7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong

February 24, 2011

in Amy Locurto, Angie Arthur, Newborn Photography, Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong

If you’ve photographed a newborn baby, you know there is going to be a lot of pee, poop and crying on the babies part and probably a lot of sweating on your part. Here are a few tips we’ve learned to utilize when things go wrong at your newborn photography session.

Written by: Amy Locurto and Angie Arthur (co-founders of I Heart Faces)

1. Stay calm & use a soothing voice.

Newborn babies are happiest when their environment is calm, quiet and soothing.  Make sure your voice and body language reflect that throughout the session.

7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong


2. Ask mom to sit far across the room or go to the next room for a few minutes while dad takes over.

If the baby is really fussy, we typically ask our moms if they will wait in the next room or sit far across the room as fussy babies will smell mom and want her… even if they have full bellies. Most moms are happy to relax for a few moments and let us or dad take over to try to calm baby and get a few photos. Usually this works great and gives dad a job to help.

To go along with this, we also work plenty of extra time into our Newborn Sessions so that mom will be able to soothe a crying baby either with a little one-on-one cuddling time, changing their diaper or by feeding them. This many times, will calm the baby right back to sleep.
I Heart Faces - Newborn Photography Tips


3. Use a white noise to calm the baby.

  • We both own iPhones that we have downloaded white noise apps onto. Angie prefers QuietNoise (99 cents) while Amy likes to play White Noise by TM Soft ($1.99).  There are also many free white noise apps available as well. You can find small speakers to plug into your phone, so it’s not right next to baby.
  • Bring a white noise machine to the session with you.
  • We’ve worked with babies who don’t like white noise but will calm immediately when a familiar song is playing (like the lullaby on their swing).  In that case, we’ve pushed the play button over and over again so their favorite music can play and they remain calm.

I Heart Faces - Newborn Photography Tips


4. Warm up the room.

If you are so warm that you are perspiring profusely, then the newborn baby that you are working with is probably going to be very happy. Even in winter, we dress in light tops and are prepared to sweat our way through a session to keep the baby happy and calm.
I Heart Faces - Newborn Photography Tips


5. Have extra props and blankets for accidents.

There are many beanbags that are made just for the newborn photographer.  We’ve also found that the Boppy Nursing Pillow can be your best friend during a newborn session.

I Heart Faces - Newborn Photography Tips


6. Keep wipes handy.

No explanation needed on this one…they are very much needed! :)

I Heart Faces - Twin Babies - Newborn Photography Tips


7. Try something else.

If the baby will not hold still or stay in that cute position… think of another pose. Maybe mom holds the baby and you get some close-ups. Sometimes those candid moments end up being precious even when the baby is crying.


Don’t worry, we all have sessions like this…

Crying Baby - Newborn Photography Tips on I Heart Faces


No matter how stressful it may seem at the time, the mother of that newborn will no doubt be thrilled by what you capture of her precious little bundle of joy!


What are some newborn photography tips that have worked for you?


Don’t Miss Our Ultimate Newborn Photography Guide. An amazing FREE resource for all photographers!

Newborn Photography Tutorials | Baby Photography Guide

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Home designs December 17, 2014

Excellent website. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it to a few buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
And certainly, thank you to your effort!


Kristin June 8, 2013

Thanks! Great ideas!!


Dana February 8, 2013

Great tips! I heard that two space heaters is necessary and I will be doing that from now on instead of just the one!


Sarah February 4, 2013



susan peoples November 11, 2012

Where is a good place to get dyed Cheese cloth?


Ally September 27, 2012

I photograph newborns a lot and never thought about having mom hold the dryer a good distance away… that would not be insulting and still separate her from baby.



Dave C July 25, 2012

The wattage on a cell phone is so low you get more radiation standing in your back yard, and a phone is not emitting radiation when it’s not on a call, except for connecting with your wifi network, unless of course you don’t allow that in your house either. Ten years ago, you may have had a point. The new digital phones emit a fraction of what they used to.


Danielle Rayoum June 18, 2012

Good tips except the white noise part. I photographed a newborn recently in the mothers/newborns home. I forgot to bring my noise machine and asked if she had one. She had an iphone with the soothing ocean sounds and put it right next to the baby and she said that she (the baby) loved it. I cringed at the thought of the radiation going straight to the poor baby’s thin fragile skull to her brain. They will get enough cell phone to their head as a teenager. Keep it as far as possible when they are young especially if you are streaming music. If this is your only option, either put it on airplane mode or do without it completely. As a photographer and a mother, I would rather spend 3 hours more with a newborn without music than put a cell phone within 5 feet of one.


