Tuesday’s Tip: Newborn Sessions

Getting Variety Out Of A Newborn Session

It is so important to give the parents lots of variety, you may know what you will love but I’m always surprised to see that the parents will choose something completely different then I envisioned that they would make into a huge canvas! My newborn sessions begin at 9:30am in my natural light studio and usually wrap up by 11:30-12pm. I can get approx 20-25 different set ups (posing, hand placement, hats, headbands, wraps) in each session. Having a vision before your session helps tremendously! I always ask the parents before hand if they have a specific pose/hat they like and I will incorporate that into the session as well but majority of the time the parents love anything that I have in mind.

I always start on beanbag with a simple, neutral blanket.
1st pose I always do with each blanket is the Taco Pose, love this one!
Shot 1:

Shot 2 Macro of their feet in that position, called the Toe Stack position


With the same hand position, I move their little tushies over and tuck their feet under. Place a hat on!
Shot 4 Close-up of hat, vertical angle

There you go, you now have 4 shots of just 2 positions!
Next example of variety I love is using wraps, I love to get about 3 yards of fabric from the store and cut a little piece off for the wraps. I mix match the wraps with the blankets since I tend to like alot of the same tones.

Different blanket, lay baby on belly and then I place the wrap around his belly, pulling nice and tight!
Shot 1:

Shot 2: No wrap, same position
Shot 3: Place baby on belly, position a tad different but keeping one hand the same. Use same wrap and just a place around baby’s head and their little tushies, tuck feet in however I like.

Shot 4:
No wrap, same position

And again, 2nd blanket 4 different shots! I also use different angles during each position, stand above, tilt camera a bit and use macro on those little toes, bubbled lips and if they have those gorgeous long eyelashes….perfect for a macro shot!

Majority of my sessions consist of using 4 blankets and 3-4 prop set-ups. I always photograph the parents last either on black or my studio wall which is a tan color. I try to give as much variety as I can with simple switch ups, as in hand positions, wraps, hats, headbands but always keeping in mind that my focus is on the baby. I try not to use too many crazy set-ups or photograph them to look like hat/headband models.

Few more examples of using variety with just a switch up of the hand or wrap.

Thank You Stephanie!  You are awesome for sharing with us.


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amanda - June 21, 2011 - 1:34 am

TO DIE FOR thank you so much i’m going to be taking pictures of a newborn in a couple of months thanks for the tips

Niina - June 21, 2011 - 6:17 am

Amazing photos that give a real meaning for “less is more”! She keeps beautifully the focus on the baby by using pastel and neutral colors.

kdm0769@gmail.com - June 21, 2011 - 7:36 am


Jenny - June 21, 2011 - 8:28 am

Steph is the best newborn photog around! Great feature!!

Michelle Johnson - June 21, 2011 - 9:50 am

Great tips! Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

Sharee - June 21, 2011 - 9:50 am

Thank you soooo much for sharing your newborn sesh flow…This is an area that I struggle with “in the moment”! This helps a lot!!

Megan Bryant - June 21, 2011 - 9:56 am

love this post!

Aimee Fuller - June 21, 2011 - 10:46 am

Stephanie, You know I love your work! I’m glad you were featured on the blog! You deserve it! You do gorgeous work!


Dawn Goei - June 21, 2011 - 11:44 am

Those blankets are wonderful. Can you share where you got them? I am shopping for new blankets and I don’t want to buy the wrong ones, like I have in the past!


Christine Atkins - June 21, 2011 - 9:06 pm

This information was crazy valuable–Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Stefanie Ponting - June 21, 2011 - 9:28 pm

Thank you for this! much needed as newborns are (for me at least) the hardest sessions to complete and feel happy with, I can’t wait to do my next baby now!!!

Danielle Mains - Mains Photography - June 22, 2011 - 11:28 pm

Where do you find a lot of your blankets? I like how simple and smooth they are, is it just regular fabric?

Denise George - June 26, 2011 - 11:23 am

I wish I knew the secret to getting newborns to sleep. The last four sessions I’ve done, I spent most of my time waiting on them to be comforted, fed, etc. How do you get them to sleep soundly and STAY asleep. Every time they get moved, they wake and cry…gah!

Christine - January 8, 2012 - 6:50 pm

Stephaine….how do you do the taco pose…im so afraid of bending the baby that way….do you have any secretes of posing them?

Alexis - January 25, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Love your pictures and your tutorials. Thank you so much for sharing. I followed your tips for my first newborn shoot, but like others said I was afraid to “fold” the baby and she only slept soundly the first few minutes. My main question: how do you get the color of the blanket to blend up in the background? I am assuming it is done somehow in post processing??

Debbie - September 22, 2012 - 9:50 pm

I would love to know where you get your fabric/background blankets. If it is fabric,
what type of fabric are they. They photograph so well.

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