Photographer’s How-To: Capturing Your Newborn + Giveaway

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Ask any experienced parent: Capturing your sweet sleeping baby in the nursery is a moment you’ll want to cherish because the reality is, it lasts for what  feels like only seconds when looking back. The truth is, my kids came out all red and pimply. One had “spider bites” while the other had “strawberry marks” as per my pediatrician.  So I admit, I was hesitant and now oh so regretful that I did not invest in a professional photographer to fill their album with magical, tiny newborn shots. Well, today I thought I would go straight to the source (And who knows? Maybe a third child will benefit from this down the road!). I reached out to the exceptionally talented Rebecca Thompson of Rebecca Joy Studios located in Victoria, BC. After only a few moments of browsing her newborn and maternity gallery, I wanted to know how she did it and how our readers could safely try to capture the same precious moments at home!

Top newborn styling tips according to Rebecca:

1. TIMING: Photograph your baby preferably within the first 10 days of life. The younger the better for deep sleep and more flexibility for posing them.

2. NATURAL LIGHT: Turn off your camera flash and use the natural lighting of a large window with soft, diffused sunlight. If warm enough head outside to use light from an overcast sky, shaded patio or sun spotted area under a tree.

3. WARMTH: Babies like to be very warm and cozy, so turn up the heat. Keep the photos simple and timeless by photographing your baby in the nude. Use a heating pad to prewarm a spot for baby to lie on. Remove pad before placing baby on the blanket.

4. FULL TUMMY: Be patient and allow sufficient time for baby to have a full feed. First undress baby and loosen the diaper to prevent marks. Wrap baby loosely in a warm blanket and feed until in a deep content sleep.

5. PROPS: Props should compliment the shot and not overwhelm the baby. Keep it simple with a knit hat or delicate headband. Gauze wraps can be used to swaddle baby or wrap snugly around baby to make a cocoon. Use a beanbag covered with a knit, faux fur or textured blanket for baby to be safely posed on. Keep the background clutter free.

6. DETAILS: Get close up to your baby or use the macro setting on your camera. Capture all the little details like tiny toes, squishy lips, back wrinkles and the whorl of baby fine hair. Baby’s tiny size can be emphasized by placing dad’s or mom’s hands in the shot. Be creative and photograph from different angles.

7. SAFETY: Put the baby’s safety first. Have your partner or friend assist you with the shoot and to be a spotter. Never put the baby in harms way in the quest for the “perfect image”. Leave the latest trends of poses for the professionals. There is more to the story then you see in the final image. Never do anything with your baby where you are not confident about their safety.

A big thank you to Rebecca, busy mother of two wee ones, professional photographer and Etsy shop owner for sharing her inspiring expertise and incredibly helpful photography hints! Our friends at Shutterfly believe it’s important that your new photography skills and beautiful baby should be cherished in one of their amazing new custom photo books! And from personal experience, they are the best on the market. Details are below:

GIVEAWAY ALERT! The first 5 readers to comment on how you will or how did you capture your newborn in photos win a free 20-page 8×8 photo book with hard cover. Taxes, shipping and handling charge will apply.  Offer does not include premium licensed photo books, leather, or padded covers. Good Luck!


  1. 1

    My son was preemie so I didn’t get those first amazing shot opportunities.. he is 3mnths now but only 7lbs so he looks like a newborn.. I will try the simple shots like with knit hat.. I totally love the first pic where baby is all wrapped up!! I wanna try that. We did get my lil guy in a Easter basket for Easter but only got a few shots before he woke up pissed!! Haha thanks for great suggestions!!
    [email protected]

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    I will use your natural light suggestion. I always seem to have the best pose/picture but as soon as the flash goes off my son throws his arms up and makes squinted eye face.. great giveaway!! So happy I got woken up or I would have missed this!! Jnavarro714 at

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    I would have loved to have pictures like this of me and my husband when we were babies! We are definitely going to be using your natural light techniques and try posing my little boy after he is well fed. Thank you so much for the tips!

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    I love the natural light suggestion, and I also think it’s important to photograph the baby within the first 10 days. With my first child, we waited too long, and then we had a screaming child instead of a sleeping infant, as I had envisioned. Thank you for all the tips!

  5. 5

    These tips are great… We took advantage of them all and are in the process of framing our favorites now for our 11 week old son.

