5 Tips for Newborn Photography Sessions

I am always growing and changing things up over time.  Over the years I have learned that my best approach to newborn photography is to just “let go!”  Early in my career I tried to pose the babies and the families, that just didn’t fit the goal I had of capturing authentic imagery.   (Some people are really good at that type of photography and it can be a beautiful approach, it’s just not for me.)  My goal is to have photographs that are real, I want to show loving family connections, people enjoying the awe and beauty of new life.  I have come up with a short list of tips to help a newborn session run smoothly.

  1.  Heat it up!  Use a space heater or just turn up the heat in the house. This comes in handy for getting babies naked or at least topless for a few shots.  I suggest this happen in the master bedroom, that way you can use the bed as a backdrop for some solo shots of the new baby.
  2. Use several spaces.  I like to try the living room, master bedroom and nursery.  Sometimes we never leave the master bedroom and that is okay!  I am looking for the space with the best light, if the space is not lit well then I try to skip it.  I also am looking for spaces where the family is the most comfortable and lend themselves to connection.  I have noticed that a lot of times that happens in the master bed for the whole family, other times the nursery is great for siblings or mama’s bonding with baby.  It is different for every family, so it’s nice to try different places to see what unfolds.  A couples other tips for light: Turn off the overhead lights! Avoid mixed light situations.  Just use natural light coming through the windows.  Try to schedule the session for the morning.
  3. Plan to have baby or babies fed and sleepy before you arrive.  Sleeping babies with full tummies are happy babies!
  4. Include other family members. Siblings, dogs, even grandparents if they are visiting. It is easy to get stuck on the babies and mama, but remember to include other important family members like the other parent and siblings.  I even take the time to get some solo shots of the older siblings.  These will be special photographs after all!
  5. Let the family show themselves and go with it. If the baby needs changed, fed, a pacifier… just let it happen.  It’s important for everyone to feel comfortable.  These sessions run super long for me, at least 2 hours, the extra time lends itself to letting the moments unfold and the chaos to ensue. Rest assured the shots will come, just practice patience.  Make adjustments and direct as needed, but don’t add stress by having a strict agenda.

Enjoy these moments.  What a gift it is to capture such a special moment in time.  New life is such an incredible transition to witness.


Elopement and Family Photographer, headshot image of EJ Dilley


Intimacy and adventure is what I am all about. I absolutely love families who are just fun, who are real and let it fly.  I want to see you!  They don’t mind if they get their dress dirty. They may be down for a short hike and are not afraid of getting in the water at the end of your session, you are my people. They don’t mind if things don’t go perfectly and that is just perfect. 

The best parts of life are the parts that surprise us, and the best photos are usually the ones we didn’t know were coming.