24 Baby Photoshoot Tips & Picture Ideas

baby-photoshoot-henley-design-studio

Are you planning a DIY baby photoshoot? This guide is packed full of baby picture ideas for inspiration and photography tips for success!

Whether you’re taking newborn photos of a new baby addition at home or shooting professional baby photography in a studio, everything you need to know is right here.

You’ll find the best pose ideas, lighting tips, advice on props and outfits, and all the picture ideas for capturing amazing baby photos.

So get your hands warmed up, and let’s create something to cherish forever.

24 Baby Photoshoot Tips & Adorable Baby Picture Ideas

1. Use natural light

Credit: Pixabay

Natural light is the best one for a baby’s photoshoot – especially if they are newborns. When you’re working indoors – let’s say the family’s house or your studio – you can use window light.

It’s usually best to choose a time of day in which there’s enough light coming in through the window, but not when the sun is shining directly at it. This way, you won’t have hard shadows to deal with.

If you have to add some extra light, try to bounce the light towards the ceiling or the walls. This will soften the shadows and will be less uncomfortable for the baby’s eyes.

2. Photograph them from the top 

Credit: Gift Habeshaw

In photography, changing perspective literally changes the way you see and capture your subject. The things that are closer to the camera look bigger than things that are further away.

For baby photography, you can get wonderful results when you photograph the little ones from the top because the eyes will become the focal point, and they will look bigger.

This can be enhanced by using a wide-angle lens. Normally, this isn’t recommended for portraits because of the distortion – but this is a good thing when you’re photographing kids.

Have you noticed that most cute cartoon characters have big eyes? Well, that’s the effect you’re going for.

Obviously, this won’t work for a newborn baby, but on a baby photoshoot where the child is old enough to support themselves (or be propped up by a cushion, etc.) it can be a cute shot idea.

3. Make them laugh

Credit: Mikael Stenberg

They say that a child’s laugh is the best sound in the world – it can also make the best picture. You can make funny faces or sounds to make the baby laugh, or if one of the parents is in the picture, you can ask them to tickle the baby gently.

I’m sure the parents have tried all sorts of techniques to make their child laugh, so they won’t have any trouble helping you achieve this!

With a newborn baby, it’s pretty much impossible to make it laugh, but sometimes you’ll get lucky with an expression that looks like a smile, so be ready and use it to your advantage!

4. Sibiling’s love

Credit: Kate Hliznitsova

If there are any siblings, it’s always a good idea to invite them to participate in the baby photoshoot. The poses will be highly dependant on the age and sizes of the kids.

For example, if the older child is still not strong enough to hold a newborn, you can first position the newborn on the bed, a bean bag, etc. and just ask the sibling to lay on one of the sides.

If they are a bit older, they can be playing together or hugging. Either way, a baby photo with a sibling is a must-have!

5. Be careful with your props

Credit: Colin Maynard

From around three months of age, babies start to grab things. Then these things often end up in their mouths – it’s just a way they have to discover the world.

Because of that, you should never use newborn props that can be toxic or small enough to get swollen. Remember that your number one priority should be the baby’s safety during the photoshoot.

6. Be ready for candid photos 

Credit: Katie E

Any parent can tell you that babies are little angels when they sleep, but when they’re awake, things can get messy.

Well, the same happens during a baby photoshoot! You’ll see all these beautiful, seemly effortless photos online, and you might think they sort of happen like that.

However, the baby is not a professional model, and it won’t pose and hold as you want. They also cry, throw a tantrum and get dirty – if you’re waiting for that perfect moment, you might not get it.

Keep your camera ready and snap some candid photos which show the baby’s true personality.

7. Burst mode

Credit: Dominika Roseclay

Sometimes using burst mode is the best way to capture the hero shot on a baby photoshoot. It’s easier to click away and choose the perfect picture afterwards while culling and processing your photos.

To do this, you can use burst mode (continuous shooting mode). This allows your camera to keep taking pictures for as long as you have the shutter button pressed.

Don’t use burst mode for the entire baby photoshoot session, or you’ll end up with thousands of pictures which require culling! Make sure you pick your moments, and use the burst feature judiciously.

