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How to Capture Newborn Composite Images Safely


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How to Capture Newborn Composite Images Safely

There are so many fun ways to capture breath-taking images of newborns. The most important thing to keep in mind when photographing newborns is their safety. Even though there are many poses that can be done with newborns always keep in mind that many of the images you see on the internet are often the result of a composite (when two images are combined). One of the most popular composite newborn poses is of babies with their hands under their chins. It is physically impossible for most newborns to hold themselves into a position like this without someones hands on them at all times. It is not safe to attempt to “balance” a baby into a position like this.

This final image was edited with Newborn Necessities Photoshop actions.

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Here are the steps for obtaining this pose.

  1. Make sure that the baby is very comfortable and sleeping very soundly. See Tracy’s blog article on Soothing Techniques for Newborns.
  2. After placing their hands under their chin and having their feet forward (do not pull on their legs or force their legs/joints forward) have whoever is helping you to hold the top of their head with one hand and then transition to holding their wrists with their other hand (see images).
  3. Do not move your camera at all while taking these images and do not change your settings as it will make combining the images very difficult.
  4. Do not attempt this pose unless you have had many newborn sessions and feel very comfortable handling newborns. Keep in mind that this is not a pose that all babies will tolerate and a newborn should never be forced into any pose. Also only do this image if you have someone to help you who is comfortable handling babies safely.

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Here is how to combine the images in photoshop afterwards.

  1. Open up both images into photoshop
  2. Create a layer on one of the images (Ctrl J/Command J)
  3. Use your lasso tool to cute out the portion of the image that you want to place on top of the other image (ie either the top of the head or the bottom half of the picture)
  4. Use your Move tool to drag and move the portion of the image that you cut with your lasso tool
  5. Once it is over top of the other image go ahead and use your history brush to bring out the details from the bottom picture (you might need to decrease your opacity to 50% to help you pull out all the details correctly)
  6. Once you have done that then flatten your image and edit your image the way you normally would. I use Newborn Necessities for editing all of my newborn images.


Tracy Callahan of Memories by TLC is a fine are Children’s Portrait Photographer specializing in newborn photography. Tracy is the teacher of our online newborn Photography Workshop. Our next online workshop and the last one for 2013 is on Wednesday, September 25 at 8pm EST. 


No Comments

  1. JM on August 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Can you do this with Lightroom?

  2. Lisa on August 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Seems like I’m missing something in these steps…I see 4 images, but you say open both in PS as if there are only 2. I get how to create the pose, but not at which shots to take that generate the images to combine in PS. 🙁

    • Toshi on August 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

      You need to open 1 & 3 rd image in PS

  3. Cindy G on March 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I have a question regarding the above pose. I have been too afraid to do that pose because of the position of the babies legs. It doesn’t appear that you photoshopped the legs in. Does that not hurt the babies legs? I know they are limber at that age, but it looks so uncomfortable. If they are positioned that way…up to how many weeks old can they be safely positioned like that. Still not sure I can bring myself to do that pose though. Then again, I am newer to photographing infants. I usually do Senior portraits, but I am trying to expand to other areas.

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