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Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns

Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns

If you want better newborn images, take our Online Newborn Photography Workshop.


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. March 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm — Reply

    Absolutely amazing article, I’m just eating these up! I’ve done 3 babies now… and maybe a few more on the horizon and this series has been so helpful. Whew, what a challenge little babies are, but also what fun 🙂 I think my biggest questions… 1) parent interaction. I see in some of your tips, you mention that dad helps here…there…do you find that’s easiest? Or do you find that it’s easiest with just you and an assistant? I guess it’s probably a function of parent comfort, eh? 2) I LOVED the how you get the baby in the pose pieces…more more! So, thank-you Jodi for these articles and thanks Alisha for sharing!!

  2. March 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Absolutely wonderful post! I am not an infant photographer, but did an infant sitting in January for a friend. I was so hard on myself after because, yes, it is so different and hard! I beat myself up over it for weeks! Thank you so much for this and your first post. I may someday try it again!

    Your work is simply gorgeous!

  3. Silvina
    March 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm — Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this! The one tip i really needed was to pose the babies in stages…I can’t wait to try it! Please keep posting, these are awesome!

  4. March 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    I love this series! I have waited for the second one and it is worth the wait! Thanks so much for the tips.

  5. March 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm — Reply

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  6. March 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm — Reply

    More! More! Loving it all! 🙂

  7. March 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    Love these! Such gorgeous shots. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  8. March 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm — Reply

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Alicia!!!!!!!!! This is great info yet again. You are so wonderful to share this with us. With all the great tips from you I am working on taking my newborn photography to the next level. I was just thinking about what my “style” is so and your article has helped me so much. I would love to find even more info on posing newborns. Do you know of any other resources ~ websites, blogs, books, podcasts, etc?

  9. Nancy
    March 16, 2009 at 9:45 pm — Reply

    Alisha your info is so helpful, I think I must be dreaming…! I have looked at several of Anne Geddes’ books and while her images are so charming, I am not able to gleen much useful info to apply to my work so I am thrilled with everything you have given us! OK, a couple of goofy questions – I have not been able to find cute newborn hats (I live in a small town), but I love the knit one that you use with the long ties! Did you make those, or can you share where you found them? Also, what would suggest for a minimum diameter or length for props to put the baby in, such as baskets? Newborns are 20″-22″, but when they are folded up they are shorter… I am getting ready for my first real newborn shoot, the baby is due any day now and I can’t thank you enough for your info – you have given me concrete things to work with and it has totally boosted my confidence level – thank you…

  10. March 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm — Reply

    thank you so much…this was such a great post…so informative! exactly the help and direction i needed 🙂

  11. March 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm — Reply

    Great article!! Thanks so much! Most of these things I do already, but definitely learned a few things – like the heater – hello! Genius! 🙂

  12. March 16, 2009 at 10:06 pm — Reply

    This is amazing! So honest and insightful. Thanks a million for all your advice, tips, and techniques!

  13. March 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm — Reply

    Thanks so much sharing! Love this second installment!

  14. March 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm — Reply

    I am so glad you guys are enjoying it and it is helping you further your skills. I will do another post with answers to questions in the next day or two.

  15. Sherri
    March 17, 2009 at 5:16 am — Reply

    Thanks again for sharing these posts – I am learning so much already

  16. Katy G
    March 17, 2009 at 8:25 am — Reply

    Love your tips and can’t wait to do a newborn session now. Any suggestions where to find some great props (baskets, wooden bowls, etc). I can never seem to find any that are big enough.

  17. Adalia
    March 17, 2009 at 9:32 am — Reply

    Thanks for all your info! I am always wondering about sizes for baskets. How tall & wide do you recommend? What is the smallest size you have used? Thank-you.

    • Jeananne
      May 11, 2011 at 10:52 am — Reply

      I have been wondering the same thing…

  18. Lindsie
    March 17, 2009 at 10:14 am — Reply

    Thank you Alisha! This has been so helpful. I am a beginning photographer and have done 2 newborn shoots so far. Its so much harder than it looks but I love the challenge. How long does it normally take you to do a newborn session? I think the thing I’ve had the hardest time learning is how to pose a baby without waking them up. I guess that it just takes practice, right? I look forward to more tips. 🙂

    • Jeananne
      May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am — Reply

      I have often wondered the same thing :/

  19. JoAnne Bacon
    March 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm — Reply

    I might be missing something here but are these all natural light? LOVE the nursery shot with the entire family…including the dogs, great candid!

  20. March 18, 2009 at 7:16 am — Reply

    Wow, thank you for all the tips, it is very kind of you to share.

  21. Monika
    March 18, 2009 at 9:51 am — Reply

    Thanks for your tips. You said usually baby is photographed naked. I was going to ask you about “accidents” . How often do they happen ?

  22. March 18, 2009 at 11:49 am — Reply

    I shot my first newborn session this past weekend. I read your tips at least 10 times before hand, and they really made such a difference. The bean bag may be common knowledge, but to me it was genious. I am so happy with the way the session turned out. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! http://www.amandapairblog.com/?p=289

  23. March 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm — Reply

    AMAZING!!!! This is just what I needed! You are amazing and I have been an admirer for some time now. I do have one question… In the first picture in the clean and class section (beautiful) are you using a beanbag or a blankey with a slight lift in it underneath? Thanks again!

