Newborn photography can be very challenging, especially for beginners. It can take a long time to get the right shot, and you may find it even emotionally and physically draining. Newborns are not a walk in the park!
This is because you do not only have to worry about the right lighting, the best camera angles, but your subject matter can be less than cooperative. It is a learning curve for sure.
However, having knowledge of the best posing techniques for newborns can help you get on track (see also “Posing Techniques For Flattering Toddler Photos“), and know what to do.
When you have posing techniques in mind, you can think ahead about what kind of angles, lighting and composition the image will have, to make the process much easier.
In this guide, we will go over all of the best poses for newborn photography, and we will answer some of the most common questions for newborn photographers new to the game!
Best Posing Techniques For Newborn Photography
If you are unsure how to do newborn photography, we have some common poses here for you to try out!
Parents Holding The Baby
Of course, some clients will want images of them holding the baby. However, we like to do a ‘parents holding the baby pose’ with just the hands visible.
Both hands can cradle the baby together, which makes for a stunning composition. Alternatively, you could have hands holding the baby’s hand instead.
This is one of the most popular poses for newborn photography. It is super simple to do, and it creates very sweet images. All you will need to do is place the baby on its stomach, with the legs tucked under them, and ensure the head and neck is supported.
For this pose, you can wrap the baby, leaving the toes and head out of the wrap, or leave them as they are.
Ensure that you are using a soft blanket to shoot from above, and you can place a small heating pad underneath the blankets to keep them warm and sleeping soundly!
Simple Wrap Pose
Most parents will opt for a simple wrap pose. This is quite easy to do once you get the hang of wrapping a newborn.
All you need is a really stretchy wrap, and place it around the baby, keeping the arms and legs tightly inside. Newborns are very wriggly and can get out of the wrap quite easily!
Place the wrap on the surface you are going to photograph, and then place the baby on top. The weight of the baby should hold it down, and then you can tuck the arms and legs in.
When the baby is in the wrap, they should not be able to move much, so you will be able to try many photos from various angles, with different lighting techniques to get the perfect shot.
Tucked In Pose
The tucked in pose simply looks like the baby is sleeping and is tucked into bed nicely.
You can do this with the newborn either sleeping or awake, tucking the blanket under the chin, and keeping them wrapped. You can also add a toy to make it look like they are fast asleep cuddling their favorite toy.
The tucked in pose is great for capturing a sleepy baby or when they wake up and yawn! For a tucked in pose, you can add many different props like a pajama hat, or position the baby so that their hands and holding onto the blanket. Have some fun with it!
Huck Finn Pose
The Huck Finn pose is used when the newborn baby is sleeping soundly. You will need to modify the wrap so that the toes are exposed and visible, for sweet images of the baby.
You can try the Huck Finn from various angles, to make it seem like the baby is sleeping in all kinds of positions and is having a deep sleep!
Chin On Arms Pose (Froggie)
Another popular newborn photography pose is the ‘froggie’. This is when the baby is bent over, and resting its face on its hands and arms.
You will want to take images in this pose from the front, focusing on the face, and leaving a blurred background. So, you may want to play around with the depth of field on this pose.
Side Lying Pose
If you want to try something a little different, you can do a side-lying pose, where the baby is sleeping on its side. This is not the simplest pose and can be difficult to navigate, so ensure the baby is in a deep sleep before you try this one.
When newborns are very young, they may naturally want to sleep in the position that they were in in the womb.
This feels most comfortable to them, so you can help them by posing them this way. Have them tucked in, with legs and arms under them, with their head on the side as if they are cozy and protected in the womb.
You can also try the potato sack pose. For this one, you will need to swaddle the baby in a sort of sack and then wrap in more fabric to make them appear rounder.
Place the baby on the backdrop, and you need to place them sitting upwards. You can have the parent hold and support the baby’s head for this one.
What Do You Need For Newborn Photography?
For a newborn photography session, you will need a few supplies. We are not talking about your usual equipment like your camera, softboxes, tripod etc., we mean the actual tools that will help you deal with a baby!
For instance, most newborn photographers will need blankets, a sound machine, a warm space and wraps to keep the baby comfortable and happy.
Ensure that your studio is nice and warm and cozy, and you can wrap the baby to keep them calm and assured during the process.
Some photographers will prefer to do a home session as this is a natural environment for the baby, and can make it easier to capture pictures without any problems.
Beanbags, blankets and wraps are essential. These are what will make up the staging of your images. You can wrap the newborn in a blanket, and place them gently onto a beanbag or soft blanket to capture the images.
What Lighting Is Best For Newborn Photos?
This depends on what kind of images you want to take. We would recommend that you use portrait lighting, and have a 45 degree angle light. This will create soft lighting that creates sweet and innocent newborn images.
You can play around a little with the lighting, sticking to around 45 to 90 degree angle lighting to see what works best for your photography.
How Quickly Should You Take Newborn Photos?
Most photographers will recommend that you take newborn photos between 7 and 10 days after the baby (see also: Is 1 Month Too Old For Newborn Pictures (Is My Baby Too Old For Newborn Photos?))is born. This is because the younger the baby is, the more naturally they will pose as if they are still in the womb, which makes for beautiful photos.
However, the first few days of having a newborn can be difficult, so many parents prefer to opt for photos after a few weeks, once they have gotten to know their baby.
How Do You Get Newborns To Smile For Photos?
It can be difficult to get newborns to smile naturally at this age, so there are a few tricks that you can try.
For instance, gently blowing air on the baby’s face can tickle them, and this can make them grin or smile a little. Then, you need to quickly take the shot to ensure you capture it.
Other photographers prefer to wait until the baby falls into a light REM sleep, as they can often smile when this happens.
Make sure you notice when the baby is drifting off, and when their breathing gets a little heavier. During REM sleep, babies may frown, smile, grin and move their lips, so you can capture this.
Another method you can try is if the mom or dad whispers into the baby’s ear. This can often encourage a smile in newborns, or a facial reaction.
To summarize, there are many different poses that you can use for newborn photography, from the froggie pose, the bottom up pose, to the Huck Finn pose. Newborn photography is not easy as your subject matter can be hard and uncooperative to work with.
It takes a lot of practice, patience, and trial and error, so you may want to practice for a while on a doll to get the poses, composition, lighting, and angles right before you start taking bookings!