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10 Tips for Photographing Your Baby
Photography Ideas

10 tips to photograph your baby
When I found out I was pregnant, the photographer in me was bursting with excitement over all the ways I could capture our little one.  Throughout my pregnancy I pinned cute newborn posing ideas on Pinterest and browsed Etsy for fun newborn hats and accessories for pictures.  My husband and I decided this baby would be our last, which added pressure to be prepared so I wouldn’t miss a thing!  In fact, (don’t judge me for being crazy obsessed) I was actually taking pictures from my hospital bed within hours after the delivery of my baby!

My baby is almost five months old now and I have learned a few things about photographing your baby so far that I want to share with you! Here are 10 tips on photographing your baby. (Forgive me for the overload of pictures of my baby)

1. Prepare while you are pregnant.

You want to gather props (i.e. baskets or blankets), clothing, or accessories you want to use to photograph your baby. Mentally prepare yourself with the look you are going for and what you will need to achieve it. Remember, do this before you have the baby. You will not have the time or energy to run around to stores looking for things as a new mom! This crocheted hat spoke to me when I saw it on Etsy. This was one of the first pictures I took of my little guy after I brought him home.

Also while pregnant, if you plan to send out a baby announcement, start thinking about what kind you want to do. If there’s a certain pose, angle, or colors that will look best with a particular announcement, you will want to consider this in your planning. I saw this pose on the web and knew I had to try it since I had four kiddos. I used this photo on my baby’s birth announcement.

2. Recruit an assistant for your newborn “session” at home.

I did one formal session at my home with props and careful posing when my baby was about a week old.  You will need someone to hold a reflector, pull the binky out of baby’s mouth, wipe spit up, fix baby’s positioning while you hold the camera, etc. Trust me, you cannot do all this alone! My 8 and 11-year-old daughters were my helpers.

Note: newborn sessions should typically be done when baby is 1-2 weeks old if you want those sleepy newborn shots!

3. Don’t worry about always getting the perfectly posed shot or you will miss the “real” moments!

Keep that camera handy and use it anytime your heart speaks to you. Capture the magic of all those special relationships. One morning I had my baby in my bed lying naked with only a diaper on. My five-year-old son came in and wanted to take his shirt off too. Then he climbed into bed and snuggled with his baby brother. Seeing them lying there together was too precious not to capture!

And don’t forget the details that tell a story. This cute drawing by my daughter was waiting in baby’s bed when we came home from the hospital.

4. Capture all the “firsts” and milestones.

Remember to grab your camera when your baby does something new. First bath, first smiles & giggles, first time eating food, sitting up, crawling, etc. And don’t forget about the video camera. We tend to take less video footage because I do so many still shots. There’s certain things that are better captured in video…like my fav, baby’s first giggles.

5. Remember to photograph MOMMY and DADDY with baby too!

Grab a friend/family member to take some shots or set up a tripod and use your self-timer or interval shooting. You will love these images when your baby gets older I promise! We had a photographer (Bella Baby Photography) take some pictures of my husband and I with the baby at the hospital. I will treasure these forever. I also love looking back at old photos of what my mother looked like when I was born. Your child will love seeing what you looked like when he/she was born.

6. Use your phone camera if your nice one isn’t handy.

I usually have my phone sitting next to me in case someone tries to call while I am nursing or otherwise occupied. Often times I want to freeze a special moment and the camera phone is better than nothing! A few weeks ago I had my baby snuggled in my arms while he was sleeping.  I didn’t want to put him down. I could have stayed like that all day! I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick one.

FYI- There’s apps out there that let you do minor editing on your phone like I did on here. A couple of my favorites are Camera+ and Instagram. Camera+ lets you change the white balance, crop, add creative processing and add borders. These apps are fun to play around with before you post your mobile pictures to facebook or the web.

7.  Schedule your baby’s “sessions” every month on your calendar.

 
Make photographing your baby a part of your monthly routine. As a tired new mom, if you don’t plan ahead, you most likely won’t get it done! I like to do a little shoot each month on the 11th, since that is the day my babe was born.

Another idea I saw on Pinterest and have been doing with my baby… I take a picture each month of him wearing a white onesie, laying on the same white blanket. I printed up some stickers that have each month printed on them that I stick to the front of his onesie. I will do a wall display/collage of the whole year when he turns one to see how he’s changed.