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    I will use the natural lighting and simple prop tips once this little baby comes in a week or so! Thanks for the help on how to do it ourselves! Now I just have to have a fun hat on hand for a boy and girl since this one is a surprise!

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    My husband and I are expecting our third child at the end of this month. We have used a professional photographer for our 1st 2 girls – we captured them as early as 3 months. This 3 baby we are going to get those newborn shots. I was on the fence about it but after reading the article I thought it will be nice to do something different for our 3rd. Thank-you for your advice and we are super excited in welcoming baby and doing a photo session within 10 days after delivery. Becky

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    This is a wonderful article on tips for photographing newborns. As a professional photographer, I thought I would photograph my son within his first two weeks of life, but when we got home from the hospital, I was so in awe of him, all I wanted to do was hold him! I was also physically exhausted and kept thinking, “I’ll do his photos in the morning…or tomorrow afternoon, etc.” Before I knew it, he was 13 days old and I was suddenly realizing, that although I had taken photos here and there, I hadn’t done an official session for him…and then I scrambled to do a mini session in our upstairs bedroom, with the natural light pouring in! With our next baby due in November, I now know that despite being a photographer, I am going to hire someone else to do the job…so I’ll be sure it will get done properly and I can just enjoy being a mom…and I can be in some of the pictures! I think that would actually be a good tip to add to this type of article—be sure to be in a few of your child’s newborn photos. Even though you may not feel your best or aren’t happy with the extra baby weight that is of course still there in the first 10 days, capture a few moments with your sweet precious baby anyway. You will be so glad to have them years down the road and your little one certainly will cherish them, too.

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    We are lucky enough to have a close friend who is a photographer who shot our wedding, is doing our pregnancy photos and who will take some lovely pix of our 1st little one expected any day now… I’ve browsers tones of sites and already have the perfect knit hat set aside.. We will be posting our professional photos for others to use for ideas as well

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    I had triplets in January and brought in a photographer for a shoot in April. Though the photos turned out beautiful, I do wish we scheduled a date around the time when all babies were home from the NICU. That would be my one recco. to mommies-to-be…plan and schedule ahead of time since things get crazy once the baby (or babies in our case) arrive. On the day of the shoot, I spent the whole day strategizing on how to make sure the babies were 1/2 hour into their nap (all at the same time) when the photographer arrived. The babies were put down for their nap wearing their onesie for the shoot & I pulled a few props to choose from and another outfit. It was exhausting (as everything is with 3), but an experience well worth it!

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    My favorite picture of my son is of him lying on the floor in front of his bedroom window, with our lab lying next to him smelling him. The dog’s paws are tucked in and he looks like he’s being so gentle with the tiny baby. The natural lighting definitely makes a difference.

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    Amazing photos. I am always amazed at how these photographers are able to take such wonderful photographs of babies and even toddlers, when they aren’t the most cooperative of clients.

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    wonderful article!

    when I took pictures of my baby girl she was so warm and cozy she peed all over the blanket we were using.

    Allow time for the unexpected and just go with it. Don’t get to stressed out over anything. Live in the moments!

  15. 15

    I adore everyone’s comments and stories here! Rebecca had some really awesome tips. Just wanted to let the photo book winners know that we will email them later today with their coupon code. Congrats to Meredith C, Juan Navarro, Crystal Harper, Steph and Gretchen!!! And thanks again. We’ll have more photo books to give away in the coming weeks!

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    Crystal and Meredith – You should have gotten your codes this afternoon. My apologies for the delay! Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks and congrats again!

  19. 19

    Great idea! All new moms are obsessed with photographing their babies. Nice to share some tips and tricks from professionals! Xoxo Misty. Frosted Events

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    When it comes to taking photos, I really have a lot of regrets. For one, I never had a maternity shot. Well, I hated the way I look when I was pregnant and photos of my bloated face and tummy made me cringe. But now, how I wish I had documented my baby bump. I also regret not taking many photos of my little girl when she was just a newborn, or at least taking her to a professional photographer’s studio. These photos here have intensified those regrets. Sigh.

  21. 21

    I can’t wait to try out these tips. I took baby pictures of a my friend’s new little boy and I wasn’t sure that I was getting the best shots. I like how you said, take simple shots. As my baby girl will be due in less than 2 months, I am going to try this on her. Thank you.

  22. 22

    we never did newborn pictures on our 1st child… big mistake! I can’t wait to have them done when we have #2

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