Newborn photography can be tricky. Depending on when your shoot is scheduled the newborn could have grown substantially, from a squishy little ball, or be an energetic crawler. That’s why it’s important to schedule newborn photography sessions during the week or two after a child is born. 

Because of this, posing will vary quite a bit depending on what age the newborn is on the day of your shoot. You might need to pivot your strategy if you were planning to do the shoot at 8-days-old as opposed to a 3-month-old newborn. Moreover, if you’re unfamiliar with handling a child, it can be a little precarious to set up newborn photography poses. 

Props can help when posing is lacking in any photo shoot. So, we will explore some of those options, too. A cute blanket, onesie, or hat can make all the difference during your shoot. 

Be sure to bring a variety of props with different colors and textures to help cast light on your subject in interesting ways. Sometimes you might want a fuzzy matte blanket to absorb some of the ambient light, and other times you might want something vibrant, colorful, and shiny. 

Newborn Photography poses

As previously mentioned, posing a newborn can have a significant impact on the final images you deliver to your clients, loved ones, and friends. Be sure not to show your nervousness when trying to direct or pose the newborn. But, if you do, most people will be fine with it as long as you can brush it off with some humor. 

1. The “brand-new” newborn bundle

If your subject (the baby) is less than 1 month old, you can use the newborn bundle as an option for posing. For this pose, it helps to have a blanket you can wrap the baby in. But, you can achieve a similar effect if the newborn is in a onesie or pajamas. Children this age sleep a lot so, chances are they will doze off in this comfy little pose.

2. Hands cradling the head

If you have ever seen a photo of a child (or their caregiver) holding their head in their hands, chances are you know how adorable those photos look. Make sure to play with lighting and angles to get and interesting perspective. With newborns, as one of the parents to hold the baby, resting its head in their hands. This makes for a beautiful photogbraph that captures a moment of connection between baby and parent. 

3. Sitting on a caregiver’s lap

While this is a simple pose to try out, its a tried and tested classic. Make sure one of the parents is holding the newborn on their lap, supporting the baby in their arms. This pose creates a sense of connection and can appear to be a very candid, quite moment between the two. It’s particularly effective as it doesnt take much coaching from you to make sure the parent looks comfortable in these photos.

4. Laying on their tummy

Chances are the newborn will tire get tired pretty quickly and roll over onto their tummy. Or if you pose them in that way. If the baby is awake and energetic, with some encouragement from the parents, and good timing, you will probably be able to catch the glimmer in the child’s eye as they look at their parents in this pose.

5. Sibling love

Newborn sessions are a great way to get photos of all the little ones in the family together. Plus, some older siblings can get really goofy with their younger siblings, and that’s always fun. 

6. Crawling towards the camera

Although a little past the newborn stage, you’ve probably seen photos of babies crawling toward the camera. This typically only works with children a bit older, but some babies are mobile straight out the gate. If you can catch a happy moment while they are crawling your way, all the better.

7. The Thinker

You might have heard of the bronze sculpture The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin. Thankfully for you, you won’t have to learn anything about being a sculptor for this pose. Bring some different toys and noise makers as an interesting distraction for the newborn baby, and wait for a moment where the baby looks captivated, and deep in thought. An intrigued stare can be just as cute as a smile if you execute it correctly. 

8. Kissing the baby

Obviously, the family loves their baby so make sure to document that affection! Ask the parents to hold the baby get them to kiss her/him on either cheek. You can even get them to tickle a little to get a really big laugh out of the baby. This always makes for a really fun photograph.

Newborn photography props

While poses can help you capture the personality of the newborn baby, props do that in a completely different way. If you find a prop that the newborn loves, chances are you can let them run wild with it. You can have some really whimsical props too, anything from a miniature bathtub, a cake with a little chef outfit, or a tiny little astronaut helmet, the possibilities are limitless, even though your prop budget likely is not. 

1. The “nerd” outfit

A pair of old glasses and some suspenders can be a fun prop to add to your prop kit for newborn photography. It can take your sleepy-eyed dreamer and turn them into a sophisticated intellectual. 

2. Birthday hat

Whether it’s a newborn shoot with a “fresh baby” or a 1 year celebration birthday themed shoots can be a lot of fun, and are a great way to get another milestone on camera. 

3. Cake!

Cake smash photography can me a lot of fun! Capture the moments from when the cake is placed in front of the baby, until they have unleashed their little fingers on it, smashing it, squishing it in their little fingers, and getting the cake and icing every except their mouth.

4. Stuffed animals

Stuffed animals are a great way to set the scene for your newborn shoot. Ideally, it would be with a toy the child already has and loves which can create some really heartwarming photos. You can also style the scene with a whole plethora of stuffed animals along with other props to create a fun “stage” for these newborn portraits.

5. Balloons

If you’re setting up a fun, celebration shoWhile Balloons are typically associated with birthdays, there are plenty of other occasions that you might want to keep in mind for a newborn shoot. The baby could be born close to Christmas, New years, Halloween, Hanukkah, or a number of other holidays. Balloon animals can also be fun. Just try to remove anything that could make them pop.

6. Cooking gear

Getting some baby-friendly toy kitchen equipment like a spoon, spatula, or rolling pin could be the right ingredient to create a really fun culinary themed shoot. 

7. Toys

Toys can be an instant improvement for the images you capture of the newborn. While some toys are universal, like stuffed animals, if you know the father-to-be is a nurse, some medical toys would be a nice touch. If the mother is a pilot, some airplane accessories might be just what you need. It’s all about bringing in an element of fun and excitement while giving the baby something to interact with.

8. Sunglasses

Whether inside or outside, a pair of sunglasses can enable the newborn’s cool kid personality to come out. Also, if the baby doesn’t like wearing sunglasses, it could make some funny moments with a touch of attitude caught on camera.

9. Rubber Duckies

Rubber duckies are very useful for a bath-themed photo shoot. While this one is specific, there is no shortage of people who want cute photos of their kid in the bath, even if there isn’t any bathwater. 

10. Pop culture items

Pop culture items is admittedly a broad term, but what I mean here are items that reference some kind of popular culture. This is a great way to incorporate elements from the latest Pixar or Disney movie. Bonus points if you can set the scene so the baby looks like they’re part of the story. This idea will require some extra planning and conversation with the parents before the shoot. 

11. Flowers

Flowers can be a nice finish to add some foreground or background interest to enhance your newborn photography toolkit. You can also use rose petals and scatter them around. Just try to make sure they don’t wind up in the kid’s mouth! Allergies are a potential concern here, so a quick chat with the family helps. 

12. Prop letters

Getting large handmade props for newborn photography might not be in everyone’s budget, but if you’re willing to invest in some more custom props like oversized letters it can really add a personal touch to the shoot.

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