How do you take good pictures of your baby

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All my life I’ve heard people say that “babies don’t last”. And now that I’m about to be a first-time mom, I already feel anxious thinking about just how quickly my little one will grow and change over the coming months.

Although I know I won’t be able to stop or slow down time, I can do the next best thing—take lots of pictures. From the sweet innocence of the newborn stage through each new milestone, I plan to use my own camera to capture lots of memories of my baby to make every moment last.

You can do the same with your baby, too. Of course, professional photo shoots are nice, but even I as a photographer will admit that they’re usually pretty expensive.

Thankfully, with the tips and recommendations that I’m going to share with you today, you won’t need to have pro photographer on call every time your little one just looks so darn cute.

The number one thing you need for beautiful baby pictures

Ok, obviously the first thing you need is your precious baby. But after that the most important thing you’ll need—even more important than a big camera and or a fancy lens—is a good source of light. And the best, most flattering light you can have is free.

That’s right. While studio lighting kits have their benefits, natural light filtered through a window or door is actually the lighting of choice of many photographers.

cute baby photography

Take some time to get to know the lighting in your home. Look for the brightest room and note the time of day when it’s filled with soft light.

Avoid the times when you see harsh rays of direct sunlight coming in to avoid unflattering shadows, and instead look for indirect brightness. A room filled with a soft glow will give your baby photos a truly magical touch.

Getting your baby ready for picture day

Once you’ve scoped out the perfect spot for your baby’s photoshoot, the next thing you’ll want to focus on is making sure that baby is comfortable and happy.

Consider your little one’s eating and sleeping schedules. No one, least of all a baby, feels like being in front of the camera when they’re hungry. With babies of all ages, it’s best to plan to take their pictures very soon after they’ve eaten.

You’ll also need to make sure that the room is quite warm so that your baby will be comfortable during the photoshoot. Babies tend to feel cold more quickly than adults anyway. Not surprisingly, with outfit changes or naked pictures, they can get uncomfortable very quickly.

The general rule is to adjust your thermostat to about 80˚F. Basically, if you feel like it’s a little hot inside, your baby’s probably going to be very comfy and much happier to let you take their pictures.

With a full tummy and lots of cozy warmth, newborns and very young babies will probably end up sleeping through most of the photo shoot. This is actually a good thing, though, as it will avoid flailing arms and legs and let you try sweet poses without making baby upset with every little move.

Photoshoot and posing tips for baby photography

Taking baby pictures, even of your own baby, is not a job for the faint of heart. It’s often a long process with several diaper changes and feeding breaks sprinkled in.

Your best bet will be to set aside a few hours to just focus on your baby and the time that you both need to get the job done. Also consider having a close friend or family member on hand to be your assistant if you need an extra pair of hands to press buttons or hold props in place.

For posed shots, try to focus on simple positions. Remember that pictures of babies hanging in pods or folded into elfish poses are achieved by experienced professionals who use a lot of editing techniques to brush out the supporting hands and props that are holding the baby into position.

If you don’t have the experience to know how to safely achieve these types of shots, please don’t attempt them. The last thing you want is for your photoshoot to turn into a nasty fall or dislocated joint.

It’s much better to just focus on making your baby comfy with posing pillows and gently adjusting the tilt of their head, hands and feet once they’re sound asleep. One pose can actually provide tons of great pictures. Take multiple shots at different angles and distances.

Also, remember the up-close pictures. Shots of tiny feet, hands, lips and eyelashes will be worth gold to you later when your tiny newborn is just a memory now transformed into a sassy toddler or independent teenager.

Finally, take advantage of the times you’re comforting your baby or changing poses to capture some pictures of you with your little one. Even if you’re not feeling the most camera-ready, remember that these moments that you’re living with your baby now will never return.

Use a tripod and timer or ask a family member to help you get a few pictures with you and your baby together. Trust me—they’ll end up being some of your favorites.

Styles for cute baby pictures

The tiny innocence of her sweet baby naturally inspires a new mama with all kinds of creative ideas for pictures. From themes to props and poses, it can be easy to think that you couldn’t possibly get magazine worthy pictures in your own home.

However, it’s really not necessary to go all out for your baby’s photoshoot. Many of the sweetest baby pictures are actually shot in a lifestyle theme using very few if any traditional photo props. Your home and baby’s own blankets become the background and tell the story of baby’s life at home.

Even if you prefer more posed photos with fun props and themes, it’s best to invest in just a few quality items that go well with your personal style and story. Try to focus on simplicity instead of putting too many props or too many colors with baby that can overwhelm their tiny features and sweetness.

Basic gear for great baby pictures

Unless you were already a photography enthusiast before becoming a mom, you’ll probably need to buy at least a few pieces of gear to get good pictures of your baby.

Cameras and lenses

A camera is one of the priciest things you’ll need to have for your baby’s photoshoot, but it can pay off for years to come.

Budget option: Nikon D3500 camera with 18-55mm kit lens

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For those mamas looking to buy a camera that will not only serve for baby pictures but also be useful for capturing future family memories, the Nikon 3500 is a great option. This camera is very beginner friendly and comes with a lens included to get you taking pictures right away.

