newborn photos


If you’ve decided to take professional newborn photos, and I highly suggest that you do, it’s time to prepare yourself for an unpredictable experience! As hard as we try, babies always seem to know how to catch us off guard. But let’s be real. What is parenthood if not a crash course in rolling with the punches? You’ve got this, mamas, and I’m here to help. Here are my five favorite must-haves for non-fussy newborn photos, straight from a professional photographer… and mom

Newborn Photos Must-Have #1: Snacks

As temperamental as babies may be, one thing is timelessly certain: A full baby is a happy baby. While I covered bringing baby to their newborn photos with a full tummy in the entry linked above, it’s also a good idea to bring plenty of bottles (or other munchies, depending on baby’s age and diet) with you, too. A photo shoot can bring plenty of new and unfamiliar things to a newborn’s radar. Sometimes a little tummy top-off is just the ticket for comfort and joy!

Must-Have #2: Snuggles

It should come as no surprise that the best source of comfort to your baby is, well… you! While your newest edition is obviously the focal point of any newborn photos, don’t be afraid to jump into some shots yourself — even if just your shoulder, lap, or hands. Studies have shown that snuggling your baby creates a surge of oxytocin (the happy love hormone), relieves stress, and even regulates breathing, heart rate and blood sugar in infants. If it’s a fussy kind of day, your touch might be the difference between scowls and smiles!

Newborn Photos Must-Have #3: Sounds

Like I said, newborn photos can bring lots of new and exciting things to a baby’s attention. And while it might be exciting and fun to some, other babies prefer the familiar to put their best face forward. Consider bringing some white noise or soothing music to your photo shoot, especially if your baby sleeps with a sound machine or has a favorite song/sound. Do you sing to your newborn as you rock them gently each day? You might want to give that a try, too. Nothing soothes a fussy baby like the voice of a parent or sibling! Shake off those nerves… Your song will last a minute or two, but a happy baby image will last forever. 

Must-Have #4: Swaddles

There’s a reason hospitals still recommend swaddling your newborn. Swaddles create a safe and cozy position that provides extra comfort and security—two things you’ll want to promote when taking newborn photos! Taking some sweet swaddled photos almost guarantees peaceful, fuss-free pictures. It also limits the need for wardrobe changes (making baby cold or disrupting their groove), and keeps baby warm… an essential part of keeping everyone happy! So practice your safe swaddles, or check to see if your photographer has mastered the technique. Bring some blankets in the beautiful colors you choose for your newborn photos, or a made-to-swaddle wrap or sleep sack like these

Newborn Photos Must-Have #5: Smells

Just like the tricks of bringing along familiar sounds, some comforting smells might be the key to your non-fussy newborn photos. Does your nursery have a diffuser, humidifier or plant? Do you use essential oils or a specific detergent/fabric softener? What about baby lotions, or a soft perfume or cologne baby will associate with mom and dad? Research has shown that having the scents that soothe handy can slow quickened breath and heartbeats, calm an anxious nervous system, and even slow racing thoughts. It’s a simple way to help your baby be their best!

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Colorado Senior Photography
Colorado Newborn Photographer


Preparing for a new baby can take up most of your time and attention, and it’s totally understandable if newborn photos are the last thing on your mind! So consider this your gentle reminder that taking them is absolutely worth it. Trust me, I know between the feeding, the diapers, the laundry, the naps and probably more laundry, it’s hard to see the moments you’ll never have back from behind heavy eyelids. That’s why it’s important to capture them from behind the lens! And while I’m sure your iPhone’s camera roll will see hundreds of baby photos in those first weeks (and months… and years…), there’s something to be said for taking the time to do it right, with a real camera and a professional photographer. It all goes by so quickly. Newborn photos make the moments last forever!

Why should I take professional newborn photos?

I know it feels like another thing you need to handle and deal with, but in my experience, I’ve been hard-pressed to find a parent who regrets taking newborn photos. Hiring a professional guarantees that your baby is in qualified, well-trained hands, can be posed gently with your guidance, and that all the necessary backdrops and props are completely safe and baby approved. 

And while it might feel like an inconvenience (you’re dealing with enough right now, right?), a professional photo session might actually give you a chance to relax, let someone else take charge, and spend some time feeling human again. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll have professionally lit, professionally edited and professionally composed photos of your precious baby that will last so much longer than the sleepless nights. Hard to find a downside to that!

When should I schedule newborn photos?

In a perfect world, try and schedule your newborn photos sometime during your third trimester. Why? Most professional photographers book up quickly, or only reserve a day or two each week (or month) for baby sessions. But let’s face it—babies are as unpredictable as that final trimester itself! If baby is already here, that’s okay, too. Just try and get on a schedule sometime within that very first week with your bundle of joy. 

If you want to capture your baby in their tiniest, squishiest state, I recommend taking professional newborn photos between 5 and 10 days old. Be sure to give yourself enough time to be home from the hospital and as settled as you can, then schedule your shoot. If getting settled takes a bit longer, no worries! Anywhere from one to three weeks works just fine. Babies are their sleepiest and snuggliest up to two weeks old while they adjust to life outside their cozy wombs. 

If your newborn photos are scheduled between two and four weeks, baby is more awake and alert, which can pose some challenges for both you and your photographer. But don’t let that give you stress! You can still have an amazing session with these happy baby tips: 

1. Feed your baby

I’ve known so many clients who try to power through a fussy photoshoot because they don’t want to pause and inconvenience the photographer. But guess what! We want to get those happy, sleepy, perfect shots just as much as you do. Plan to bring your baby to the session with a full tummy, but if hunger strikes, don’t be afraid to ask for a few minutes for bottles or feeding.

2. Keep it warm

If you’re shooting in a studio, your photographer likely already knows this one. But if you’re taking newborn photos in the comfort of your home (which I actually recommend!), resist the urge to crank the A/C—even in the summer, and even when your postpartum hormones are working overtime. Remember, babies are used to feeling safe inside a body, chilling at a steady 98.6 degrees. I’m not saying to bump your furnace up to 100 degrees, but just keep in mind that babies are happiest when warm. (And you can get everything back to normal temps as soon as your session is over!)

3. Plan for the worst

I know, it’s hard to imagine your baby as anything less than perfect. But newborns aren’t exactly masters of bodily functions just yet. In addition to any bottles and binkies, be sure to have back-up clothes and blankets picked out and handy when you take your newborn photos. Then be sure to have a backup for your backup. When something gets stained, stay calm. It’s all handled and expected!

Are you bringing the whole family along for the shoot? Pictures with older siblings and family pets are timeless additions to your albums and frames. And they don’t have to take years off your life! Check out my top tips for a stress-free family photo session here.

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