8. Set your aperture low for those creamy soft backgrounds.

For example, f/2.8 and use a good portrait lens, not a wide angle, which can distort. You don’t want baby’s head or feet to appear larger than normal. Recommended focal lengths for photographing babies are 50mm and 85mm. Also, the 100mm macro is great for close up details like fingers and eyelashes.

9. Keep it simple and cheap!

You don’t need elaborate backdrops or expensive lighting equipment. Babies look best when photographed in soft, natural light. Use reflectors to get catch lights in their eyes or to fill in shadows. Use a plain painted wall or a piece of bead board as a backdrop. Or my favorite, an inexpensive piece of mat board from a frame shop as your background. I have these in many colors and they come in handy a lot! Here’s a pulled back shot of my mat board setup the other day.

10. Lastly, keep in mind one of my favorite quotes, “Don’t let comparison steal your joy!”

Shoot from the heart and don’t worry about what other photographers are doing. Your images will speak to you if you let intuition guide you.  Although you may be sleep deprived and feeling un-creative most days, take advantage of those nudging feelings to grab your camera quick. What is it that impressed you today? Baby’s smile, his eyes, the way he holds your finger, or his chubby little toes…

One of the greatest gifts as a photographer is being able to capture precious images of your own children. Take advantage of your talent and bless your family with your heart-felt images of your little one!

64 Comments
  • Brandi
    April 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Great post! TFS

  • April 3, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    If only I looked that gorgeous after my son was born! Haha…

    But this was a great article, definitely gave me a little reminder since having my first child 4 years ago (suprise to us!) and then the things I actually want to PLAN as we prepared to conceive another one.

  • April 3, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Thank you for your wonderful posts! This one had great ideas! Wondering how to get the text on the photo in #7?

    • Courtney
      April 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      Tiffany, you can use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to do that. If you don’t have have either one of those programs. Check out PicMonkey which is a free program where you can add words to photos. Here is a post I wrote about it – http://www.thesitsgirls.com/blog-community-2/watermark-images/

      • Tiffany Doorn
        April 4, 2012 at 2:06 AM

        Thank you Courtney!

  • Mindi
    April 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Thanks for these great tips! I a, hoping for one kore baby and look forward to using them. Especially love the idea of using a mat board for a simple background.

  • Laura
    April 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Thanks for these great tips. I wish I’d planned more ahead of time with my last one. He just turned 5 months old and he’ll be our last. The time is flying by so fast that I just want to make it stop just for a little while. Like all busy mommas, finding the time to photograph him as I really should is hard, but this post has really inspired me to make more of an effort. I’ll never be able to go back to this time in his life, but I can at least be reminded of these precious moments through the photographs.

  • Liz
    April 4, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Great post, thanks for sharing! I wish I had read this when my kids were babies. My question is, how do you get such great lighting all around your house (in your bed with the boys, in the bathtub etc)? Your pictures don’t look grainy at all and when I am trying to do something in my house like this I have to bump my ISO way up and they always turn out grainy and sometimes ISO at it’s highest is still dark. Thanks!

    • April 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      I have certain areas of my house that get great light at certain times of the day. My bedroom for example has a huge sliding door right by my bed. I shoot in the mornings in my bedroom since those windows get morning sun. Open up your shades and curtains completely when you take pictures. And open up every window shade in the room, even the ones across the room. Any available light you can add is great. Watch throughout the day what areas of your home get good light and what time, then plan your shots at those times. I also use my speedlight flash sometimes at night by bouncing the flash off the ceiling or white walls.

  • Gen
    April 4, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Fantastic tips – thanks!

    I was wondering what you plan to do with your baby’s photos – are you going to create a photo book or are you printing them and putting into a scrapbook? I can’t seem to decide and I have so many! Would love to know your thoughts.

