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

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

  2. March 18, 2009 at 7:16 am —

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

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

    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!

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

    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 —

      I have often wondered the same thing :/

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

    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 —

      I have been wondering the same thing…

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

    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.

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

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

  8. March 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm —

    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.

  9. March 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm —

    Thanks so much sharing! Love this second installment!

  10. March 16, 2009 at 10:06 pm —

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

  11. March 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm —

    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 9:46 pm —

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

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

    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…

  14. March 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm —

    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?

  15. March 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm —

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

  16. March 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm —

    More! More! Loving it all! 🙂

  17. March 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm —

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

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

    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!

  19. March 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm —

    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!

  20. March 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm —

    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!!

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Newborn Photography Poses ~ Styles of Newborns