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Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns

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Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns

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Styles of Newborn Photography

I am so humbled by all the nice comments from all of Jodi’s readers and I want to apologize for being a tad bit late on this installment.I have been traveling to workshops and conferences as well as trying to keep up with family and business.Thank you all so much for the questions, comments and kind words.I am so happy to hear that this series is helpful to you.

For this installment I thought we would talk about Styles of Newborn Photography.One of the things I think all photographers should focus on is creating their own style of photography.Whether it is newborns, families, seniors or babies you want you work to stand out amongst your competition.And while we are all inspired by other photographer’s work taking that inspiration and tweaking it to create your own style is what we should all strive for not simply copying poses and set ups.

There are many different styles of newborn photography.I thought I would talk about a few that I am familiar with in some detail.

1. Environmental – This style is using the client’s home, the baby’s nursery, and furniture in the house, etc to create a backdrop for the baby.This type of photography ensures that your client’s images will be unique.It also makes their images more personal and meaningful to them.It can be tricky as far as lighting but when this can be done it can often lead to higher sales because the client is emotionally invested in the image. Another way that environmental photography is often done is by letting the parents interact with their baby and capturing those true interactions.So that the images are not specifically set up but you are capturing real emotion between mother and baby.If the baby and time allows I try and get a few of these images in.Although I don’t use this style for the majority of my session I do think it adds great variety and interest to a session.Below are some examples of my environmental newborn photography.

2. Clean and Classic- This style of photography is what you see most often from newborn photographers.It is personally my favorite type of newborn photography.Usually baby is photographed naked and on the beanbag with various types of blankets.This type of photography really shows off the newness and beauty of a new baby.Positioning and posing are most important in this type of newborn photography.Below are some examples of my clean and classic newborn photography.

3. Props and Parents- This style of photography is where the photographer uses baskets, wraps, bowls, chairs and other props to pose baby.It also involves using parents as a prop.I will often tell my client’s that they are going to be used as a prop instead of being the focus of the image.This type of photography can help photographers stay fresh and not feel like they are repeating the same images over and over.Below are some of my newborn shots with props and parents.

These three styles of newborn are the most prevalent to me.Of course there are probably more but I chose these three to talk about because they are the three that I use most often.So remember in the end try and take what inspires you, what you like to shoot and turn it into your own style of photography.

newborn photography styles

Here we were taking a break to nurse and I thought I would capture the whole family together.I didn’t really stage this but with the moment.I used my 24-70mm at 24mm to take this as I wanted the balloons and chandelier in the shot.


Take them outside if it is warm enough. I wrap them up and put them in a basket it is chilly.But in the heat of the summer I can go outside without a blanket.

naked newborn photography

Using the basket and the dining room in the client’s house I set up this shot to include some of the furniture and some back lighting for interest.

newborn on top of a trunk

Look for things that will frame out your image and possibly show how tiny the baby is.These stacked trunks are a perfect example.I did have Dad hold my space heater and point it right at her here so that she would stay warm and asleep.


Mom’s often put a lot of thought, effort and money into their new baby’s nursery.Take advantage of that and get some wide shots of baby’s nursery with mom and baby or just baby.

Clean and Class


This is one of my all time favorite poses.The trick to making this pose work… stages.I get them on their belly happy and asleep.Then I fold their legs up under them gently.Next I work on the hands.I like to see as many fingers as possible and for the face to be propped up on the hands so that you get a great shot of the whole face.

newborn posing with a hat

For a side shot like this I like to curl up the legs as much as possible and then work on the hands.Sometimes they don’t like their hands behind their head so I just go with baby.

newborn with hand on head

Don’t forget close-ups are great for showing off tiny details.I like the eyes to be on one plane and I am careful not to shoot up the nostrils.


This is a variation of the 1st pose on the white blanket.To get this just gently straighten their leg underneath them.Some babies won’t tolerate it some will.


Keeping baby’s face in view is always best and making sure that hands and feet are tucked in as much as possible makes the baby seem more comfortable overall.Tell parents to keep them close till they settle because if they feel like they are falling they always wake up.I explain exactly what I want and then we go from there with what the parent is comfortable with and what baby will tolerate.


Basket shots are always a parent favorite for me.They are harder than they look though.I start with a pillow or some folded blankets in the bottom and make sure baby is high enough on top of the basket to see them.I get them in the basic position I am looking for on the bean bag and then gently transfer them over, making sure that you have the blankets firm enough that they don’t sink too far in.


Blankets and hats that coordinate always make a very pleasing image.Sometimes I bring them and sometimes they are the client’s items.Swaddling is a good way to calm a fussy baby and get them to sleep and as the baby is falling asleep you can get some great swaddled shots.Tight swaddles with blankets that are not too big keep the blanket from taking over the baby.

how to photograph newborn twins

This was a special piano bench of the clients and even though this was a hard shot it was totally worth it in the end.I had a spotter on each end for each baby since they barely fit on there together.Spotters are always important because safety of the baby is priority.