For example, when the baby is waking up, and you want to capture a cute yawn and stretch – or when they are doing any dynamic activities.

8. Eye contact

Credit: Anastasiya Gepp

While babies are adorable in almost any pose, the technique of making eye contact is extremely effective for a great picture.

If the baby is looking away, the viewer of the photo is kept as an outsider. Instead, if the baby is looking at the camera, you’ll make a connection that draws the viewer into the scene – it becomes much more intimate.

To achieve this, you need to be patient and not just get frustrated if the baby doesn’t turn around when you call their name.

You could try and use whistles or one of their toys that makes noises. If the sound isn’t getting the trick done, use visuals – for example, a ‘lens pet’.

Yes, a lens pet exists – it’s a colorful, animal-like accessory that you can put around the lens to grab a baby’s attention – you can buy them on Etsy! If you don’t have one, try using finger puppets or a plush toy.

9. Close-ups 

Credit: Andreas Wohlfahrt

Close-ups always produce super cute baby photos – you can focus on their tiny feet or hands or their eyes.

Make sure there’s enough light to use a fast shutter speed to avoid any unwanted blur or camera shake that’ll become apparent when you’re ‘zoomed in’ this close.

Since you’re magnifying the subject, every little mistake could be very visible. It’s easier to do this type of photo when the baby is sleeping, so they will be quite still.

Also, using a tripod could be of help, so make sure it’s on your gear list when packing your bag for your next baby photoshoot.

10. Use stuffed animals

Credit: Spencer Selover

Stuffed animals are one of the best props for baby photos. They are completely harmless and almost any child will have a favorite buddy of their own.

If you’re a professional photographer and offer stuffed animals from your stock for a photoshoot, make sure you wash them after every use. Also, use hypoallergenic soap to avoid any rashes.

11. Use head accessories

Credit: Flavia Gava

Head and hair accessories are the best wardrobes you can use for newborn photography – whether this is a headband, a bandana, a ribbon, or any other related prop.

This is because you don’t have to worry about the size – well, you do, but in very broad terms. Also, it’s easy to put on and take off without having to wake up the baby or create any fuzz.

They are fun and creative because you can choose from a great variety to better suit the baby and the family’s personality.

12. Hang fairy lights

Credit: Helena Lopes

To create a DIY bokeh background for your next baby photoshoot, you can hang some fairy lights in the background. Make sure you’re using a wide aperture to narrow the depth of field.

Also, telephoto lenses or shortening the distance between the baby and the camera will help you to enhance the blur.

Here are some other tips to create a bokeh background.

13. Capture babies discovering the world

Credit: Tatiana Syrikova

There’s no rule saying that baby photoshoots need to happen in a studio or at home – you can always take them outdoors.

Outdoor photoshoots allow the baby to discover new things, and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to capture the best photos.

Always be extra careful when you’re working on location, and make sure the parents are OK with the place and activities you propose. You don’t want the baby in danger, and you don’t want to have the parents under stress either.

14. Use crates, boxes and baskets

Credit: Kelly Romano

Many props can be used to hold a small baby for a photoshoot. Crafty crates and boxes, vintage suitcases and baskets are some of the most popular. You can also use beanbags if you want to have a more modern look.

Always keep in mind the baby’s safety and comfort while using them, though. Make sure the size isn’t too small for them to be comfortable. Also, check they are sturdy enough to hold a baby inside – especially with vintage and second-hand props.

Put a pillow inside and maybe use a blanket to protect the baby from hard edges that could hurt the skin.

15. Swaddle the baby

Credit: Adele Morris

One of the classic shots of a traditional baby photoshoot is the swaddle. It’s the best way to keep the baby feeling safe and comfortable while you take the photo.

You should be careful when you wrap the baby to avoid getting it too tight. Use a soft fabric and make sure it’s washed with hypoallergenic products to protect the skin.

You can choose solid colors on the swaddle and the background to make an image that’s clean and elegant where you highlight the subject.

16. Show proportion

Credit: Heike Mintel

One of the things that make us say ‘aaawww’ is how tiny babies are – it makes them so cute and vulnerable, you just want to hug them and protect them.

Putting babies in proportion always makes for an amazing photo. You can put their hands next to the parent’s hands – the same goes with the feet. Otherwise, you can have the parents hold the baby shoes or clothes.

