Newborn Photography 101: Everything You Need to Know

Welcoming your newborn child into the world is a beautiful experience beyond all description. You may never forget the moment you see your baby for the first time: the wonder, the joy, and the pure emotion. Those precious moments, however, will quickly become memories. That’s one of the things that makes professional newborn portraits so important. 

Newborn photos are family heirlooms that celebrate the birth of new life, document the most memorable milestones of your growing family, and help to create unforgettable experiences by capturing legacy portraits you’ll cherish for generations.

When new parents contact me to inquire about a baby photoshoot, they often have a LOT of questions – and I know you do, too! So let’s make this simple. Scroll down for a step-by-step overview including everything you need to know about newborn photography.

What Is Newborn Photography?

Newborn photography is a style of photography that focuses specifically on newborn babies. Newborn photographers undergo special training to learn how to keep babies safe and comfortable during their sessions while capturing stunning photos that will help highlight those precious moments.

Typically, newborn photography takes place when the baby is between four and fourteen days old: still soft, squishy, and malleable. Due to a newborn’s development, this window is the best time to capture those amazing images. 

Each newborn photographer adds a unique flair and style to their newborn photos. However, there are two primary types of newborn photography. 

Lifestyle Newborn Photography

Some newborn photographers offer lifestyle photoshoots, which are informal newborn photoshoots hosted in the client’s home. Lifestyle newborn photography concentrates on capturing candid, natural shots of the newborn in their own environment.

The pictures are taken in natural light and often incorporate very few props (other than the parents and siblings!). Because the photo shoot is in the home, both the photographs and the experience are relatively casual and nondemanding. Lifestyle newborn photoshoots also require less session time because there is less preparation involved.

Posed Newborn Photography

When you think about newborn photography, posed newborn photography is probably the first thing that comes to mind. With lovely backdrops, baskets, wraps, knit hats, and so much more, how could you lose?

Posed photoshoots may be held on-location, but most parents prefer in-studio sessions because they are more comfortable overall. In our studio, we can make anything happen with the magic of newborn photography props, sets, lighting, posing, and an overflowing baby wardrobe. 

To learn more about the inner-workings of our studio, read our blog Why is an In-Studio Newborn Session More Preferred?.

How Do You Prepare For A Newborn Photoshoot?

If just thinking about your newborn photoshoot is overwhelming, we’ve got you covered. We do our best to make sure your newborn session is relaxed, calm, and peaceful – and yes, that includes complimentary Wi-fi, video streaming services, and snacks so you can rest while we do all the work!

While preparing for your newborn session, there are a few things you need to do to make the day of your session go as smoothly as possible.

Talk To Your Photographer!

Talking to your photographer is the most important step in preparing for your newborn session. Every photographer is different, and every parent’s desires are unique. If you have a personal vision of how you want the shoot to go, from specific photos or poses you want to a complete Pinterest board of inspiration, it’s critical to communicate those expectations before you commit.

First, take a look at the quality and style of the photographer’s work. (You can view our newborn gallery here!) Click around on their website to find out if the photographer shoots lifestyle or posed newborn sessions and if they meet any other requirements you may have. If you fall in love with a particular style, you want to choose a newborn photographer who will deliver exactly what you’re hoping for with years of experience and a portfolio that backs it up. 

At SteinArtStudio, we send out a pre-session questionnaire to find out what you’re looking for in a session and what style you prefer. We also let you choose the colors and props you like and then create a vision board to help inspire the session. We make your newborn photoshoot unique to your style and preferences.

Schedule Your Newborn Session

Newborn photos look best when the newborn is within the first two weeks of life. At this age, the baby enjoys being wrapped and swaddled. Because they’re still squishy, bendy, and sleepy, we are better able to pose them for the camera.

Schedule your newborn session during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. This way, you can ensure that you have an available session spot around your due date. At our studio, after your baby is born, we’ll pick the exact date and time so your session fits within the two-week timeframe.

Our sessions fill up fast, so it’s important that you book your time before the end of your pregnancy instead of just adding “schedule a newborn photo session” to your To-Do list after your baby is born. The third trimester is also the ideal time for a pregnancy photography session!

Check Off the List!

What do you need to bring for your newborn session? Here’s the good news: not much at all! At SteinArtStudio, we have an overflowing closet filled with newborn outfits, newborn props like baskets and displays, and everything you need for a stunning newborn session. There are, of course, a few things you will want to bring with you to your session.

Diapers, Wipes, and Formula

Pack your diaper bag with the same supplies you would pack for a day at Grandma’s or a trip out to the store. That means your preferred diapers and wipes, and formula and bottles, if you’re using them. If you’re nursing, you may be able to hop out of the house with just the baby and a few diapers. 

