How to Take Newborn Photos that Feel Like Your Family

Babies change so much in their first weeks of life. Newborn photos are the perfect way to hold onto those ephemeral early moments. Luckily, it's possible to DIY some pretty amazing newborn photos. In this post, we share some of our favorite tips for how to take newborn photos. We also give you some ideas on how to preserve those sweet images in a way your family can enjoy for years to come. 

A mother holds a newborn on a couch after learning how to take newborn photos.

Why Take a Lifestyle Photography Approach

Posed studio photos can be very cute, but we love lifestyle photos for newborns. They're organic and tender. It's a chance to document this moment in your life as it really is. Plus it's easier for people to be themselves in front of the camera (or phone) if they're in their own environment. That's why we always recommend a lifestyle approach when people ask us how to take newborn photos.

Those posed studio newborn photos are also difficult to replicate at home. Your new baby is still delicate, and putting those babies in complicated poses without training can be dangerous. We prefer to stick to authentic, natural photos - photos that feel like your family. Babies are cute enough to get away with candid photos, don't you think?

A newborn sleeps on his back in a newborn photo at home.

How to Take Newborn Photos

Another perk of lifestyle photography is that you can do it at home with your phone. Yes, you! So much is possible with the technology we hold in our hands every day, including amazing pictures of our babies. Here are some of our favorite tips on how to take newborn photos:

1. Include photos of hands and feet.

Everyone loves a swaddled baby all tucked in and cozy. Take time to get some photos of their hands and feet, though. It might sound cliché, but they'll never be this small again. You won't believe how fast they change. Take this chance to document them.

A baby touches his toes during a newborn photography session.

2. Take photos of your most important spaces.

Does your nursery make your heart melt? When you think about how to take newborn photos, make a list of spaces you're really attached to. There are probably rooms where you'll spend a lot of time with your baby. Maybe it's a soft, sweet corner of the nursery or a chair where you spend a shocking amount of time feeding your baby. Head to those spaces when it's picture time.

A father holds a newborn in an armchair in the corner of a minimalist nursery.

3. Include family members (and yourself) in photos.

Take time to celebrate the unique relationships your newborn has with each family member - including you! So many parents end up taking photos of everyone but themselves. Get an inexpensive tripod or a soup can and rubber band, and use your phone's self-timer. Your future self will thank you.

A child cuddles with her newborn sibling in DIY newborn photos.

4. Know your light.

As the time gets closer to your newborn photo session, keep an eye on the light in your house. Which rooms have the best light? And at which times of day? Natural light gives your newborn photos a glow that you lose with your phone's flash or harsh lamp light. Plan around the light as much as you can. 

A newborn stretches on a white sheet.

5. Wait for naptime, not witching hour.

Any professional newborn photographer will tell you that naptime is the best time for newborn photos. It's hard to predict a newborn's sleep patterns in the early days, but try to aim for a time of day when your baby is consistently sleepy. They'll doze while you snap away.

A swaddled baby lies in a crib.

6. Ask for help if you want/need it.

By now, you might be thinking, “Um, maybe I don't want to learn how to take newborn photos on top of, you know, taking care of a newborn.” That's understandable! You might want to consider booking a photographer. Many do in-home lifestyle sessions. It's best to book in advance for around two weeks postpartum. Newborn photographers understand that your due date is not a set date. There is always flexibility to change your date once your little one arrives. 

A mother and father hold their daughter and newborn for newborn photos at home.

What to Do with Those Precious Images

Maybe you're researching how to take newborn photos and find yourself wondering what you're going to do with those sweet photos. We all know someone who has a million photos of their kids languishing on their phone's camera roll. Enter Baby Notebook.

Baby Notebook is an app that allows you to create a custom baby book with the photos from your phone. Weekly reminders prompt you to fill in a page or two for a few minutes a week. By the end of baby's first year, you have a gorgeous memory book tailored to your family. 

Learn more about Baby Notebook here!

Are you still counting down the days to your little one coming earthside? It's not too late to grab our Fresh 48 Photo Guide! Head here to download it, print it, and pop it in your hospital bag for the big day.

Thank you to Jessica of Jessica B Seattle Photography for these photos.