Last Updated on March 21, 2021
DIY newborn photography can be simple to setup and allows you to get great photographs of your baby without the high cost of a professional newborn photo session.
Just follow the tips below for a great do it yourself newborn photography setup and you can get great photos of your baby without stress or frustration.
DIY Home Newborn Photography Tips
When shooting DIY newborn photography at home keep in mind the following tips and you will have no problem capturing amazing and adorable pictures of your infant. The keys to success are preparation and safety. These tips will have you ready to safely pose your baby and get your props and lighting just perfect.
Take Your Photos Within Ten Days
The best newborn photographs are taken before your baby turns ten days old. During the first week and a half your baby is more calm and taking photos will be significantly easier. As baby’s age they become more restless and less cooperative with posing. So make sure to setup your session before the first ten days are up.
The great thing about mom and dad taking the pictures is that you have plenty of time so be patient while taking your images. When a pro comes to take pics they generally have a very limited amount of time and poses can sometimes feel rushed. Since that’s not the case when doing it yourself be sure to take your time and not rush your baby. Pics can be done in one or multiple different sessions. Remember, you have ten days to get those amazing pictures captured.
Newborn Photography Safety
A newborn photography DIY setup will be as simple or complex as you wish but keep in mind that the more props, poses and wardrobe changes you have the higher the chances become of your baby becoming stressed and fussy. One way to keep this to a minimum is by going with the most natural poses and avoiding complex setups. Also an important thing to remember is that often times those complex professional baby pictures with all the cute props and unusual poses are combinations of multiple simple images. Just stick to the basics and keep baby safe and happy.
Keep The Room Comfortable and Warm
Always feed your baby before doing any baby pictures. This will ensure they are happy and sleepy which is perfect for a photo session. You will also need to make sure the space you are shooting in is warm and cozy. Cold rooms are not what a baby feels comfortable in so turn the heat up. If you do not want to crank the heat up in the whole house, get a space heater and get the room your in up to a comfy temperature. Be sure that you use a safe space heater and not one that kicks off fumes.
Use Adorable Baby Props
When doing a DIY newborn photography session you don’t need to spend a fortune on professional baby props. Instead look around your home and use what you already have on hand. Muted color blankets, soft fabrics, headbands and even hats make perfect inexpensive props. And remember your baby is the star of the show so you don’t want them overshadowed by too many props. Be creative and you are sure to have all the props you need already at home.
Get Your Camera Ready Before Starting
A poor functioning camera or dirty lens will wreck your image quality so before starting setting up make sure your equipment is clean and working properly. Once done take a few pics around the house and make sure your images are coming out how you want them. If you need a great baby camera or lens check out the recommendations below.
Here are the recommendations for the best camera for newborn photography
Use A Tripod For Better Image Quality
A tripod can really boost how good your images look. A tripod will keep your camera stable which stops you from getting blurry images. While some cameras have internal image stabilization, a tripod will eliminate all image blur. A tripod will also allow everyone to be in some of the shots because you won’t need anyone to hold the camera! There are a ton of tripods on the market but you don’t have to spend a lot of money and it’s worth the minor investment.
Take Advantage of Natural Lighting
When setting up for your do it yourself infant photography session there is no need for a bunch of fancy photography lighting equipment. The best lighting comes from natural sunlight so big windows and bright times of day will be your best source of light. When setting up your poses aim for the light to be falling on your baby at a 45 degree angle. The direct light should be hitting just above or below the point of focus for each shot. When combined this will create flattering natural lighting that will create beautiful images. When scheduling the photo session aim for the early morning or late afternoon. If the light is too harsh just hang some sheer sheets or curtains over the windows.
Setup Your Home Studio
Here is what you need for a fully equipped DIY home newborn photography studio. A camera (or your cell phone), lens, a solid color backdrop (go for subtle colors), newborn bean bag or other safe posing spot, backdrop stand, and props. Have all your gear setup before getting your baby and before posing. You want to do as little gear adjustment as possible once you begin shooting. If you do not have some of the items above you can get them for reasonable prices.
Check out my recommendations for the best newborn photography bean bags
Swaddle For Adorable Pictures
Some of the best traditional infant images are when your baby is swaddled in their blanket. A tightly swaddled baby creates a cozy pose that is always adorable and perfect for capturing those newborn moments. The key is to swaddle them tightly as a loose blanket looks sloppy and unflattering. Sometimes it works best to swaddle the baby in two blankets to get the best look.
Keep Your Baby Poses Simple
If you are a first time parent shooting your own newborn pictures then you will want to keep your poses simple. Complicated poses used by professional photographers are not easy to achieve without the years of experience those photographers have. If you spend all your time trying to achieve complicated poses you will capture fewer quality images and increase the likelihood of stressing your baby. Also, traditional poses are always great and by focusing on them you will get more beautiful images of your newborn.
Get Close Ups
When shooting your traditional poses do not forget to get closeups of your baby. These will be some of your most cherished photos. Shoot images of your baby’s feet, toes, hands, fingers, and hair. Try and get all the little details that make your baby unique. Try images from different angles and you will be sure to get some amazing pictures.