  24. March 19, 2009 at 10:58 am — Reply

    This belongs in a book on Amazon… Excellent.

  25. March 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm — Reply

    LOVE this information – gorgeous shots – so well put together! Thank you!!!

  26. March 20, 2009 at 12:38 am — Reply

    Thanks once again. Just as great as the first post, cant wait for more. Quick question for you: How many shots do you take of one pose? If baby is cooperating and everything is in place whats your norm for shots taken? I know when taking “non-newborn” shots, people move, change expressions and all that good stuff so I usually wind up clicking away. But with newborns, especially sleepers, they just lay there. Nothing really changes. Do you still fire away? Thank you.

  27. Christy
    March 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm — Reply

    I would like more specific info on exactly how to position the bean bag when getting ready for baby. Also, good ideas for where to find all the soft, white, textured blankets for placing underneath baby. And I’d love to see a step by step for posing babies in the hanging cloth type photos. Loved the post!!

  28. March 20, 2009 at 8:03 pm — Reply

    I have such a huge smile in my heart right now… I am so happy that this series is helping so many of you. I have really enjoyed sharing it all with you. 🙂 I will be back for another post with answers to your questions next week.

  29. Jason
    March 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    Hi Alisha,

    Your stuff is great. Could I ask a few questions.

    How do you achieve such reach dark colors in some of your photos above? I see it a lot now days in portrait work and feel very frustrated when trying to reach the same rich dark color myself. Most of my stuff just gets dark and plugged up if you know what I mean. What actions do you use to get such great results. Maybe Jodi could point me to an action that might help.

    Are there things I should watch for when taking the picture? Setting on the camera that work better then others? For example should I shoot for making my photos lighter then add contrast in PS with Jodi’s actions?


    P.S. Please forgive me if I make it sound like there’s some magic camera or software that makes pictures better and not the person. I hope I didn’t come a crossed that way. 🙂 You have a great eye!

  30. March 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm — Reply

    Alisha is such an amazing photographer~~ I am so glad she is my friend and mentor!! I think you are doing such a great job with this series!!

  31. March 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    I love, love, love all your photos. Thank you immensly for all the tips on your technique. One thing I always struggle with that you do beautifully is backgrounds. How do you get such clean backgrounds, like the white or the perfect shade of tan that doesn’t just blend in with baby? Do all the homes you visit just have the perfect walls for a backdrop??? 😉
    Do you use a white sheet or blanket and just blur it? And if so, how do you make it so seamless looking?

  32. March 27, 2009 at 10:30 am — Reply

    Thank you so very much for both of these posts.

  33. […] April 4th, 2009 Easy AdSenser by UnrealAlisha read through all of your questions from her part 2 “styles of newborns” from her series on newborn photography here on the MCP Blog.  Today she is back with answers to […]

  34. April 4, 2009 at 10:15 am — Reply

    Thank you for sharing! You have such a beautiful talent with babies!

  35. April 30, 2009 at 8:45 am — Reply

    i am doing my first baby shoot today and i KNEW i’d find some great info on here! thanks jodi and alisha for these posts 🙂

  36. May 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm — Reply

    thnak you for these wonderful tips-fabulous!

  37. June 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm — Reply

    Hi Alisha,
    I am just starting out in children photography & stumbled across your tips while browsing newborn images for ideas. I had my first newborn (not completely newborn. He was a little over three weeks)shoot about a month ago & I wish I had read your tips before I had my shoot. He was fussy a bit, but I’ve been told it’s best to get newborns between one & two weeks when they are in more of a sleepy stage. I am definitely a fan now & will stay tuned in!! I have another shoot coming up next week & I will be using the tips you have offered here. I have some of the same questions that some of the others have been asking. I look forward to more tips!!

  38. July 22, 2009 at 11:07 pm — Reply

    For the first photo under “clean and class” I would love to see a video tutorial on how to pose them like that. I have issues with that pose for some reason.
    Would you be willing to do one?

  39. Jude
    August 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm — Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge on this topic. It is so illuminating. I loved every single picture but the one with the messy hair in particular!

    Thanks again.

  40. jeanna
    October 6, 2009 at 1:35 am — Reply

    where do I buy this bing bad you are talking about, I have seen baby poser but do not like them

  41. Michelle
    October 21, 2009 at 11:48 am — Reply

    Are all the linens and blankets that have touched the babies’ bottoms and genitalia washed after each photography session?

  42. June 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm — Reply

    I’m trying my hand at my first infant shoot next week and this helps immensely!

  43. June 5, 2010 at 11:52 pm — Reply

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

  44. January 15, 2011 at 10:02 am — Reply

    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.

  45. March 3, 2011 at 5:40 am — Reply

    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

  46. March 3, 2011 at 5:46 am — Reply

    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.

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

    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! 🙂

  48. August 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm — Reply

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

  49. August 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm — Reply

    Thanks for sharing – so much useful information!!

  50. November 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm — Reply

    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/

  51. December 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm — Reply

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

  52. […] Styles of Newborn Photography […]

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

    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.

  54. April 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm — Reply

    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!!

  55. May 2, 2012 at 2:20 am — Reply

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

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


  57. July 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    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

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

    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

  59. August 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm — Reply

    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.

  60. February 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm — Reply

    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!

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

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

  62. October 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    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