Linda April 11, 2012

Enkele tips voor de (startende) Newborn fotograaf: http://t.co/et718iKL


Dallas February 28, 2012

I’ve found that sometimes newborns get fussy when mom is nearby because they can hear her or smell her, and want to feed. Even if they aren’t hungry, some newborns just won’t settle if they know that mom is nearby but out of reach. Sometimes having mom sit quietly on the other side of the room, or having dad sit quietly close by can help baby relax and fall asleep.


Amy Locurto February 9, 2012

RT @iheartfaces: 7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong http://t.co/AAPQau8F


Photo TipMan November 27, 2011

These are excellent tips for photographing babies. I photographed almost nothing but babies for almost ten years and you talented ladies obviously have learned quite a bit through your experiences.

I encourage your readers to learn a few tips on photography l lighting techniques. A soft, large light source is almost always a great type of lighting to use for baby poses. Use natural window lighting or “bounce” lighting off of ceiling or close wall can give you great results.

Happy Shooting!


Albern September 27, 2011

Hi, these are really useful tips to improve infant photography.


Chi Pritchard August 12, 2011

Agreed, that patience and a soothing voice helps. I think you have some photographers that like to think they are drill instructors


Kimi Beltram July 6, 2011

One thing that has worked wonders for my last few sessions is a good wrap. Newborns seem to be more relaxed when their arms and legs are tightly secured. I use a dyed cheesecloth and wrap those babies nice and tight, they fall asleep within seconds even though wrapping them up causes them to fuss. After taking a few nice ones of them all swaddled up I unwrap them and they are usually very relaxed for a little while. I need to get a few other colors and textures so I can wrap and unwrap more than once per session.


Amy Locurto April 5, 2011

RT @iHeartFaces: 7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong http://bit.ly/hS7zNI


Jen March 15, 2011

Great article – very informative. I plan to use these tips as I venture out and take more newborn photos. My first experience was with my first born, 10 months ago. I recently blogged about it here:



Andrea March 11, 2011

I always wash my hands before I start shooting, and warm them up with the hairdryer I bring for white noise/warmth.


Kim and Kris February 25, 2011

Fantastic baby photo tips from the gals at @iheartfaces @livinglocurto @angiearthur http://bit.ly/fIlvsS (The twins photo is our fav!) 😉


Shannon February 25, 2011

I also use the heating blanket to warm the props before putting the baby on them.


Laurie February 25, 2011

I have had only two newborn shoots, and my favorite pictures were of the Mom trying to soothe the baby when she was fussy, or when mom was just gazing lovingly at her. I just snapped away. These were Moms favorite as well.


maria February 25, 2011

Really really thankful for these tips. I’ve done two newborn shoots and the first one bordered on disaster, but I learned many things from it!!! the second one I did yesterday and these tips are spot on. you guys are the best, love your support!


Jessica Jensen February 25, 2011

Thank you so much for these lovely tips! I will definately use them at my next photo shoot. I did my first baby photo shoot a weekend ago and I think I did good for the first time. Check it out if you’d like! :) http://www.jessicajensenphotography.com/2011/02/my-niece-cassandra-snow.html


lisaleonard February 24, 2011

RT @bakeat350tweets: Love these newborn photo tips from @iheartfaces ! ::: http://ow.ly/42U6V


bridget edwards February 24, 2011

Love these newborn photo tips from @iheartfaces ! ::: http://ow.ly/42U6V


Melisha B. February 25, 2011

I crochet a lot and I started making cocoons. They’re basically the same pattern as an adult beanie hat but you just make them longer.

Many of these, you can tell are wrapped. They’re basically made as a large square and you wrap it like a swaddler. Hope that helps!


Chelle Cates February 24, 2011

I am so glad I saw this today. I had my first 2 newborn sessions last week and neither of the babies would go to sleep!!! All those cute shots work so much better with sleeping babies! I learned a lot and am glad to have extra tips! Looking forward to the next one!


angie {the arthur clan} February 24, 2011

The green crocheted cocoon was used in a few of my sessions. Unfortunately, a photographer friend let me borrow it and I have no idea where she purchased it from. I’m pretty sure it was quite awhile ago from an Etsy store.

Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

co-founder of I Heart Faces


Laurie Turk February 24, 2011

Fantastic! RT @iheartfaces: 7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong http://bit.ly/hS7zNI


Bridget February 24, 2011

great tips, I have draped mom with a blanket and let her sit with baby in her arms above the blanket, lets baby be held and you can still get some cute shots


Andrea February 24, 2011

Great idea!


Jenni February 24, 2011

I have to admit, some of my favorite pictures of my two girls as newborns are the ones with scrunched up teary faces. Babies cry. That’s real. And once you’re past that stage, as a mom, you can look back and see how darling it really was.


Rebecca Cox February 24, 2011

Thank you so much for the tips! I have my first newborn sessions coming up as soon as next month, and these tips couldn’t be more timely!


Rachel Sachse February 24, 2011

Thanks for these tips! I really like the white noise idea, I havn’t thought of that! A tip that I use during Newborn shoots, is I always bring a corn or rice pillow, or a heating pad of some sort, to lay under the blanket or prop that the baby is on. It keeps them cozy and sleeping!


Marina February 24, 2011

Random question, but the blanket used on the first photo is beautiful I have been looking everywhere for a crochet or knit patter to make something like that. Any ideas? Did you guys make that one? Could you please share any resources you might have?

Thank you.


Genevieve February 24, 2011

One great tip I recieved for posing newborns is to move them into a compicated pose in stages and keep your hands on them in betweenfor a few seconds…then move an arm into place and hold it …then move a little leg into place and hold it. That seems to work better for me than trying to bend them into position all in one go.

Great tips! Thanks for the article!


Adrienne February 24, 2011

LOL, I could have used this article a couple of weeks ago. I had all my props organized, lighting was perfect, mom looked beautiful and calm. The baby would not fall asleep! Be prepared to change gears if something isn’t working. I didn’t get any images of the sweet sleeping baby like I had planned, but we did manage to get several photos of mother and baby that were really precious. Love the white noise idea!


Gisselle February 24, 2011

wow … These are awesome tips !! thanks for sharing.


Valerie February 24, 2011

Great tips! This made me realize that it takes a lot of work to get those “so cute” “awww” pictures because we always see the calm baby sleeping. We never get to the the “bloopers” pictures!


Jennie February 24, 2011

I use a heating pad on low under a couple of blankets. Even the most cranky baby will settle into a snooze with it!


Caroline Penn February 24, 2011

These are great tips. The photos that I see always makes things seem so easy when they are obviously not! I also loved the White Noise examples – I am sitting at work now thinking that this background noise would do some good around here!

Beautiful results – sweet newborns!


Shae Lorigan February 24, 2011

Don’t try to force a certain pose. I notice that if I spend too much time trying to get baby into the perfect pose, she just gets cranky. Also, SAFETY FIRST! Remember many of the poses you see are composites of 2 shots. As a mom, I won’t do anything that I wouldn’t want done to my babies.


Michele T February 24, 2011

I totally agree about the hair dryer. It also gives Dad something to do if he’s hanging around! 😉


Amy Locurto February 24, 2011

Great tips!! RT @iheartfaces: 7 Tips for a Newborn Photography Session Gone Wrong http://bit.ly/hS7zNI #photo


Emma Braford February 24, 2011

Thank you! Much needed advice. Where is that yummy yummy knitted blanket from (the one in the first photo)??


Abigail February 24, 2011

Thanks so much for this! I’m due in July with our last and as much as I want a professional to do newborn pictures, it’s not in our budget so I’m going to do it myself. This is a huge help!


Tami Tripp February 24, 2011

The most important thing I think is patience. Never rush a pose. Expect everything to take twice as long. Don’t go into the session with a long list of difficult poses you want to capture. Pick 5 or 6 with one tricky one to try if the baby is cooperating. Always do a few inside a basket or wood box…whatever you have…these always end up being so cute and parents love them!

If you have a baby who is having trouble settling just bundle them and hold and rock and shush until they settle…then keep doing it longer until they are in a relaxed state. Learn to take beautiful pictures of bundled babies. There are so many examples out there.

Don’t fret if baby startles or wakes when you move them. Just put a blanket back on them gently, hold them securely on their head and bum and shush a little and they will settle back in to sleep.

Have fun! Newborns are beautiful!


kbreints February 24, 2011

Love these tips… and those photos of the babies crying– DARLING.


Nicole H February 24, 2011

Using a hair dryer works like a charm (for white noise) as well and most everyone owns one in their homes 😉


MrsW February 24, 2011

Wonderful advice – I needed it last week mind you lol!


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