June 2018!
With Jessica Cook as your newborn photographer, you’ll get stunning photographs of your growing family. The studio offers digital images with all of our packages. So, you will receive your edited digital files with a print release. They also offer printing services from a professional lab. So, you can get professional prints, albums, canvases and custom woodblocks to feature around your home at an affordable price.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
Hi Linda! Perfect, so glad you love the article I hope you signed up for our mailing list to get your newborn toolkit and other freebies to help get you going quickly and lastly, you are among the first to know that we are working on finishing up our complete Newborn Photography Workshop Course which will be out at the end of the year…it will be an amazing product though which we are so excited for!
Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, bu