    • April 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      Sorry I am just now responding to you! Baby= limited computer time! Anyways, I am planning to put my images in a photo book. Sadly, I don’t scrapbook anymore since it is too time consuming. I plan on creating a photo book of my baby’s first year using a month to month format. I will probably do 2-4 pages of photos per month in age. I plan to highlight my favorite images (or use the ones with him in his white onesies/sticker) by printing them big using a full page in the book. I would only use your images you are most proud of or that truly capture the different stages well for your book. I usually print up the other snapshots as 4×6’s (the ones I don’t use in a nice printed book) and put them in a photo album…the kind with the sectioned plastic pages. I like to have my photos printed up in case something were to happy to my digital copies.

      • Gen
        April 12, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        Thanks Jennifer, that’s a good idea to just put the good photos in the photobook – it would be one huge photobook otherwise!!!

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Wonderful post! Love the tips, they’ll surely be helpful!

  • April 6, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    What a GREAT article! I loved this and all of the advice. :)

  • Christi
    April 7, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Great tips! I love the tip #7 ideas and photos, especially the one with the stats down the side. That is a brilliant idea just like the pregnancy ones Courtney does on here.

  • April 7, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Julie
    April 8, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Thank you for your tips. I totally agree that planning while pregnant is essential. Once the baby comes, there is NO time!

  • Heather Simmons
    April 12, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Thank you for the tips! My baby girl is 10 months old and I have so many pictures! She changes so much everyday!!

  • Jaclyn
    April 15, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Hi there! Just curious what Etsy shop you purchased the adorable crocheted hat for in #1?

  • April 19, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    LOVE the idea of the milestones recorded on the photo –

  • Beverly
    May 22, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Thanks for posting. I love #7. I’ve been taking pictures of my baby every month on his birthday. I would love to print them with his “stats” down the side. What program do you use to add text? Just wondering. Thanks

  • May 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    These pictures are bueitufal. by far better than anne geddes. I am so very happy for you and scott. a baby is the most bueitufal thing i am glad that god has given you the opportunity to experience motherhood..

  • Brooke
    May 26, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    I love these ideas. I am interested in replicating the one you did for idea #7, Schedule a session. Do you have a template you can post? What was the format where you had writing on the right side? Thanks!

    • May 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      I’m so sorry, I didn’t use a template. I just used the text tool in photoshop to write down the side of the photo. Check out comment #4 above by Courtney, where she gives more suggestions on how to add writing to your photos.

  • Haley
    June 1, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Just found your blog and I’m loving it! I just had my first baby three months ago-wish I had found these tips a little earlier though . . . oh well! Never too late to put your tips to good use!
    One question off the subject, where did you get you dress in the four month picture? It is so cute!
    THANKS!!!

    • June 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      You are going to die…Target (last year…sorry)! Funny, this picture was posted on a fashion blog alongside all these high fashion images. I was dying. If only they knew I paid $20 for that dress…ha ha!

  • nathalia
    July 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Great blog Jennifer, I’m having my baby in a month and this gives me great ideas, I have one question, where did you get the baby bath tub in #4?, I just love it and haven’t seen anything like it, would be really helpful if I could find something like that. has any particular name or brand?

    thanks!!!

  • Yvonne
    July 12, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    I love your tips and helpful ideas. I can’t figure out how to resize my photos so I can add a border and they will look great in a 5×7 or 8×10 when it is printed. The borders are always cut off. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

  • Mia
    July 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Love it!!! I wish I had read this 16 months ago! oxox

  • Megan
    September 16, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    I love the photo with the stats on it. Did you do that each month?! Have you posted all of them?

    • November 7, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      Sorry for the last response. Just noticed your comment! I did the photo with the stats about every 3 months. I will post them all this month on my blog at some point since my baby is turning one.

  • September 26, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Thanks for posting this! I needed to hear tip 10 tonight – it is so easy to go from ‘searching for inspiration’ to ‘I’ll never be THAT good.’ so thanks for the reminder of what is important!

  • Jen Lucas
    October 10, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Great post! I’m wondering if you have any tips on selecting, or choosing fabrics for baby photography? What’s a good fabric that won’t irritate a newborn’s skin?

    • November 7, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      Aden & Anais swaddle blankets are my favorite for photographing newborns. I like solid colors or a very subtle print so it doesn’t distract from the baby. I like to be able to swaddle them tight so you can see how small they are, so a thin blanket usually works best. I love chenille for newborns or anything cotton should be fine for their skin.

