How to plan a picture-perfect newborn photo session

If you’ve just welcomed a newborn into the world, then your life has probably changed beyond recognition. Amidst the fatigue and overwhelming emotions is an adorable new human to make your family complete. A newborn photo session is a perfect way to capture this fleeting moment in time, with gorgeous photos you can share with family and friends or present in a custom-designed baby photo album. 

But between the crying and pooping, babies can be less than perfect models. So to help you plan a stress-free and memorable newborn photo session, here are a few tips to keep in mind.  

1. Determine your vision

First things first. Understanding the style and aesthetic you’re after is key to finding the professional newborn photographer that’s right for you. Each has their own look and feel, which may (or may not) appeal to you. Read reviews from previous parents to see what the experience was like for them and how happy they were with the end result. Once you’ve decided on a photographer, clearly communicate with them what you’re looking for and any colours, props, backdrops that you really want. You can also chat with them about particular shots you love or send them through inspiration you’ve found online and want to recreate during your newborn photo session. 

2. Schedule your session before giving birth

When you’re still pregnant, it’s easy to have visions of a breezy newborn photo session with a relax baby in front of the camera. But once your baby arrives, the sleepless nights and stress of early parenthood take hold and it’s just one more thing forgotten with the onset of “baby brain”. That’s why we recommend you schedule in your newborn photo session near the end of your pregnancy and plan for it to take place between 5 and 10 days after birth. Babies are easier to pose during these early days and you’ll still have that pregnancy glow!

3. Plan your outfits and props

Those final (quiet) days of being pregnant will also give you plenty of time to pick out any outfits and props and have them packed and ready to go. Consider knitted hats and matching stocks, stuffed animal toys and rustic baskets or perhaps a family heirloom that holds a special place in your heart. You may also want to organise some cosy blankets or pillows for baby to sleep on that can be draped over the couch. 

When it comes to outfits, prepare two or three different options – any more changes will probably stress your baby out! If you’re planning on diaper shots, consider buying a cute set of bloomers or diaper cover to distract from the plastic.

4. Select a convenient location

Unless you’re going to the photographer’s studio, we recommend holding your newborn photo session in the comfort of your own home. It’s a space that your baby is already familiar with and you have everything you need in the one place. You might be concerned that your post-baby home is an absolute mess. But professional photographers are experts at finding suitable locations and cropping out the chaos. Provided you have a room with lots of natural light to work with, they should be able to work their magic. 

If you’re envisioning a newborn photo session outdoors, such as in a local park, just make sure you bring lots of cosy blankets and beanies to keep your baby warm. Avoid selecting anywhere that will require the use of flash or off-camera lights as babies’ eyes are still quite sensitive during their first days out in the big, wide world. 

5. Create a warm atmosphere

Most parents are looking for some adorable photos of their baby naked during their newborn photo session, so it’s essential that your house or space is warm enough that they’re comfortable unclothed. We recommend creating a temperature of around 80°F or 26°C before your session starts and maintaining this throughout so that your baby sleeps soundly. 

If you are planning on capturing some naked shots, it’s a good idea to loosen your baby’s diaper beforehand so that they don’t end up with diaper lines. You should also pack a few extra wipes, as accidents with a naked baby are just part of life!

6. Organise family and pet cameos

While your newborn baby is always the star of the photo session, you might also want to include shots with their older sibling(s), the family pet and (of course) the proud parents. Just keep in mind that the more people and portraits involved, the longer you should schedule your photo session. If you do plan on having young children and animals involved, it’s a good idea to have someone other than yourself on hand to keep them calm while you’re busy with the baby. 

7. Embrace the need to feed

Chances are your newborn will need to be fed at some point during the photo session, with a quick drink and cuddle enough to send them back to sleep. This is a great opportunity to capture some special nursing moments between you and your baby, but only if you’re comfortable with your photographer being there. Be sure to communicate any discomfort you feel (such as any C-section pain) so that your photographer can help you to get in the most comfortable position possible. It’s also a good idea to feed your newborn around 30 minutes before the start of the shoot so that they’re happy and (hopefully) relaxed at the beginning.  

Capture those treasured newborn moments

There’s nothing quite like those first days when a baby comes into the world, which is why capturing your newborn’s earliest moments is so important. Amidst the chaos of sleepless nights and learning the ins and outs of parenthood, it can be easy to forget what a treasured time this is. So rather than letting the opportunity slide by, plan ahead to document your newborn’s first moments and showcase them in a custom baby photo album.

Need ideas for your Baby photo album, read our blog about creative, fun ideas for creating a custom baby photo book

Or simply read 15 photos to capture in baby’s first year to make sure you don’t miss taking the photographs that count and make for the best first year of memories.

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