Newborn Photography For Beginners

Newborn Photography For Beginners


I have a special guest for today's blog post! I am so excited to welcome Alicia Leffler from Looking Glass Photography By Alicia Leffler in Michigan! I do not photograph newborns. I have tried. Its just not my thing. They are SO MUCH WORK! You wouldn't think those little bundles of joy that sleep all the time would be! But they are!! And that is why Alicia is here today to talk a little bit about newborn photography and give us some tips to think about before getting started. 

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Thinking of getting into newborn photography? Let’s talk. I’m a newborn/family/everybody photographer based out of the Mitten State (Saginaw, Michigan to be exact) and owner of Looking Glass Photography by Alicia Leffler. I’ve been a photographer for less than 5 years (gasp!!) and during this time have learned so very much and continue to learn all the time. I love watching my newborn clients grow, change and develop into tiny people with big personalities. I love photography more today than yesterday, and I hope that continues tomorrow, and for many more tomorrows to come. 

At this point, I bet when you think of newborn photography, you think of a beautiful image of a tiny, sweet, angelic face sleeping in a basket/on a blanket/in a hammock/etc. So did I. And then I had my first session. Poop. Crying. What was I doing wrong?!? This baby wasn’t sleeping! This baby was angry! Have you seen a legit angry baby? It’s not photo-worthy, let alone swoon-worthy. Envision red faced screaming, and the looming possibility of said angry baby’s head spinning off its axis. If this has happened to you-I feel you. 

So, how do you get it right? Let’s do this! 

Newborns are fickle creatures; and rightfully so! They just came out of somewhere that was warm and snuggly 24/7. And here we are-stripping them down to nothing and curling them up into strange poses. The good thing is-during the first week of life, our precious little packages are super bendy! So, step one: newborn photos are best done during this first week. They’ll be extra sleepy and extra flexible, making your job easier. (Not easy. No one said this was easy. EVER!) 

So now you have baby scheduled during the first week, how do you get this tiny human to “perform”? You’ll want to make sure they have full tummies. Let mom know that whether she’s breast feeding or bottle-feeding, she’ll want to top the baby off (so to speak) right before leaving for your studio (or depending on drive time, leave early to top off before the session). Prepare for breaks for feeding. Babies are hungry critters, and they won’t do anything for you unless you give them what they want. (We all get hangry sometimes, right??) Feed those babies! 

Also, remember when I told you they were warm and snuggly in the womb? Recreate it, my friend. (Only less water. Much less water…) Space heaters or heating pads are your friend. I always warn mom and dad that it’s going to be hot. Like 7th circle of Hades hot. Prepare them. Mom has gone through enough in the past week, this type of heat is not a “fun” surprise.  Make sure your heaters or heating pads are a safe distance away from baby. Always.

This leads us to the safety issue. You knew it was coming, right? Please say you did. This is the single most important section of this article. If you read nothing else, READ THIS. This brand new creation’s safety is your number one priority. It’s up to you to pull off this session safely. The parents are depending on you, the professional, to nail this safely. Ok, got it?!?

Now that you’re on the safety train, buckle up. Safety first. Easiest thing to do: wear your camera strap. It’s itchy, it’s annoying…I know. And I don’t care. If your camera falls from any height onto baby it can be devastating. Wear. Your. Strap. Next, if you don’t have an assistant, have mom or dad stand nearby with hands at the ready. Newborns are easily startled. Have hands there when this happens. 

While we’re in the posing mode, how is your personal level with posing? I know everyone loves the froggy pose, or head on hands; but do you know how that is done safely? If the answer is no, stay away. In fact, run in the other direction. You never want your lack of experience to be the reason someone gets hurt. These types of poses are done using composites: several images smooshed and edited into one. Typically hands and arms are edited out from different angles. Mom or dad never has hands off baby the entire time these poses are shot. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, please don’t attempt them. 

Overall, practice. Practice with a stand-in baby (these are pricey, but if newborn photography is your jam it may be worth the investment for you). Use a doll. Use anything but a real baby while you perfect your craft. 

This is clearly not a comprehensive list of all tips and tricks imaginable for newborn photography. It’s a snippet from my life and experiences only! Should you decide newborn photography is your niche in life, you’ll find lots, and lots, and lots (need I go on?!?) more information on posing, styles, props, and especially safety. Take this article as your jumping off point and crash course on newbie babies, and go forth and learn!

I’ve had a blast stepping in as a guest blogger. Let’s connect! For more fun, tips, and sarcasm-clad commentary, check out my website at or head to my Facebook Looking Glass Photography by Alicia Leffler. 


Thank you so much Alicia!! Extremely informative!! And those pictures!!! Adorable!!!!! 

Before you go, please click on the image below to check out BP4U's newborn department! Posing guides for newborns and maternity, contracts, marketing graphics, and welcome packet templates for clients!


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