Newborn Posing Tips

by guest contributor Amber Scruggs of Little Moon Photography

Photographing newborns is not as easy as it looks! It takes years of practice and lots of newborns before you get it right. I’ve been photographing newborns for 3 years and specializing in them for 2 and I’m still learning. I shoot about 100 newborns a year in my natural light studio located in Leesburg, Virginia so I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way!

1. Comfortable Baby

Keep the room nice and warm, my studio is usually close to 90 degrees and while it feels hot to us it’s the prefect temperature for a newborn. They spent 9 months in their Mom’s warm womb you want to mimic that environment once out.

Have the baby fed really, really well. I have Mom undress and top off the baby once they arrive so that their bellies are nice and full.

White noise is also very important, I usually have two different ones going at the same time and any time the baby startles or looks like it’s waking up a little bit I pat and SHHHHH really loud in their ears, puts them right back to sleep!

2. Tummy Poses

Babies love being on their tummies so if the baby is asleep I usually start off in a pose where they are on their tummy, I lay them on the beanbag with all of my blankets and fabrics layered on it and lay a small blanket on top of them. I then pat and get them nice and sleepy and pose them while they are under the blanket. If they are already asleep, I pose them in my arms and then lay them on the blanket. The tushie in the air is a great starter pose!

3. Switch it up!

While in the same pose I tweak it a little and shoot at all different angles to get totally different photos. You can take one pose and get 10 different images out of it if you just switch up the pose a little bit, move a hand, add a headband, etc. Stand up and shoot that angle, get on your knees and shoot that angle, get creative!

4. Changing up the pose

When changing a pose or blanket, I lift the baby myself keeping them in the same position they are in on the blanket in my hands. I then have the mom or dad throw  back the blanket to reveal the next layer. I then switch up the pose while baby is in my arms and then lay them back down on the blanket.

5. Props and planning

I have an area in my studio that I do all of my prop and parent shots, I plan which pose I will do with each prop and how I will do it beforehand so once they are in the pose on the blanket I can keep them in that same pose and just move them over into the prop. I also plan ahead which blankets and poses I want to do. This helps me keep organized and keeps the session flowing well. I aim to get the session done in 2 hours but it depends on the baby, 3 hours is my average.

6. PATIENCE AND PERFECTION

This is the most important tip, you have to be very, very patient and take your time with every pose so that everything is perfect. Take the time to get the blanket smooth, the babies fingers nice and flat and make sure you are not shooting up the nose, always shoot square, straight on, with their faces.

Always have someone nearby to spot on any prop shots or hard poses, the babies comfort and safety is always your number one goal.

Enjoy them! Newborns are so beautiful and sweet, it’s really the best job in the world.


Amber Scruggs owns Little Moon Photography Studio located in Historic  Leesburg, Virginia. She specializes in modern, artistic natural light  newborn photography. Amber also offers her Little Posers Newborn  Posing and Business Workshop a few times a year, email her for more  information: amber@littlemoonphotography.com

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Tammy - July 29, 2011 - 9:13 am

Love these tips. THanks so much!!!

Kay McKee - July 29, 2011 - 9:31 am

Awesome tips! Thank you!

Rachelle - July 29, 2011 - 10:20 am

These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Kim Hayes - July 29, 2011 - 10:38 am

Thanks so much for sharing your newborn posing tips.

Michele O'Neal - July 29, 2011 - 11:11 am

I absolutely love the elbows on the blanket and chin in the hands…They are just all so adorable. I love working with the babies!!!! Thanks so much for the tips..

Christina - July 29, 2011 - 2:20 pm

Thank you for the tips amber!!!! Your work is beautiful!!!

Christina - July 29, 2011 - 2:33 pm

Thank you for posting this. I’m learning as much as I can, because I would really like to be known for newborn photography (although I do other kinds too)

This was a really good blog about babies.

Do you use any kind of music or just the white noise?

Helen Rushton - July 29, 2011 - 4:08 pm

Lovely, gorgeous, fantastic images Amber and great advice, thank you :o) x

Gena Murphy - July 29, 2011 - 4:37 pm

Thanks for the tips;)

Would love to know what blankets work best….

Amber Scruggs - July 29, 2011 - 5:14 pm

I just use a white noise machine. There is also a free app for your IPhone called QuietNoise that works great too.

For blankets, I look for things with pleasing colors and good textures.

Lauren Smith - July 29, 2011 - 6:32 pm

Thank you so much for the tips!!! I have been shooting newborns for the past few years and this is the best advice I have received! So THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Tierra - July 29, 2011 - 8:32 pm

I love newborns. I really want to get more photos to add to my portfolio. They are the most precious subjects!

Kate Craft - July 29, 2011 - 8:46 pm

Great read Thank you for sharing all that wonderful info. Love all those shots too

Holly - July 29, 2011 - 8:47 pm

Thankyou so so much for these tips. I love shooting newborns and it’s soooo wonderful that lovely photog’s like you are willing to help us all out. I appreciate it so much. Thankyou for your kindness and generosity! You rock!

Lindy - July 30, 2011 - 2:19 pm

Love this, thank you so much!!

Dana - October 4, 2011 - 1:48 pm

I tried alot of these tips in my newborn session this morning and they worked great! Thanks!! But the baby kept wanting to lay his face flat onto his arms or blanket. How do you keep them upright and looking so darn adorable?

Melinda - January 26, 2012 - 10:55 pm

Thank you for acknowledging that perfecting the newborn shoot takes years. I needed to hear that! I’m just rounding up year one but only 6 newborn sessions. I get anxious to be at the next skill level! But after reading this I know now that I have a long road ahead of me :)

Gail Reese - January 27, 2012 - 11:17 am

Thanks so much for sharing! Your images are beautiful!

Angela - September 14, 2013 - 10:55 am

I love this posting. I have been doing newborn session lately and how many times those little ones wake up haha. Angela Butler – Clarksville, Tennessee Photographer

Sandra - September 24, 2013 - 2:07 pm

Thanks so much for these tips! Very helpful.

[...] Well I have thought about this myself too. And, although I have to honestly say I’ve never photographed a newborn yet (my first one is in January. SO pumped)! I have read a lot about it and have fiddled and practiced in Photoshop Elements 9 (PSE). It’s an entire process from exposing to post-processing. The babies are the focus and they have to be comfortable or else your’re not going to get those angels to sleep. Amber Scruggs of Little Moon Photography wrote a great article that provides some tips for posing newborns. You can check it out HERE. [...]

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