Get the Best From Your Newborn Photo Session


Photographing Newborns – Tips For Getting the Best From Your Photo Session

By Christie Stockstill

When should I schedule my newborn’s portrait session? Newborn babies are best photographed in their first couple of weeks in the world. Some parents like to wait until the belly button heals, and others really want that stage of life captured in a photo, but, since that usually happens during the first two weeks, for once it is possible to please everyone.

During those first two weeks a newborn baby sleeps most of the time and in most any place, so getting them to stay still atop a pile of pillows, placed in a basket, or held up in Daddy’s hands is a much simpler task. Right after birth a baby remains kind of curled up in the fetal position, but before the end of the first month, babies begin to stretch out, making it harder to keep them safely in those precious poses.

Many professional photographers get booked up to two months ahead of time. To make sure you are able to schedule a session during that small two-week window, it’s a good idea to hire a photographer before you deliver your baby. Besides, once you bring home that bundle of joy, you will be much too busy (and tired) to spend time finding the right photographer.

Professional photographers who specialize in child photography understand that babies rarely come on the days they are due. It’s nice if you can give your photographer a heads up if your due date has come and gone, but you are still very pregnant!

What should my newborn wear for the photo session? The short answer is nothing! Newborns are perfect candidates for naked photos! Not only does nakedness highlight their innocence and newness, but also clothing is often ill fitting and tends to overpower the baby and dominate the image.

Why should I hire a professional photographer? I’m taking a million pictures myself. Of course new moms and dads (and grandmas and grandpas and friends) are going to take tons of pictures of your new baby. You will get some fabulous images because you have 24-hour access to an incredibly adorable subject. You should absolutely document all of those special moments, cute faces, and first experiences. Here are some benefits to hiring a professional photographer for your newborn portrait session.

  • You get to be in the pictures, too! One problem with you taking all of the pictures is that you don’t get to be in the pictures. With newborns, there is a wonderful opportunity for beautifully intimate skin-on-skin portraits (dad kissing baby on the forehead, mom and dad holding baby close, or even tasteful portraits of baby breastfeeding.)
  • One word: Lighting. Professional photographers know about lighting. When visiting the home of a client, your photographer will likely begin looking for the best places to take the photos using natural light. However, if there is little light available, or if parents have requested a style that requires additional lights, he or she will have them ready, and know how to use them. The flash from a point and shoot camera can provide additional light, but it is often directed straight at the subject and can be too harsh for anyone, let alone a newborn baby.
  • Experience. When you hire a professional photographer, you are getting the insight and knowledge that he or she has gained from taking pictures of many newborn babies and their families. From previous shoots, we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, what will translate into an amazing print and what won’t. Professional child photographers know all of the classic newborn portrait shots, and are constantly brainstorming to ensure something unique and fresh for each new family.
  • Props. Last, in addition to gaining experience from each session, a photographer may also accrue “props,” which he or she will make available to you. Using the items that belong to the baby results in lovely environmental photos that provide that sentimental touch, but using something out of the ordinary like an unusual chair, an antique suitcase or a giant mirror will differentiate your pictures from others, and generally, professional photographers remain on the lookout for those uncommon objects.

Christie Stockstill is a professional photographer in Austin, Texas and owner of Christie Stockstill (pho.tog.ra.phy). She specializes in maternity, baby, child, H.S. senior and family photography. To read more articles by Christie and find additional tips for better photos, visit

To view Christie’s portfolio, please visit:

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