At the start of our session, we’ll encourage Mom to go ahead and feed the baby and make sure he is clean and dry. When newborns are freshly fed, they’re often very drowsy – and drowsy babies are the best prepared for their photography sessions. 

Any Special Items or Outfits You Want to Include

While we offer everything you need to make your baby’s photo session a success, you may still have a few special items that you want to include in your newborn photos: a special hat or blanket, furs to wrap up your baby’s fingers and toes, or even baby’s coming-home outfit. Some new parents want photos of their babies using Mom or Dad’s military uniform, or they want to include heirloom outfits that were used in their own baby pictures.

We’re glad to include any items that you would like to see used in your baby’s photos. However, you must discuss those items with us ahead of your session. While including an outfit change in your newborn’s photo session is easy enough, it’s much harder to incorporate some heirlooms or props safely.

Many of the stunning newborn shots you see in professional photography studios include a lot of composite images. For example, our clients are often surprised to discover that, for our hanging basket photos, we don’t actually place the baby in a hanging basket! Instead, the baby is kept safe and protected throughout the entire shoot, often held by one of our team members or posed carefully to create the ideal effect.

One of our most requested photographs is the baby in the dream catcher floating over the water. The truth is that most of the stunning images come together during the post-production editing.

You won’t see those details in the finished product, but they take a lot of work behind the scenes before your shoot even begins – so make sure we know about those special props so we can give them our best shot. 

Changes of Clothes for Mom, Dad, and Siblings

Accidents happen. In newborn photography sessions, poop happens. Spit-up happens. You’ve probably seen some of those “Pinterest Fail” images and the destruction that can be wrought from one adorable, naked baby in the space of seconds. We welcome your family to attend the session, but keep in mind that sometimes, outfits will need to be changed, especially if you want to include Mom, Dad, or older siblings as part of the photoshoot.

Bring along an extra change of clothes for every member of your family, especially those that you want to include in the photos. You may get lucky and never have to change into those outfits. On the other hand, you might just end up in a messy situation where a quick wardrobe change is an ideal solution to your problem! 

Come in For Your Session

The day of your session arrives, and you’re ready to come in for your newborn photo shoot. What happens next? 

First, if you’re planning to come into the studio for your session, you’ll be brought into our comfortable, private waiting room. We shoot one newborn session at a time, so your family will have this area to themselves. 

You’ll be encouraged to go ahead and feed your newborn before the shoot, even if your baby has eaten fairly recently. A full belly is often key to a great newborn session! 

Mom, Dad, and Family Can Wait in the Waiting Room

You have a newborn. You’re short on sleep and time to yourself. We want to make your newborn photoshoot an amazing experience for your entire family. If you want, you can remain in the waiting room throughout the session, enjoying free WiFi, water, and snacks – or curling up for a much-needed nap! 

Of course, parents are always welcome to come back and watch the session if they like. You can rest assured, however, that your newborn is in safe, caring hands throughout the entire session.

For a complete look inside our comfortable studio, watch our studio tour here

Baby Can Rest As Needed

Throughout the session, the baby can come back to Mom and Dad for breaks as needed: a break for feeding, a few snuggles, or a chance to fall back asleep. We take our time with every newborn session and we never pressure you to complete the session quickly, so sit back, relax, and incorporate as many breaks as needed.

Private Image Reveal & Ordering Appointment

After your newborn’s photography session, we’ll professionally edit your photos, including editing out any little temporary imperfections. Does your little one have a scratch or rash that appeared just days before the session? No worries! We’ll touch up those spots during editing. We’ll also add the stunning effects that create those high-quality, heirloom photos that you can’t wait to hang on your wall. 

Once the editing is complete, you’ll come back into the studio for your ordering appointment. At your appointment, you’ll have a chance to look over all of your baby’s images and decide which ones you want to turn into luxury albums, art for your walls, or other prints and products. You’ll also get a chance to touch and look through our museum-quality prints, mini photo books, and albums.

These high-quality prints and products will stand the test of time. Imagine yourself cuddling on the couch with a much older child, discussing all the funny things they did when they were small as you flip through a professional-quality photo book! Our goal is to create products that will survive the test of time, allowing you to look back on those memories in a tangible, physical form for years to come.

At SteinArtStudio, we want to make the newborn photo process as stress-free as possible. After you’ve selected your favorite images and products, we’ll order your products and deliver them as soon as possible.

Newborn Photo Session FAQ

We handle newborn photo sessions regularly. You, however, may be getting ready for your first baby. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please contact us to ask about your session. 

What steps do you take to keep my baby safe during the session?

As newborn photographers, we have received extensive training in keeping your baby safe during each session. Our assistant, Katelyn, is on-hand during every moment of the session. Katelyn is APNPI-certified and has completed extensive training in baby safety. She’s also completed several seminars with renowned photographers. 

