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Newborn Family Photos: How to Prep and Pose

Learn how to prep for your newborn family photos and get tips on how to get the entire family ready so your photos turn out picture-perfect!

Photo by Amanda Cook

Getting family photos done is one of the things I am most glad we did after having a baby.

On the day we were scheduled for our newborn family photos, I was a hot mess. We still hadn’t figured out breastfeeding, my clothes didn’t quite fit yet, and we were so tired. So very tired.

But those newborn photos of our daughter and the family photos of the three of us are some of my favorite pictures. Somehow when you look at those photos, the sleepless nights and insecurities of being a new mom simply don’t exist.

All you see is a precious little newborn and a family full of love and awe.

That’s why getting newborn family photos is one of the things I recommend the most after bringing your baby home.

I asked my friend Jenna to give us some pointers on how to get perfect newborn family photos. Jenna is the owner of Jenna Wren Photography and has three children of her own, so she knows what it takes to get good family newborn photos! Keep reading for her tips!

When to Take Newborn Photos

Schedule your newborn photos 5 to 14 days after your baby is born. This is when your baby is still in a newborn sleepy stage, making it easier to pose and move her and get those angelic sleeping shots.

What to Wear for Newborn Family Photos

Get everyone in the family ready with these picture-perfect wardrobe tips.

Newborns

Bring multiple options: Bring about 3 to 4 different outfits, blankets, or diaper covers that you want your newborn photographed in. You can change her into different items to get a variety of photos and you’ll have backup options in case the inevitable spit up or blowout happens.

Extra accessories: Pack a bag of bows, extra swaddles, diaper covers, and anything else you may want to include in your newborn photo shoot. Many photographers will also have accessories that you can use from their stash.

Keep it simple: You don’t need to put your baby in a fancy outfit. Sometimes the best photos are the ones of baby swaddled in a sweet blanket. Look at my little angel baby in this swaddle and bow!

Get sentimental: Do you have a bonnet from your childhood that you can incorporate into your newborn family photos? Maybe a blanket that was knitted by grandma? Think about special pieces like this that can be incorporated into the photos of your newborn.

Choose pieces that represent your family: Don’t forget to grab other accessories or props that represent your family. For example, if dad is a firefighter, you can get a picture of your baby with dad’s hat. If your family is full of baseball fanatics, bring a favorite mitt to add in the photo with baby.

Siblings

Getting the money shot with big brother holding his new baby sissy is the reason you wanted newborn family photos in the first place, right? These are the priceless moments that you’ll cherish forever. Here are some tips for dressing siblings and getting them involved.

Dress comfortably: Make sure to dress baby’s siblings in clothes that are comfortable for them. You don’t want your toddler screaming about an itchy shirt while your newborn poses perfectly.

Bring options: Grab two to three outfit changes for your older kids as well. Just in case baby spits up on them or something else happens. Jenna loves having one casual outfit (like jeans and a t-shirt or even pajamas) and then a dressier outfit (like dresses, sweaters, button downs, and slacks). 

Forget shoes: Don’t worry too much about shoes for siblings. Many newborn family photo sessions end up with everyone barefoot in a snuggle sesh! The photographer can crop the feet out if need be.

Photo by Amanda Cook

Parents

I know you just had a baby and you don’t feel like posing for the camera, but you have to get in a few pictures as well mama! Here are some tips to look and feel your best for the newborn family photos.

Dress comfortably: Choose fabrics, colors, and clothes that you can relax and be yourself in. If you feel uncomfortable, it will show in your photos. Maxi dresses or leggings and flowy tops are perfect for postpartum moms.

Light colors: Softer color tones like pinks, grays, and blues tend to photograph better than dark or busy patterns. Find comfortable outfits that work for the whole family in coordinated tones so the family photographs as a cohesive unit.  

Avoid black: I always gravitate toward dark or black colors, because, slimming! But dark tones look too harsh against new baby’s skin. Newborn family photos look better when they’re staged as bright and airy.

Even more outfits: You know chances are that mom will be the one to get spit up on. Bring at least one extra shirt for you and for dad.

Photo by Dana Gualco Photography

Getting Siblings Involved in Newborn Family Photos

Now that the older siblings are dressed, we just need to get them to cooperate! I thought Evelyn’s newborn photoshoot was difficult, and then we did a two-year photoshoot with her. She ran circles around us and wouldn’t stop and pose for anything!

Here are tips on how to get older siblings to buy in, so everyone looks happy in the family photo!

Consider bribery: Have little candies like Sweet tarts or marshmallows on hand for kids in between big grins and photo clicks.

Entertainment: Entertain kids in between photos with coloring books, electronics, or special toys. Little ones can get antsy as they have to wait for the “perfect” moment to join the photos, so keep them happy in between shots.

Make them feel special: It can be hard with so much attention suddenly focused on the new baby. Give big brother/sister special roles by letting them help pick outfits for the photos, change the new baby, and grab special props that you can use in the photoshoot.

Sneak peek: Have the photographer give the older siblings a sneak peek of some of the shots on the back of the camera. They’ll get an exclusive look before anyone else!

Photo by Dana Gualco Photography

Additional Tips for Taking Newborn Family Photos

  • Layers: Newborn photos tend to be photographed at a slower pace. Bring layers in case anyone gets cold or warm during the photoshoot.
  • Easy snacks: Keep younger siblings happy with snacks throughout the session, Our newborn photo session lasted 3 hours!
  • Nursing mamas: Make sure you wear a top or dress that is nursing friendly and easily accessible. You’ll probably end up feeding baby to sleep for many of the photos.
  • Details: Don’t forget to have the photographer get all the little details like baby’s tiny toes and little lips!
  • Communicate: Check with your photographer in advance if multiple outfit changes are allowed, how long the photoshoot will be, and any other questions you might have.

It can be really stressful prepping for your newborn family photos, but once you get the final pictures from the photographer, you’ll be so glad you did them!

Amy Motroni
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