How to Take Newborn Baby Photos for Beginners

by Alli

This post, How to Take Newborn Baby Photos for the Beginner, contains affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I’ll make a little extra coffee money at no extra cost to you. 

My newest grandbaby was born on Thanksgiving Day. He wasn’t due until December 10th, but surprised us all and threw more than a few kinks in my carefully planned out Thanksgiving Day timeline. As soon as I saw his beautiful face, I knew I wanted to take some newborn baby photos. I now have 5 grandsons – not a girl in sight!

Newborn Baby Photos - Closeup

First of all, I’m not a newborn baby photographer. I’m mostly a food photographer who takes photos of the grandkids whenever they stand still long enough.

And, yes, newborn photography is a thing and I’m highly impressed with photographers who shine in this area. The experts in this field are not who this post is for. I’m talking to those of you who want to take some decent photos of a newborn.

Newborn Baby Photos of Fin

When I googled newborn baby photos, every article I read said to take the (posed) photos within two weeks of the baby’s birth. I say take those photos as soon as the baby pops out. Just kidding, but seriously, I took photos when Fin was one week and one day old. I’m happy with the photos but the one photo that remains elusive is the baby’s face propped on his hands. Little Finley would not cooperate with that photo, even while he was sleeping.  He kept moving his hands.

Newborn Baby Photos of my Grandson

Newborn Baby Photos for the Beginner

Keep the baby safe at all times

Some photos I saw online looked kinda dangerous to me. Of course, a lot of them are photoshopped. I just want simple photos of my grandson, so I took most of them in a basket on the floor with me standing over him. The basket is not very high and full of soft blankets.

Keep Baby Comfortable

Usually, at two weeks of age or under, the baby will sleep right through the session. Be sure the baby is fed, has a fresh diaper and is comfortable. Don’t ever try to bend babies into unnatural positions to get a shot. Always be gentle with baby!

Use Your Camera Strap

Sometimes when I’m taking food photos, I don’t bother with my camera strap. When I’m standing over a baby, I use the strap and keep one hand under my camera at all times.

Posed Vs. Lifestyle

Trust me, I have plenty of lifestyle photos of Fin on the day he was born. I wanted posed photos for this shoot.

Bring Food

For the mom! Not only did I have my camera and equipment, I came bearing Festive White Cake with Raspberry Sauce.


Thankfully, there was natural light streaming in from the window, so I used one of my lights and a reflector. You can find the softbox lights I use here and the reflector here.  I’ve had these forever and use them often.

Newborn Baby Photos

I’ve had my camera for a while (upgraded over a year ago), but in case you’re interested, this is the camera I use (Nikon D-750 FX-Format). I have to say I’m in love with this baby, but you don’t need this camera to take great photos!  And, remember, it’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the camera knowing how to work the camera that gets awesome photos. I used a 50mm lens for these photos.

camera I use to take newborn baby photos

Helpful Hint: When I first started blogging, I used my phone (Yikes – the camera phones were not as good then as they are now!) Later, I used my daughter’s old Nikon 80. It’s OK to upgrade little by little.

Baby Props

I’m not planning on becoming a newborn baby photographer. I won’t lie, it’s hard work! But I did purchase a few props for this photo shoot. I tried to keep it to a minimum.

Christmas Newborn Baby Snowman Outfit

Newborn Baby Photos

Butterfly Posing Pillow

Posing Pillow - Newborn Baby Photos

Camera Settings

For this photo shoot, I used a normal lens (50 mm) large apertures (small numbers) and fast shutter speed (in case the baby moves).

This was my first time taking posed newborn baby photos. I learned a lot and had fun. Plus, I made memories with my daughter-in-law and new grandson. And that, my friend, is priceless!

Newborn Baby Photos of newest grandchild

I had to take a non-posed parting shot of Fin in his swing before I left. He looks relieved that the photo shoot is over.

Newborn Baby Photos of grandchild