Katelyn’s role is highly focused on the safety of your newborn. Not only does she watch your newborn at every moment for any signs of distress or discomfort, but she keeps her hands free and, if she’s not holding the baby directly, she’s very close so that she can catch the baby in a moment if he starts to wiggle. 

Next, we use composite images for many positions, including the froggy. These compositions allow us to create stunning, creative poses and images without ever making the baby uncomfortable or unsafe, even for a moment. 

My baby scratched his face. Should I reschedule my photo session?

No, you don’t have to reschedule your photo session because of a temporary imperfection in your newborn’s skin. Newborn acne, cradle cap, scratches, and eczema are all temporary changes to your little one’s appearance – and we understand that you don’t want them hanging on your wall. We’ll take care of those temporary imperfections in editing so that you’ll see your new little one glowing in your newborn photos. 

I love the props you have in the studio, but there’s a special heirloom or prop I want to use as part of my newborn’s session. Can you include it?

In most cases, we can absolutely include and incorporate special props and items as part of your newborn’s session. While our newborn prop collection includes a wide range of items, including hats, headbands, furs, blankets, wraps, baskets, displays, and more, if you have a personal touch you want to add to your newborn’s photo session, we want to include it! 

However, you must let us know about that item ahead of time. Some items may require extra steps, including the creation of a new composite design, to keep your newborn safe while incorporating that item. 

What cleaning steps do you take between newborns?

As with basic newborn safety, cleaning is absolutely critical in our photography studio. We fully sanitize all outfits and props between sessions, including steaming of gowns and outfits to help kill germs. We also clean and disinfect all surfaces using chemical cleaners designed to create a safe environment for every client. Finally, we use a hospital-grade UV light to sanitize and kill bacteria on all surfaces. We also ensure that there is adequate time between every newborn session to clean our studio and keep our smallest clients safe. 

At what age should newborn photos be taken?

You should schedule newborn photos between 4 and 14 days after the baby is born to get the best photos. At that age, baby still has those adorable, wrinkled hands and feet, the tiniest fingers and toes they will ever have, and, equally importantly, they are at their most malleable. Babies less than two weeks old also sleep more and tend to be quieter in general, making this the ideal time for those great sessions. As babies get older, they’re more likely to be awake and alert during the session, which can make it more difficult to get the specific poses you want most. 

You should reserve an appointment for your newborn photo session during your second or third trimester of pregnancy. We will estimate a time for your session based on your anticipated due date. Then, when the baby arrives, we will nail down the date for your session. 

What should I do if I can’t have my baby’s photo session in those first two weeks of life?

Sometimes, circumstances beyond your control will crop up that will force you to reschedule your baby’s photo session. While the best time to capture newborn photos is within the first two weeks, you can still capture some amazing images later. You may need to be more flexible about the specific images you receive, but we will work with you to help make your vision for your newborn photos a reality. 

What happens if my baby is awake during the photo session?

Sometimes, babies do not want to fall asleep during their photo sessions. While it’s rare for babies to stay awake for the entire session, your little one could surprise you! Don’t worry, though. Newborns are often content to look around at the world and take in everything going on around them, and our assistant, Katelyn, will be on hand to help soothe and comfort your little one if needed while you take time to relax and enjoy the time. 

How long should I expect my newborn photo session to take?

Most of the time, a newborn photo session will take between two and four hours. The length of the session will depend on the props you want to use, the time it takes to capture your little one, and how many breaks your little one needs during the process. Of course, we don’t want to rush your little one through the process! If your baby needs a chance to eat in the middle of the session, requires a diaper change, or needs some snuggles from Mom or Dad, we will take a break to accommodate those needs. Baby comes first during every aspect of the session! 

Can we incorporate other family members in the newborn shoot?

Of course! Your other family members are a critical part of this time in your life, and you may want to include them alongside your little one. We have several poses and images that can help capture all the members of your little family during this amazing time. 

Newborn photography is an amazing way to capture an incredibly important milestone in the life of your family. You want newborn photos that will turn into heirlooms: stunning photos that will stand the test of time and help you share your story with your family for generations. At SteinArtStudio, we’re here to turn your newborn photography dreams into reality. Contact us today to schedule a session or to ask any questions you have about how we will handle your newborn’s photoshoot. 

  1. Olivia Smart says:

    Thank you for explaining that newborn photos look best when they’re in the first two weeks. My daughter has been wondering when she should schedule for her newborn photos after her baby is born. I’ll be sure to pass this on to her and see if it’s something that she can easily arrange with the photographer that she likes.

  2. Luke Smith says:

    It’s nice that you mentioned how newborn photography usually takes place when the baby is between four and fourteen days old. My wife recently gave birth to our first child and we want to preserve this memory. So with that in mind, we are thinking of asking for newborn photography from an expert.

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