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Newborn Baby Photos: Getting Ready for Baby's First Photo Shoot

Tips for Baby Photos You'll Cherish

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Updated June 10, 2014

Newborn Baby Boy Sleeping Peacefully Wearing Knit Hat
Rosemarie Gearhart/E+/Getty Images

Even though your baby is too little to actually strike a pose for the first set of newborn baby photos, professional pictures are sure to be a special keepsake. After all, one of the best parts of being a parent is showing everyone you meet your adorable little angel.

When to take your baby in for his first professional photo session is primarily a matter of personal preference. Many parents choose to get their first professional pictures of their baby around the three week mark, since this is when babies start to become more active. However, you may want to make an exception to this rule if your baby was born near Christmas. The chance to showcase your newborn's smiling face on your holiday cards is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Choosing a Photographer for Your Newborn Baby Photos

If you're on a tight budget and looking for the most convenient option, places such as JCPenney Portrait Studios or Sears Portrait Studio offer a number of affordable picture packages. However, the quality of pictures from these types of businesses often varies as they are located inside department stores with rather high turnover. Since you won't be able to choose the photographer for your session when you make the appointment, there's no way to know if you'll be working with the assistant manager or the new girl who started last week.

For heirloom quality family photos, many parents opt for a photo session with an independent portrait photographer who has demonstrated experience in capturing images of newborns. The best way to locate talented photographers in your area is to ask other parents who they would recommend and review the online portfolios of the top picks. If you don't know anyone with young children, ask someone who has recently been married. Wedding photographers, especially those in smaller areas, often do family portrait sessions as well.

Wardrobe Choices

Between baby shower gifts and the cute clothes you just couldn't pass up at the store, your newborn probably has a very large wardrobe. When choosing an outfit for his first photo shoot, remember that simple is best. Bold patterns and designs can be distracting. Outfits that feature words or sayings may be impossible to read if you can't get your baby propped into a particular position. A onesie in a solid color will photograph well and help keep your baby comfortable during the photo session.

If you're going to get family photos taken in addition to your baby's portraits, make sure everyone is dressed in clothing with similar tones. Your outfits don't need to match precisely, but they should coordinate well enough that no one looks out of place in the picture.

Nudity in baby photos has become much more popular in recent years, but these types of pictures are still somewhat controversial. Some parents draw the line at a photo of their newborn in only a diaper, while others have no problem with a photo featuring a totally nude newborn cradled against his father's bare chest. Do not let the photographer pressure you into taking photos that make you uncomfortable. If you would prefer your baby remain fully clothed, be honest about your feelings.

Poses and Props

A baby under three months of age can only be safely left unattended when lying down, so you're going to be limited in the types of poses available for your pictures. Therefore, many parents decide to add interest to their baby photos by incorporating props into the some of the shots.

Standard props for baby photos include angel wings, baby blocks, or gender-specific items such as dolls and toy footballs. However, most studios will allow you to bring in your own photo props. A prop with personal meaning, such as a blanket handmade for baby by a grandparent or a special teddy bear saved from your own childhood, will help to transform an ordinary picture into a special keepsake.

Managing Expectations

As the parent of a newborn, you're probably still struggling to get into a routine with your baby. Try to keep expectations for your child's first photo shoot manageable. It's not the end of the world if your baby ends up fussy or sleepy on picture day. A photographer who has experience working with children will know how to manage the situation. In fact, you may end up with a portrait of a sleeping angel that's more precious than the perfectly posed shot you had imagined.

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