DIY Newborn Photography Tips

Apr 1, 2020 | Baby Photography, Family Photography, Newborn Photography

Hi there! I hope you and your family are all safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m really missing my photoshoots at the moment, especially with my newborns. As I can’t come to your home right now to take your precious baby’s photos, I’ve put together this DIY Newborn Photography Tips guide to help you take your own photos at home. You can still capture this special time with your baby and create some beautiful photos that you’ll have forever. You don’t need any fancy equipment, you can take these photos with your phone.

My style of newborn photography is simple and straightforward and I’ve kept my tips the same. 

Before I get started with the details, remember that you don’t need to try all of this in one day…take your time and split it up. If your baby’s not feeling it, then no need to stress, just try again another day.

While I have written this with newborns in mind; the tips will apply to babies of all ages….why not start doing this once a month to document their first year? 

Let me know how you get on with the tips and please feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

Happy Snapping!

diy newborn photography tips


The safety of your baby is always the top priority for me; they are the boss and I follow their lead. If they are hungry, stop for a feed; if they need soothing, pick them up and snuggle; their needs come first.

I don’t pose babies in unnatural positions as they are perfect just as they are, doing their own adorable thing. We’ll keep things simple and natural which will ensure your precious little bundle is kept safe and comfy at all times.


If you have the time, how about brushing up your photo skills and learning how to get the most out of your phone’s camera? Check out this helpful article from iPhone Photography School for some tips and tricks. While this is written with an iPhone in mind, the tips are relevant for any phone.


Don’t get bogged down in the technicalities of the photos you take, the most important part of doing this is to capture the moments and special connection you share with your new baby. Keep the composition simple using these tips.


Easiest way to explain this is to visualise your phone screen divided into 9 identical squares; 3 squares across and 3 squares down. Most phone cameras have a setting where you can turn on this grid and it will make it really easy to use the rule of thirds when taking photos. For an iPhone go to ‘Settings’ → ‘Camera’ → turn on ‘Grid’.

The idea is to place the important element of your photo along one of these lines or at a point where the lines are intersecting. Hopefully the examples below will explain it better than my words did!


This is very simple, the subject is placed exactly in the centre of the photo.


This means there is empty space in your photo, it keeps the photo simple, without distractions and keeps the focus on the main subject.


This is exactly how it sounds, get up close and personal and fill the photo completely with your subject. There is nothing else in the frame and it keeps the focus on the subject and is great to highlight little details.

If you’d like to dive a little bit deeper into photography composition rules, take a look at this article by Peta Pixel that will take you through lots of composition techniques to improve your photos even further.


Before you take any DIY newborn photos, there are a few things that you can do to prepare in advance so that once you get started with the photos you have everything you need to hand.


Our phones can get really grubby so a quick wipe of the lens will ensure your photos are clear and that there are no smudge marks on your photos.


No doubt you’ve received loads of lovely gifts from family and friends; Nanny has made a special blanket or bought a beautiful swaddle; Grandad rocked up with a cute cuddly bear and your other half has bought a cute headband with a bow that you’d love to include in the photos. Gather all of these sentimental items before you start so that they are easy to grab when needed.

I don’t usually photograph babies with props but how cute are these baby bow headbands from Pretty Bowtique.


I find that the master bedroom usually has the most space to work with. The living room sofa can also work well. Choosing the room that has the best natural light will give you the best results…more on that below.


It goes without saying that lighting can make or break a photo. Choose the room in your home that has the best natural light (north facing usually works best as the light is nice and soft). You’ll want to avoid direct sunlight as it can be too harsh on skin tones and will cause squinting. Once you’ve picked the best room, set yourself up in front of the window.

Pro Tip: Be sure to turn off all lights in the room that you have chosen; this will ensure there’s no awful orange tinge to your photos and will also remove unflattering shadows that overhead lighting can cause.

Be conscious of where you place your baby relative to the window light; lighting them from above rather than below will ensure the light is lovely and natural with soft shadows. We want to avoid the flashlight under the chin ghost story telling style of lighting! Either place your baby parallel to the window or turn them perpendicular ensuring their head is near the window, not their feet.


