The Complete Guide to Newborn Photography


There are few things more precious than a newborn, especially a newborn who is just hours old. I’m always in awe of the absolute miracle of it all. As a photographer, I can’t help but think how every single detail needs to be documented.

Quick Click:
[Part 1]: 5 Tips to Take Beautiful Newborn Pictures While They Are Still in the Hospital
[Part 2]: 5 Tips to Take Beautiful Newborn Hospital Photos When YOU Are the Momma

The Ultimate Guide to Newborn Photography [Part 1]: 5 Tips to Take Beautiful Newborn Pictures While They Are Still in the Hospital

#1: Open all the blinds and use a low aperture.

Often times hospital rooms are not exactly conducive to taking natural light photos. But not to worry, there is always a way around it. First of all open the blinds (pull them all the way up, don’t just open the slats). Next, if you still don’t have a fast enough shutter speed, dial your aperture all the way down. (f/1.8, 2.0, 2.2 etc.) This will help you achieve a nice and fast shutter speed.

#2: Position the baby where there is not a lot of clutter and distraction.

Let’s face it, hospital rooms are packed with eye clutter…cords, trays, buttons, your own stuff, the baby’s stuff…the list goes on and on. When taking pictures of the baby push that clutter aside and fill your frame with the baby.

#3: Take some detail shots of the baby and the room.

A newborn’s skin is so soft and furry and often times so wrinkly. And unfortunately this stage only lasts for such a brief moment. Take some close-up pictures of the baby and even some of the surrounding area to document exactly what the baby looks like.

#4: Step back and take a picture of the entire room.

Just as you took pictures of the details, take some pull-back pictures of the entire room to show what it felt like and looked like in the hospital room.

#5: Take some pictures with the baby and Mom.

Of course you need to document Mom holding the baby and the special bond they share. To help take the pressure of being in front of the camera off of Mom try suggesting things for her to do. For example say, “Hold the baby in your left arm and gaze down at the baby.” (click, click, click) or “Put the baby on your belly and look up at the camera.” (click, click, click) “Good, okay now look down at the baby. ” (click, click, click)

There you go! Above all, relax and have fun! I know that when you are in the thick of trying to capture the perfect photo it can get stressful or even frustrating. But I assure you, as you stop, take a deep breath and just relax into it, you will find success.

[Part 2]: 5 Tips to Take Beautiful Newborn Hospital Photos When YOU Are the Momma

We all want to remember those sweet, tender, and special moments when our babies are born. It’s a time like no other. It’s funny to me that I always look back on those hospital days with fond, happy memories even though the reality of it is that I was mostly uncomfortable and sore.

But none the less, I want to have photos to capture it.

Well, now that I was actually the one in the hospital this time I have a little different perspective on taking newborn hospital pictures. Everything from the first post stands true but this time I have some tips when it comes to taking the photos when YOU are the Mom.

So here it is…5 tips to take beautiful newborn hospital photos when YOU are the Momma:

#1: Teach/Talk to Your Hubby About What Pictures You Will Want As Soon As the Baby Is Born

Yes, YOU are the photographer but let’s face it, the last thing you want to do right after the baby is born is whip out your camera, adjust the settings and take your own pictures. You are a little preoccupied at the moment focusing on the baby that has just been laid in your arms. So before all the craziness begins, discuss with your husband what pictures you would like him to capture. For example; you holding the baby, the clock as soon as the baby is born, the baby being cleaned off and weighed, etc.

I also didn’t mess with making my husband take the photo’s in manual mode. (For the record, he is perfectly capable, I was just trying to make things as easy as possible!)  I had him set it to “auto” (gasp, I know) and shoot away. This meant the pop up flash was used so to make the pictures look a bit more pleasing I converted them to black and white.
Maddie and Lyndon meeting Lily for the first time…
They got to help give Lily her first bath! They were thrilled and thought it was so special.

#2: Have Your Camera Within Arms Reach At All Times

For me, I find that I’m in too much pain and it simply takes too much energy to get something if it’s not within arms reach of the hospital bed. So that is why I made sure my camera was always on my beside table waiting for me if I saw a picture perfect moment. Because it was always near, I was able to take a lot more pictures that I can treasure.
Be sure to capture all the details like their precious tiny little wrist bands.
And also include what the view looked like out your window. It helps you to remember the details.
Newborn-Photography-indoor lighting

#3: When You Feel Good Enough, Push the Baby’s Bed Near A Window & Snap Away

This is when you can also rely on my other 5 tips for taking beautiful newborn hospital photos. I love to take pictures using those iconic hospital issued items like the blankets with the blue and pink stripe and the little knit blue and pink striped caps.
Dana made me this cute felt garland to decorate her bed. Want to make one too? Check out her tutorial.

#4: Relax & Don’t Fret If Things Are Not Perfect

I totally get it…you have a specific photo in mind that you just have to capture. I’m surely not trying to stifle anyone’s creativity, however…if things are just not turning out how you have them pictured, go with it and move forward. Sometimes our “mistakes” turn into something wonderful that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

It’s not worth making yourself frustrated. Take a deep breath and do the best you can do and move on.

#5: Be Sure To Capture All The Details…Including Yourself.

Capturing the details, like what the room looked like and what we did in to pass the time, is easy for me. What can be a challenge for me is getting my own picture taken! I tend to be too critical of myself…especially with all the extra pregnancy weight. So when it comes to documenting me in the photos, I’m not much of a fan. However, I do know the importance of capturing photos of yourself, especially taken with your kids, so that you and your family can always remember that time of your lives.
We played Phase 10 and UNO to pass the time…
The beautiful flowers that my sweetheart brought me.
And there you have it…beautiful newborn photos in the hospital. Easy as that.

Above all, relax and have fun! I know that when you are in the thick of trying to capture the perfect photo it can get stressful or even frustrating. But I assure you, as you stop, take a deep breath and just relax into it, you will find success.

(NOTE: Want a step-by-step cheat sheet for crisper, colorful and eye catching pictures? Download the Key to Pictures Cheat and stop guessing on your camera’s manual settings.)