What Happens Behind The Scenes In A Newborn Photo Shoot?

what happens behind the scenes in a newborn photo shoot

Having a newborn photo shoot is unlike any other genre of photography. In most portrait photo shoots, the photographer can give direction to the subjects of the photographs, ask them to move here and there, or to look in a different direction.

But in newborn photography, our tiny little clients are usually asleep and haven’t yet discovered the skill of taking direction!

So it’s up to the newborn photographer to pose babies and keep them settled as well as managing all the other elements of the photograph to create the perfect portrait.

If you’re currently planning a newborn session for your baby, you may be wondering how photographers create these sleepy, curly photographs of babies, and why are the sessions so long?!

These are some of the common questions I’m asked by clients in my work as a newborn photographer.

So in this article I’ll explain what happens behind the scenes in a newborn photo shoot. And what you can expect to see during your newborn session with me.

Natural portrait of a sleepy newborn baby by London and Surrey newborn photographer Clare Murthy

The perfect environment for a newborn photo shoot

I photograph newborn babies at my studio, which is close to Hampton Court and right on the border of London and Surrey.

When you first arrive at the studio, you’ll no doubt notice a few things:

  1. A BIG studio light, that looks like an enormous umbrella – this large size helps me to create very soft light for your baby and family portraits.
  2. A large beanbag that is covered in freshly washed blankets – this large, soft and clean space is where I’ll pose and photograph your newborn baby.
  3. Lots of blankets and soft stretchy wraps – these are what I use to swaddle, wrap and pose your newborn throughout the photo shoot.
  4. A heater – to keep the room at a comfortable temperature for your baby if needed, whilst they’re being photographed.
  5. A sofa – for you to sit back and relax on whilst I photograph your baby.
  6. Tea, coffee, snacks, a feeding pillow and changing mat – all here to make your morning at the studio more comfortable.
  7. Wall art, album and print samples so that you can see exactly what they look like before you decide what you would like to order.


Newborn Photography Studio London

How I pose and photograph your baby during a newborn photography session

I’ll often start newborn sessions by photographing your baby on their own.

So once you’re settled in and comfortable with a warm drink, I’ll begin by wrapping your baby in a soft stretch wrap and placing them carefully on the beanbag.

As we move through the session, I’ll gently and slowly move your baby into different positions, and pause to take a series of photographs in each pose.

Your baby will be sleeping at this time, and by moving gently and slowly my aim is that they continue to snooze, and won’t even be aware they had a photo shoot!

During the whole of this part of the session your baby will be safely positioned on the large beanbag, so there’s no risk of them falling out of a prop or hurting themselves on hard objects.

Related Article: Is posed newborn photography safe?

Related Article: Newborn and baby photography jargon buster


Join me behind the scenes at a newborn photo shoot

You can see me photographing a baby and his parents in the behind the scenes video below. Just click play to start watching.

Taking a baby-led approach to newborn portraits

Occasionally a baby will sleep continuously through the entire session, but more often than not they will wake up for a feed, or because something is making them uncomfortable such as gas or a wet nappy.

This is why I always allow a few hours for each newborn session. This long duration means that I can work to each baby’s particular needs, and we can take as many breaks as your baby needs.

Sometimes we need the full four hours for a session, and sometimes we need less. But by allowing plenty of time you don’t have to worry about how your little one is going to perform. And you can relax and enjoy the experience.

Related Article: Why do babies need to be asleep for posed newborn photography?

teddington newborn baby photographer

Creating beautiful newborn and family portraits

During the session we’ll also spend some time taking family portraits.

In this part of the session I’ll usually take portraits of the whole family group, parents with their new baby and sibling photographs if you have older children.

Some families also choose to include grandparents in their session, and sometimes aunts and uncles too! I know what a special time having a new baby is for the whole family, and love it when part of the extended family joins this part of the session too!

Whilst I’m taking family portraits I give a lot of guidance about where to stand or sit, what to do and how to hold your baby for the nicest composition. So you don’t need to worry about feeling awkward or uncomfortable in front of the camera.

newborn family photography london

Ready to start planning your newborn photo shoot?

I hope that this guide has helped you to understand more about the process of having a newborn photo shoot.

If you’d like to find out more about booking a newborn session with me, just click on the link below to get started:

Click here to learn more about booking a newborn photo shoot.


Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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