4 Lifestyle Photography Tips for Newborns

February 9, 2012

in Photography Session Tips, Photography Tutorials

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips


When I first started out on my journey in children’s photography I had no idea that I could shoot lifestyle with newborns.

Like most of us do, I went out and bought some baskets, some black cloth for a “backdrop” and a few other props (yes, for those that know me I did in fact have props at one point in my shooting life!)

I failed. Miserably. I saw all these other photographers rocking baskets, bows, blankets … and I was a shaking, twitching mess at my newborn shoots trying to pull these looks together.

I was already honing my lifestyle craft with families and toddlers and thought “What am I DOING here? I am going against my grain to try and fit into a mold I created solely myself and I am not. having. fun.”

Having fun and “feeling” something when you shoot is critical in my book- unless you want to lead yourself down the path to burn-out in a flash.

So, I shook off the “have to’s” and started to approach newborns the same way I approached my other lifestyle sessions. I began shooting with the same end goal–natural, candid moments of baby and family that literally looked like a ‘peek’ into their lives.

Here are four tips to shoot lifestyle with newborns (even if you are, in fact, the master of newborn set-ups!):

1. Crib Shots.

Don’t neglect to photograph and capture the one place parents see their baby a lot–the crib. Full sweeping photos of nurseries with baby in the crib or a “through the slats” (my personal fave) perspective is a beautiful way to tell a newborn story. Crib life is fleeting. Capture it.

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

2. The candid moments (Don’t put that camera down just yet!)

While most photographers may put their camera down for a rest or review images while baby is being fed, soothed or changed, these are actually my favorite times to shoot! Talk about lifestyle photos in their purest form! The day-to-day of baby life. Nothing is more beautiful or tells the true story of a newborn more than these moments, in my book.

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

3. Head to the Master Bed.

A great way to get all of the family interacting with baby is by photographing them on the master bed. It’s big enough to accommodate, very personal, and usually has great light.

I also love doing solo shots on the bed with one of the blankets from their own collection.

Safety alert: If you are working with an ‘old-born’ be sure Mom is right out of frame monitoring the baby just in case they roll over. Middle of the bed is ideal and remember, no shot is worth the compromise of safety for newborns or any child, for that matter.

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

4. Detail shots at different angles.

Everyone loves to capture those little toes, feet, ears etc. And rightfully so! The newborn yumminess comes and goes in a blink. Try however, to shoot these photos from different angles as you have baby on the bed or in their boppy. The simple change of an angle and a shallow depth of field can allow for these detail shots to be done anywhere, so you don’t necessarily need a black back drop. I’ve done them even on changing tables. Don’t limit yourself.

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

Newborn Lifestyle Photography Tips

There are many different ways to capture newborns. Please don’t put yourself in a box or feel you have to emulate what is going on in the industry. Find your own vision of how you want to photograph newborns and start snapping.

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

Newborn Photography Tutorials | Baby Photography Guide

Natural Light Lifestyle PhotographerJennifer Tonetti-Spellman is a die-hard, natural light, lifestyle photographer in New York who loves to search for the light. Like her on Facebook to continue being inspired by her beautiful work!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly March 7, 2013

Thank you so much. Along with other people who have commented so far, I am venturing into newborn photography, and have been looking at a million props and expensive swaddles. Thankyou for reminding me who I am as a photographer. It’s not about fancy hats; it’s about the people and the moments. I will do a better job having read this.

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Ruth May 20, 2014

Etsy is your best friend 🙂

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