Tips for Mum’s and Dad’s preparing for a Baby Photo Shoot




I’ve been getting asked to do more baby photo shoots lately, and thought it would be a good idea to put a checklist to prepare mum, dad and bub for the session.

Baby’s Milestones

As a new parent, I am lucky to have first hand experience photographing Mikayla over the course of 12 months, from birth to 1 year old. More on that later. It’s been a valuable experience in learning how you need to adapt a shoot to baby’s age and mood. Between 1 and 2 weeks for example, they snooze a lot and like to be tucked in or swaddled – cuddly or blanket wrapped sleepy poses work best.  According to – after 2 weeks, newborns become less comfortable with womb-like poses.  At 1 month, they start lifting their head and responding to sound. At 3 months, baby starts holding their head and begins to get more mobile but can’t quite crawl yet. Baby centre UK have written a good article for more on baby’s milestones in their first year.

Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100

Which leads me into these questions and tips that form …

The checklist:

  1. How old is bubby?
  2. Is the shoot all about bubby or will mum/dad or a sibling be in it?
  3. Do mum/dad mind using flash?  There are mixed opinions on using flash so I won’t go into that debate but I’ve been photographing my kid with flash since birth.  There are other options – natural light (e.g. windows), and continuous lighting.
  4. Bring a few props that bubby is familiar with.  This will help calm their nerves and get them acclimatized with a new environment.
  5. Ensure baby is well fed just before the session.
  6. Depending on baby’s age, if you’re going for sleeping poses (especially with a newborn), keep them awake 1-2 hours before the session so they can settle into their sleep routine on set.  Typically after the newborn stage, ensure baby is well rested just before the session so they can interact with props and the photographer.
  7. Dress baby with loose clothes to avoid lines on their skin.  Plain clothes are best, without patterns or printwork, as they detract from baby’s face.
  8. Bring a pacifier.  It’s essential!
  9. Depending on baby’s age, a typical shoot can take between 1 and 3 hours.
  10. If the shoot is on location (i.e. at home), ensure that there is a heater in the room


Lastly, relax and enjoy the shoot.  It’s an awesome experience that time will never buy back!

If you’re thinking of a baby shoot in Auckland, contact me!

Mikayla 1st year1-50 sec at f - 1.850 mm50 mmISO 250ISO 250

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 102mm
  • ISO: 125
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

Zhi Lee

Award winning NZ wedding, travel and portrait photographer. Creating images for the enjoyment of others really gets me going. It is through photography that I get to connect with people and express a little bit of creativity.