Timing the photos around naps and feeds usually works best. It can help to take the photos in the morning as babies tend to be more content at this time. Give them a feed as normal and start taking the photos after this as they are usually a bit sleepy after this. Definitely don’t start taking photos before nap time when your baby is tired!


Keep your baby’s clothing simple and form fitting; a simple babygrow in a neutral colour works great. After all, they are the star of the show, not their clothes!

I love the cute baby outfits as much as you do but sadly they don’t tend to photograph very well. They can swamp your baby’s tiny frame and you won’t be able to see their little arms and legs.


When a newborn is swaddled, they feel safe and secure and are comforted by the swaddle; this makes it easier and safer for their siblings to hold them as they won’t be wriggling around as much. It’s also a great way to get a simple close up portrait of your baby.

Sleep coach Niamh O’Reilly shares some great tips in this article about how to safely swaddle your baby.

There are plenty of places where you can buy swaddles and blankets; but one of my favourites has to be the Happy Clouds Swaddle Blanket by Jackanory.



Once you’ve swaddled your baby and keeping in mind the lighting tips I went through earlier, carefully place your baby on your bed (or sofa depending what room you’ve chosen). Take your time here and photograph your baby from all angles. Be sure to get a simple headshot style portrait of your baby. Don’t worry if they are awake or asleep, either works beautifully. 

Lorraine Maguire Photography Newborn portrait


Next, it’s time to get baby’s brothers and sisters involved. If they are old enough to safely hold their new brother or sister you can photograph that; otherwise get them to lie down side by side.

Newborn photographer Kildare
Sibling photos with new baby brother Lorraine Maguire Photography
Big sister cuddles new baby brother Lorraine Maguire Photography


Whether your baby has one parent, a Mum & Dad, two Moms or two Dads, be sure you all get into some of the photos with your baby. There’s no need to do any fancy posing here, just take some photos of yourselves doing your normal daily routine, feeding your baby, bathing your baby, sleep time, soothing snuggles, and all of the lovely things that come with being a parent. If you can do all these things in front of a window for good lighting then all the better!

Make use of the camera timer on your phone so you can all get into the same photo; prop your phone up with a stack of books, angle the phone to be sure you are all in the frame, set the timer and away you go. And of course there’s always the good old selfie! No excuses for not being in the photos too!

Lorraine Maguire Photography family cuddles with new baby
Lorraine Maguire Photography Newborn baby girl with her Mum


There are so many little details that you can capture when your baby is a few weeks old. Be sure to take the time to get photos of their tiny little fingers and toes, their little wrinkles as they grow into their skin, their hand clasped around your finger, their wisps of hair, their head fitting snugly in your hand…and all of the other details that you as parents see each time you gaze at your baby.

New mother holds her baby girls tiny toes
Dad cradles his newborn son's head in his hands
Newborn baby toes


Changing the angle or perspective of you and your camera before you click can drastically improve your final photo. For example, when your baby is sleeping, take a photo from above by holding your phone parallel to them, stand on a stool if you’re short like me and can’t stretch that far! Another option is to carefully place your baby on your bed, kneel down and take a photo at their level. If you have a nursery in your home, be sure to include it in a photo with your baby, take a step back and include the room that you took ages to decorate!

Change your angle when taking your newborn photos


Now that you’ve got heaps of photos on your phone, you can do some editing to make them pop. If the lighting was good when you took the photos then you won’t need to do too much; less is more here. Pay particular attention to the exposure & brilliance (how light and dark the photo is), contrast (I like to add some contrast), and color (saturation & vibrance). You don’t need any fancy editing apps, your phone’s software is more than enough. This article shows you how to edit photos on your phone and explains what each editing tool does.

Bonus Tip: Remember to be kind to yourself and do not delete all of the photos that you took with you in them. I know you are tired, you might not have showered or washed your hair in days, but when you look back on these photos, you really won’t care about that. You’ll be delighted that you have these precious memories and your baby will love to see them too when they are older. 

tag me if you try my diy newborn photography tips

If you give these DIY Newborn Photography tips a go, please let me know how you get on and tag me in your posts so I can see your fab pics. You’ll find me on Instagram and Facebook!

Really excited to get out and about taking your photos again soon. In the meantime, stay safe and look after each other.

Lorraine x




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