Capture Different Angles and Perspectives
One of the best ways to get interesting images of your infant is by experimenting with different perspectives and angles. When lining up your shots try standing directly above your baby, stand so that shadows can be used. Get creative and you will be amazed with how some of your shots turn out.
Keep Safety Your Number One Priority
No matter what props you use, poses you capture or angle you shoot from, always be sure your baby is safe. Be certain props or camera equipment won’t fall on or hit your baby. Use a camera strap and don’t place heavy props near your baby. As long as you keep safety in mind you will have a great newborn photo session.
Include The Whole Family
Once you have all your traditional baby poses captured it’s time to include the rest of the family. Get pictures with dad, mom, your other kids. Get them solo and in groups with baby. Be sure everyone is relaxed for the images and capture the love of each family member and baby. If you have other children be sure they are calm when posing with the baby.
Baby Pictures With Older Children
Speaking of older siblings, these can be some of the best images you get. When done correctly they can show the love between your children and offer some of the best newborn images you can get. Before including young kids in a photo talk to them about being calm and quiet around the baby. The best poses for young children is to have them lay down next to the baby. Older siblings can hold baby for precious photos. These are not only great images, but it also is great way to let your older children know you value them and to make them feel important.
Use Some Baby Toys
One way to capture natural looking images is to use some of their toys and blankets in the pictures. Place them safely and naturally around your baby and capture images from different angles for some truly adorable images.
Capture Real Emotions When They Happen
Out of all the DIY newborn photography tips this is one of my favorites. During the entire photo session be sure your camera is always ready to shoot. That way as soon as baby smiles or shows emotion you are ready to capture it. For these shots do not worry too much about poses or perspective because the goal is to capture real emotions as they happen. If you are always ready to take the shot you won’t miss any of those beautiful moments.
Use Baby’s Favorite Stuffed Animal
Some of my favorite baby pictures are when the baby is sleeping holding their favorite stuffed animal. To get this picture simply place their favorite stuffed animal in their arms while they are asleep. These images are best captured at the beginning of the session as the baby is more likely to remain asleep at this time. Take multiple images from different angles and you will get truly charming photos.
Incorporate A Letter Board or Sign
Create special messages with a letter board or white board. This can be a great detail to enhance your newborn images. Be sure that it matches the rest of your scene and place it near your baby. You can create sweet or funny messages that will really make your baby pictures stand out.
Use Props and Signs to Capture Important Dates
You can use signs or props to show important dates. Some of the most popular are to display how many weeks or months old your baby is. This can be done simply with a sign or more intricately with a prop that spells out the date. This is a great way to show creativity if you are into artistic poses. When you capture these images over time it is also a great way to show your baby’s growth over time.
Be Careful When Posing Baby
While babies are very flexible and that can make posing easier, it is important to ensure you do not pose the baby in a way that could hurt them. That means don’t over do their flexibility and do not force your infant into a pose that they can’t achieve easily. Just pay close attention while posing your baby and if you get any resistance or see signs of distress stop the pose and do something less complicated.
Limit Poses Without Any Clothing
Because newborn babies pee without warning and often, shooting babies without a diaper can lead to damaged camera equipment and props. If you must take any images without any clothing keep it quick and get a diaper back on your baby.
Do not fret over skin blemishes. You may cover up any skin issues with props or clothing but this is not advised. It is very common for babies to have skin blemishes and you will want to include them in your images. If you want to remove them in post editing that is fine though.
Avoid Over Feeding Your Newborn
When a baby is over fed they have a tendency to be fussy. This can lead to gas and spitting up as well. Be sure to feed baby before shooting your images but feed a normal sized meal like you would any other time. If you do this you will decrease fussiness and make your photo session much easier.
Don’t Let Your Infant Get Too Hot
As pointed out earlier, you will want a warm and cozy room where taking your DIY baby photos, but do not let it get too hot. A room that is too hot can lead to trouble breathing for your baby and stress. This will also lead to a quicker heartbeat and fussiness. If you notice any signs of overheating turn down the heat immediately and let your baby cool off. It is best to stop the photo session and complete it the next day you have available.
Learn To Use Photoshop or Lightroom
If you want to take your DIY newborn photography to the next level invest in learning how to use Photoshop or Lightroom. While not required to get great baby pictures, using an editing software will allow you to touch up your images and spend less time in the actual photo session. These tools can correct image flaws. There is a learning curve though so if you do not intend to take many photos in the future this may not be for you.
Study Up Before the Shoot
While all these tips will help you get a great do it yourself photo session setup, I am a firm believer in preparation. There are tons of great videos out there with great pose and prop ideas. Take some time watching some videos to help find inspiration.
If you do not have time to learn photoshop or lightroom but still want some post session editing there are numerous people available to hire. You can find low cost help and still get those images touched up.
I sincerely believe any mom and dad can take amazing DIY newborn images but if after reading all these tips you feel it’s just not for you then there are tons of great professional photographers out there who can help you get beautiful baby pictures. The most important thing is to capture these precious moments so whether you hire a pro or DIY just be sure not to wait till they are grown.