  • Melissa Vlaskalin
    October 24, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Hi Jennifer,
    Your blog is excellent. I really appreciate the tips. I am wondering though how to use a reflector. Do I need one for my in home pictur taking?

    • November 7, 2012 at 1:06 AM

      Sorry for the late response! Reflectors come in handy when you need to reflect light into shadowed areas. I use mine in my home when I need to fill shadows while shooting food, as well as in backlight (windows behind subject) to reflect light back into my subject’s faces when the main window light is behind them. They are nice when you just need a little boost of light.

  • December 26, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Thats a Really Really Nice Photo Collection
    thanks

  • Randi
    March 17, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    The 4mo milestone pic, do you have the other months posted? I would love to see like what you wrote to help me attempt this one on my own

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  • June 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly loved every bit of
    it. I have got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…

  • June 5, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Great great tips! Thank you so much! Something I’ll have to keep in mind in a few years when we expect another baby again.

  • July 2, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    This website really has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  • Lourdes
    July 9, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    Loved this, lots of awesome information, but I do have a question. I am new at taking pictures and want to take some of my kids and newborn, I was wondering what editing software you use? I want to set up pictures in their rooms and as the center photo I want to use one with a gray scale background with only them in color, I just want to know what software would be best for that or any kind of editing. Thanks

  • July 20, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Great suggestions and absolutely love the ‘4 months’ pic idea, summarizing ‘the firsts’. Also enjoyed the family pics. Beautiful work!

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  • Gina
    August 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    How did you create the photo with the 4 month old and the milestones? Is there an app you can use to do that?

    Thanks

  • Rosmery
    September 17, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    Hi
    Great post!!..how did you make the stickers with the months on them? I have a newborn and would love to do that every month

    • Jen Bacher-Contributor
      November 22, 2013 at 4:24 AM

      I used 8.5×11 sheets that are stickers (you can get them at office supply stores) then designed them in Photoshop and printed them up. I cut out each circle out with the scissors, peeled off the back and stuck it to his onesie. Super easy!

  • September 18, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Howdy, You have done a wonderful job. I’m going to definitely reddit them along with independently highly recommend to my local freinds. I am comfortable they’re going to be took advantage of this web site.

  • October 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    these are great tips!!! may i ask what camera do you use to capture all of this?? I currently have the G1

    • Jen Bacher-Contributor
      November 22, 2013 at 4:25 AM

      I used my Canon 5D Mark ii

  • Mindy
    January 8, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Was curious of what your favorite lens is to shoot newborns. What about a maco lens too? :)

  • February 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Thanks for all the great tips. I especially love #10. Keep up the great work :)

  • Lili Nis
    June 11, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Thanks,like it so much,am in 30weeks now,n this should be our last;)

  • August 16, 2014 at 4:21 AM

    Thanks for your useful post

  • Junior
    January 3, 2015 at 5:45 PM

    Parabens pelo seu trabalho , adoraria tirar fotos do meu bebe com voce!!!!! moro no Brazil,
    congrattulations for you job, i wanna make photograf my bebe with you , but live in Brazil

  • January 31, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    I’m doing a newborn session tomorrow for my nephew’s new baby and am excited/nervous. Your tips are wonderful and I really love what you said at the very end – “Shoot from the heart and don’t worry about what other photographers are doing. Your images will speak to you if you let intuition guide you.” I think those words are wonderful advice for any photographer getting his/her feet wet in any aspect of the field. I needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

  • JULIA
    May 18, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    Great tips. Hubs and I are on a tight budget (just bought a house that we are doing COMPLETE renovations)

    So for my birthday recently he bought me a fancy camera so I could do all my own shots. It has been fun but I am very inexperienced and not sure how to use this camera to the best of it’s ability. So #8 was helpful. I hope to figure it out soon so I can do her 6 month photos myself.

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  • Susana
    September 11, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Hi! I just found your blog and absolutely love it. I am a very amateur photographer and just gave birth (1 week ago) and want to photograph my newborn. I have a Cannon Rebel t3i, lens kit and a 50mm 1.8 lens. After reading most of your post (so thankful for the info you share) I have one question: is there a way to get creamy smooth skin tones without having to edit in computer afterwards? Thank you so much for your posts and answer.

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