Investment option: Nikon D610 camera and 50 mm lens

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To get truly professional quality results, the Nikon D610 and a prime 50 mm lens will produce beautiful photos with lots of detail and soft backgrounds for those who understand how to use them. However, consider your photography knowledge before making such a big investment, because if you don’t know anything about cameras, your results will be the same as the budget option, but at 4x the price.

If your budget is really limited, you can use your phone camera, especially if you have a newer model with a powerful sensor. While you will understandably not be able to do everything with your phone that a pro camera can achieve, it’s more and more possible to take nice pictures with a phone camera. Experiment with the pro, portrait and macro settings to see what’s possible for you.

Lighting

As we’ve already talked about in this article, your best source of light is natural sunlight filtered through a window. That being the case, you might find that you still need to supplement the natural light you have with other equipment.

Budget option: Light reflector

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A light reflector disk can help to bounce the natural light to fill in dark shadowy areas and/or control bright spots in your photos. Each color adds unique tones to help add glow and control the light that you have available.

Investment option: Studio lighting kit

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If your home doesn’t offer you any natural light or if you prefer to have full control over your light source, you might want to consider a simple lighting kit that can mimic natural daylight even on cloudy days.

Props

From beds to baskets to bowls of ice cream and frog hats, prop options for baby photography are limited only by your imagination. No matter if your personal style is artsy or minimalistic, what you will definitely need is an assortment of posing pillows to help you achieve those adorable poses that you see all over the internet.

Budget option: Posing nest and pillow set

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Your bed or even a thick blanket on the floor can be the site for your baby’s photo shoot if you have a posing nest and pillows. These simple tools help you position and support your baby, especially in sleeping photos.

Investment option: Posing bean bag (filling not included)

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A posing bean bag lets you do your photoshoot wherever you find the best light without being directly on the floor. You can cover it with a cozy blanket to create the perfect spot for your baby to snooze in comfort while you play paparazzi.

posing bean bag for baby photography

Backdrops

Classically beautiful baby pictures really don’t need a fancy background that can distract from your baby’s sweetness. Many times, a neutral colored wall or blanket—or even the bed—is more than enough. However, if your home is really cluttered or if you want to achieve certain type of look, you may need buy simple backdrop.

Budget option: Printed backdrop

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This simple vinyl backdrop will give you the appearance of brick wall and wooden floor and can be taped or tacked to the wall if you don’t have a backdrop stand.

Investment option: Muslin backdrop and Stand A muslin backdrop will give a classic uncomplicated look to your pictures and can be adorned with any type of prop. The fabric also resists light glares and lasts for years. However, you will need a backdrop stand to support the weight.

Tripod

Honestly, you can take great baby pictures just by holding the camera in your hand. But occasionally you may find that your pictures are turning out blurry, in which case using a tripod to stabilize the camera can make a big difference. As an extra bonus, if you use the timer and your tripod, you can sneak into the scene with your baby get some great mommy and me shots.

Budget option: Small lightweight tripod

This simple lightweight tripod from Amazon is budget-friendly and works like a charm to free up your hands if you need to soothe your baby during the photoshoot.

Investment option: Travel tripod

A heavier duty tripod may be a better option if you see yourself taking it along on family vacations in the future or if you just fear you might tip over a smaller piece of equipment during your photoshoot.

Final thoughts

Taking frame-worthy baby pictures isn’t quite as simple as whipping out your phone and snapping.

If you want professional style results, you’ll need to do at least a little planning beforehand to find the best spot in your home to have your photoshoot. It may also be necessary to invest in some gear if your goal is copy some of those adorable poses that you’ve found floating around Pinterest.

take good pictures of your baby

No matter how simple or elaborate you decide to do things, the most important thing to remember is to take your time and enjoy the process. Make sure your baby is comfy and let your creativity flow. You’re guaranteed to get some beautiful pictures, even if they don’t turn out exactly like what you had planned.

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Kendra Isaacs is originally from the state of Kentucky but moved to Mexico to study and ended up staying for love. She has a BA in Spanish with a minor in Communication Studies and has recently completed a master’s degree in Hispanic American Literature. In addition to writing and translation, she teaches English and enjoys photography and baking. Kendra is currently expecting her first baby and now uses the investigation strategies she learned while writing her graduate thesis to guide her in her newest and biggest project yet: preparing for her expanding family during a pandemic, miles away from her family. Here she shares her findings with our community to make it easier for other moms to find the answers to their most frequently asked questions.

Written by Kendra Isaacs

Kendra Isaacs is originally from the state of Kentucky but moved to Mexico to study and ended up staying for love. She has a BA in Spanish with a minor in Communication Studies and has recently completed a master’s degree in Hispanic American Literature. In addition to writing and translation, she teaches English and enjoys photography and baking. Kendra is currently expecting her first baby and now uses the investigation strategies she learned while writing her graduate thesis to guide her in her newest and biggest project yet: preparing for her expanding family during a pandemic, miles away from her family. Here she shares her findings with our community to make it easier for other moms to find the answers to their most frequently asked questions.

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