How to Photograph Fussy Newborns

The challenge about newborn photography is you will never be 100% in control of the session. What pictures you get in the end depend mostly on baby’s mood. Newborn babies are among the most unpredictable subjects to photograph. Some babies decided to stay awake the entire session for no obvious reason. Many parents visited me had mentioned that it seemed so easy for me to get babies to sleep peacefully through the photo sessions, even when I was posing them. The truth is it takes a lot of time, patience and experience to calm them down for photos.

As a newborn photographer, it is important for me to understand why newborns cry in order to know what action to take. Here are some of the most common reasons why babies cry:

  1. Baby feels hungry
  2. He/she is sleepy
  3. Colic / Gas
  4. Pee or Poo is on the way
  5. He/she needs to burp
  6. Body temperature too high / too low
  7. Feel of loneliness

So how to help newborn sleep

The first thing to do is to make sure that they have had their feeding. Hungry babies are hard to clam. Also newborns lose their body temperature very quickly when you unclothe them, so always raise the room temperature to help babies feel sleepy. I usually keep my studio temperature between 80 to 85 degrees and always have a heater beside me. When handling unsettling newborns, I begin by swaddling he/her up tight and then gently rub the forehead to calm him/her down. And by the way, I have a secret weapon called pacifier. In most cases, a pacifier will really help calm the baby. Even if your baby never uses it, please still bring one to my studio. It will help your baby perform better and make your photo session a lot easier.

What if they refuse to take a nap

You might ask “what if my baby refuse to cooperate during the session?” Well, you should keep in mind that fussy newborns are a fact of life. There are still lots of images we can get if your baby doesn’t fall asleep. To be honest, I love the AWAKE images. And from my past experience, most parents love awake baby pictures, too. If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, keep shooting, take some lifestyle shots. Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact. Newborn session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you. Feel free to let the baby move, yawn, and stretch. Babies have cute, funny and sweet movements, do not stress over having the perfect pose in every scenario.

I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby. Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby. Parents will love the photos because these moments are close to reality, close to life, and are far more meaningful.

Planning on having newborn photos taken? You can read more about my newborn photography packages.