Having images like these when they are all grown up will make you think back and relive all those feelings. It’s one of the shots that you’ll cherish forever and should be an idea that’s top of your shot list when planning your next baby photoshoot.

17. Blankets

Credit: Purnachandra Rao Podilapu

Blankets are a life-saver in every baby photoshoot. They can, of course, keep the baby warm and cosy, which results in a happy and calm model for a smoother photoshoot.

Blankets can also double as backdrops, they can add a pop of color to help the composition, or you can use them to protect the baby from props that might have rough edges – like a mini crate, for example!

However you want to use them, it’s a good idea to bring more than one. This way, you’ll have a backup if they get dirty, and you’ll have more colors and patterns to choose from.

18. Don’t forget the Family portrait

Credit: Jessica Rockowitz

Even when the main subject is the newborn baby, a family portrait is always a nice shot to include in the baby photoshoot. You can make a casual, lifestyle photo where they look more relaxed – or you can do a posed portrait.

Talk to the family to see what they like best – families with more kids often prefer a lifestyle approach as children as harder to pose in a more serious or formal way.

Just remember to direct the parent in holding the baby in a way that their face is easily visible – this may involve balancing the child a little closer to one shoulder than normal, as in the shot above.

19. In mom’s or dad’s arms

Credit: Isaac Quesada

Holding your little bundle of joy is one of the best newborn photography poses that you can do. Newborn photographer Louise Downham recommends having the photos taken when the baby is 7-10 days of age.

That’s pretty soon, and parents might still be struggling to find their way around the new baby – especially when it’s the first child.

(They might have already learned how to hold babies for feeding or bathing, but posing babies is an entirely different matter!)

Try using visual clues to direct them by showing them pictures online – like the example above – and make sure they are relaxed and comfortable.

20. Sunset

Credit: Omar Lopez

You’ve probably heard of the golden hour – that’s the first hour after sunrise and the last one before sunset. Those are the two best moments of the day to photograph outdoors if you’re using natural lighting.

The light is soft and even, so you won’t have to deal with any hard and unflattering shadows. Also, the light has a warm tone that’s beautiful for baby photographs.

Since the sun is low and close to the horizon, it’s perfect for experimenting with flair, silhouettes and backlighting.

See more tips on photographing at golden hour.

21. Kissing

Credit: J Carter

Kisses are one of the most natural expressions of love. Ask the parents to make a ‘kiss sandwich’ of their baby! Make sure you use burst mode to capture the perfect expression and have a more natural result.

Then shoot a photo of each parent kissing the baby individually, this way, they’ll have more variety to choose their favorite photo.

A kiss photo can also highlight any props or details too, such as in the example above where the baby’s headpiece was important to the mother.

22. Look for an interesting backdrop

Credit: J. Carter

While simple backdrops are the safest choice, you might want to use a carefully selected background to have more creative shots.

Make sure any backdrop you use is  not stealing attention from the main subject – it should be complementary, not distracting. Choose a color palette in advance, so that background and wardrobe have a pleasing result.

Finally, use the composition rules to place the baby in a way that background and subject are well balanced.

23. Include your pet

Credit: Mali Desha

When the family pet is included in the baby’s life, they form a special bond – they care for them and treat them as their own. You should capture these candid moments of play and love during your baby photoshoot.

As you would on any other occasion where the baby and pet are interacting, be alert for any sudden movements or stressful situation that could put the baby in danger.

24. Costumes

Credit: J Carter

If you’re asking why would you put a costume on the baby, I would say, why not?! Baby outfits can be really cute and fun after all!

You could do a themed or a seasonal photoshoot using costumes, such as dressing the baby like a bunny for Easter.

Also, you can use them to portray a family tradition or reflect their personality – for example, if they are baseball fans, you can use the uniform of their favorite team.

Whether it’s a baby girl or boy, costumes make for the best outfits.

Final Words

I hope these tips and ideas will be helpful for your next baby photoshoot. Whether you do it in the studio or at the family’s home, make sure you keep the baby’s safety a top priority.

Let us know how it goes, and share more tips to get the perfect baby photo!

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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