Wooden bowls make for lovely images and combined with this clients beautiful piece of furniture it turned out to be a very classic image.

All of the above images were taken with either the Canon 5D or Canon 5D Mark II.All inside shots are with the 50mm 1.2L (unless otherwise noted) and the outside shots are with the 135mm 2.0L.

Thank you again to everyone for reading and commenting on the post.If you have questions about anything here please leave it in the comments and I will address it in another post.

This is part 2 in a series about newborn photography from guest blogger Alisha Robertson.  If you missed part 1, you can find it here. And to learn more about Alisha, what lessons she will be teaching and her work, click here.


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  1. June 5, 2010 at 11:52 pm —

    thanks so much! The article was very helpful and inspiring!

  2. January 15, 2011 at 10:02 am —

    Beautiful images, and tremendously helpful information. I am just starting with newborn photography…I have only had one photo shoot. In the parents home. Everything that could go wrong could, including my camera being knocked to the ground by an innocent “peeking” dog, broke my very expensive camera lense! The lighting was awful, very small place to work (your info has saved the day, now I know what to do and NOT to do). I will read the first addition, as I headed right into the 2nd. Thank you! I have lots of props, had I only know it takes a simple bean bag to really make the posing work.

  3. March 3, 2011 at 5:40 am —

    Thank you for the very kind tips and tricks, it was very informing. I’m at the point where I go through stages of photography learning about life style photography, studio portrait, wedding, etc., but my wish is to be a wedding photographer some day. So with a newborn of my own, it was something totally new for me to try and master. Working with the little one is stressfully hard, but with the help from you. I feel like I can overcome this. So thanks again for the great tips. I hope to be at your level one day, master. HAHA

  4. March 3, 2011 at 5:46 am —

    Whoops didn’t see the add an image button until I submitted the commend. If you don’t mind I like to share what I’ve learned. This is just a quick test shot of my princess.

  5. Katie
    March 29, 2011 at 12:17 am —

    Thank you for this post. I just stumbled upon it from a Google search. I’ve done portrait photography, but never newborns–and I’m having a newborn of my own in three weeks or so! I plan on photographing him myself, and a lot of tips you shared in this post will definitely be taken into consideration! 🙂

  6. August 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm —

    This has so much helpful information. Beautiful work. Thank you for sharing your newborn photography tips and examples of your work! Very inspiring.

  7. August 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm —

    Thanks for sharing – so much useful information!!

  8. November 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm —

    Wonderful photos, I really can’t wait to get to this level of skill. Aside from that true photography talent, I also appreciate a good idea for a photo and recently posted an article with 8 of my ideas for new parents and thought your readers would enjoy. Let me know what you think. http://www.ordinaryparent.com/2011/11/08/8-photo-ideas-for-new-parents/

  9. December 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm —

    Beautiful work!! Did you use all natural lighting for these? If not, what lighting source did you use?

  10. Michelle
    April 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm —

    Great info…thanks. But one question, is there a trick to photographing against a clients painted wall? I’ve noticed that the colors seem to change, light and darker. It’s really hard to edit on a painted wall without consistent light. I hope this makes sense. Thanks.

  11. April 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm —

    Fantastic article, and I’m so happy you mentioned spotters. Just because something is photoshopped out of the image doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely essential. Love your work!!

  12. May 2, 2012 at 2:20 am —

    These are so lovely! And the tips are great, thank you so much for writing this!

  13. Jean
    June 3, 2012 at 1:47 am —


  14. July 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm —

    Really enjoyed your blog, we have yet to really break into the new born area but have high hopes for the future. Please look at our site and leave us any suggesstions or comments. http://www.taylormadportraitsofcolumbia.com

  15. Jynnette Miller
    August 2, 2012 at 12:45 am —

    I am a photographer for both “adults” and also newborns. I just started doing newborns by their self just about two months ago. I have always had them along with their families just never on their own. Some of the babies are very hard to do; and some of them were just born to be models and have everything just the way- any photographer would want their art to look like. I have been taking photos for over 17 years; and have owned my own photo studio since 2000

  16. August 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm —

    Thanks so much for the great info! I do not do newborn photography (but am considering it). A friend recently had a baby, and I went over and spent a very short amount of time with them and my camera, and it was much trickier than anticipated. This article is super helpful.

  17. February 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm —

    Thank you so much for the tips, I love looking at all your photos. I have my first newborn session next week will be trying a few of your easier poses.

    Your work is beautiful!

  18. Karen E
    March 14, 2013 at 8:36 am —

    Thank you very much for the tips, I will have my first newborn session tomorrow. I am very excited!!!!

  19. October 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm —

    I am considering on adding newborn drawings or photos to my nursing blog. Your tips would help a non pro photographer like me to produce decent and artistic shots. thanks!

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Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns