Professional photographer tips for DIY newborn photos

If you want to know how to DIY newborn photos, you’re in for a treat. We have a secret photography weapon here at Mamá + Bebé - our co-founder, Bec. Not only is Bec a mamá to three beautiful bebés of her own, she is also an incredibly talented newborn, baby and family photographer.

From her years of experience working with hundreds of families in Melbourne, Bec knows a thing or two about newborn photography. She’s shared her top tips and DIY baby photography ideas to help you take your own newborn photos at home.

DIY newborn photos

Find the perfect location

Before you do anything, you need to plan where you are going to take your photos. Finding the right spot with the right lighting will make a huge difference to the final result. 

Bec recommends finding a room that has good natural light coming from a big window. Where that light is super bright, a sheer curtain will help to diffuse the light and reduce how harsh it looks in the photos. If you don’t have a sheer curtain (even a makeshift one will do), you can just move your bebé further away from the window. 

Also be mindful of the noise and distractions in the spot you choose for your photos. If you have older children or pets, ideally you want to minimise any disruption that may wake up your bebé during the shoot.

How to DIY newborn photos

Organise your props

The majority of the work in nailing your DIY newborn photos comes before you even pick up the camera. But when you organise everything in advance, it makes the actual photography part so much easier.

So what props do you need? Bec suggests first finding something to position your baby on for the photos, e.g. your bed, their bassinet/cot, a play mat or rug. What you choose will depend on where you are planning to take the photos. If the natural light in your bedroom isn’t great, it’s probably not the best idea to use your bed.

Then you need to choose the props that you’ll use in your photos:

Your bebé will be swaddled so there is no need to worry about what they will wear underneath. You may also like to have a few different swaddle or headband/beanie options on hand. That way, if your bebé is happy, you can likely mix up the photos.

Once you’ve got all your props, keep them together so you are ready to go when the time arrives.

DIY baby photos at home

Choose the right time

Speaking of time, according to Bec, choosing the right time for your photos is a big deal. No matter how well prepared you are, if you’re trying to photograph a hungry or tired bebé, you aren’t going to get an amazing result. 

The best time to take DIY newborn photos at home is just after your bebé has had a good feed. A hungry bebé is not a happy bebé!

While you shouldn’t overdo the heating in the room you are taking the photos in, a nice warm room will make sure your bebé is nice and cosy. 

How to take newborn photos yourself

Work your angles

Angles are everything when it comes to taking great photos. Anyone who has ever tried to nail the perfect selfie will know that! Bec says that the same rules apply to DIY newborn photos.

The best place to position your bebé is with their head closer to the window or light source. This will ensure the light flows from the top of their head down to their toes. If you position them the other way, with their feet closest to the light, it will cause shadows from the nose and cheeks. This can make them look a little like a ghost. 

You should angle your bebé towards the light at a 45 degree angle. You don’t need to get your protractor out to measure the exact angle, a rough estimate is enough! 

The best place for you to stand is with your phone or camera over the top of your bebé. However, you also need to be mindful of safety! If you are using your phone, hold on tight and if you are using a camera, be sure to pop your camera strap over your neck. 

Once you've taken a few snaps and you’re more comfortable, you can have a play with angles. Avoid shooting from under your bebés nose… unless you want photos looking up their nostrils. Also try shooting in both landscape and portrait orientations for some variety. 

If you’re using a milestone disc as a prop, you can either place it next to their head or on their belly. Greenery looks best when it’s placed on an angle near their feet. Don’t be afraid to move your props around until you get the result you’re looking for.

DIY baby photography ideas

Don’t forget the rest of the family

If you have older children, make sure you get them in the photo too! Sometimes siblings, especially the younger ones, just let go of their little brother or sister, so make sure there is someone there to spot the bebé. It’s also a good idea to rest them up against something so they are more stable and supported. 

Bec’s last piece of advice is to make sure you get in the photos too! If you have a partner or friend around, ask them to snap some photos of you with your bebé. Alternatively, you can use a tripod with a remote or timer. 

We’re with you on the journey 

At Mamá + Bebé, we’re not your average online baby store! We’re parents on a mission to help make your life with your bebé easier and more enjoyable. From our range of swaddles to our silicone meal time essentials, baby announcement bundles and our gift packs and hampers, we’ve got your shopping for baby covered with our eco-friendly baby products