As a new parent, it can be overwhelming what all of the new changes. All of a sudden, you have a brand new family member in the house, and they are yours!

I included my camera as part of the hospital bag that I packed. But I made one mistake. I forgot the charger. And my camera was basically dead. I only got a small handful of photos in the hospital, before my camera totally ran out of battery.

In this article, I’m going share some of my opinions about whether or not you should take your own newborn photos as a new parent. I hope it helps you make a call on this decision.

Taking your own photos

If you’re a capable photographer, and you can take your own newborn photos, should you?

The charm of DIY

Taking your own newborn photos is nice because you have full control over what you like. You can take 10,000 photos of your new baby and pick the exact photo that you like that captures your child.

When you take your own photos, and you want to be together as a family, it makes it harder for you, the photographer, to be in the photos. At least for me, almost all of the photos that I have when my daughter was young are missing someone: me.

You can do the whole thing with a tripod and self timer. Unless you’re used to this, it’s pretty hard. You can set up an interval timer and shoot a handful of photos and hope for the best. You can also set up your phone on top of the camera and use your Apple Watch to get a quick preview of the scene.


One of the main benefits of taking my own newborn and baby photos is that it’s extremely budget-friendly. A little known fact is that Becca and I used to do family (and pet) photography before we had kids.

I know how much it costs, and I value the service when it comes from professionals. It’s actually a lot of work producing family photos (in fact, it’s a ton of work). At least for me, I would end up with thousands of photos and need to cull through lots of expressions until I found the perfect shot in a series.

When you take your own photos, you get to control the costs a little more. The only price you pay is your time, and the cost of prints, if you wish to enlarge your photos and take them out of the screen.

Be on your own timeline

Maybe one of the biggest, if not the best, reasons to take your own newborn photos is being on your own timeline. Newborns are so unpredictable. Your newborn may have a bad day out of nowhere that can ruin your planned (and expensive) photoshoot.

When you plan to DIY your photos, you can pick the weather and the day to take your photos. When we were taking family photos, we were conscious of picking a time that had the best light. It didn’t always work out that way and we sometimes needed to take photos outside at high noon. We always made it work, but it wasn’t ideal, due to bad shadows or heat.

For you, being on your own timeline, you can pick the best time, like the elusive golden hour. Or maybe the morning glow (because you’re up at 5am anyway with your newborn) could be more your style.

Learning curve

If you are a hobbyist, or even a pro photographer, chances are that you aren’t used to taking newborn photos. It’s pretty hard. Newborns move around a lot and getting a happy expression isn’t the easiest.

Their features are small and you want to get everything in focus, usually. If you’re inside, you don’t want bright light, or in-your-face lights, so you’re forced to shoot photos at either a high shutter speed, or at a low aperture. Depending on how you look at it, you are going to sacrifice something. Maybe your photos are blurry, maybe they are “noisy” from low light or maybe they have a shallow depth of field.

Putting the technical aspect aside, styling newborns is hard and determining how to make their brand new features look good also is a huge challenge.

The more you do it, the more second nature it becomes. But having a newborn means that this is probably your first (maybe second) time ever taking photos of a newborn. There are a ton of new things to learn!

Hire a professional

If you value your time or like the style of a particular professional (and believe me: they know what they are doing), is that the option you should go with?

Quality photos

Hiring a professional means that you can expect good quality and consistent photos. Your photographer will likely have professional equipment, a variety of lenses and everything else to ensure that you get the best photos possible.

When you hire a photographer who specializes in newborn and family photography, the editing is typically catered to bright, airy and friendly photos. But if that’s not your style, you can shop for more of the dark and moody effect.

Either way, you’re going to get a professional who will produce a quality product, and that’s worth it.


Hiring a photographer based on their portfolio or word of mouth means that they’ve done a newborn photoshoot before. They’ve likely seen a lot of scenarios, needed to take photos in a dark room, dealt with crying babies, you name it!

For us, when we were doing family photos, we shot through winter when the days were short, cloudy days, babies that wouldn’t corporate and more types of challenges. We’d get nervous before every single photo shoot, but we’d make the parameters work out in the end. We were professionals.

Like I said above about taking your own photos, a professional has been able to deliver photos to a lot of families. When you take photos yourself, it’s pretty hard to get the practice unless you have exposure to a lot of newborns!

Hassle-free experience

As a new parent, you’ll find conveniences that make you happy. Some parents like to order food, other parents like to work out. All parents love to sleep.

When you outsource your newborn photos, you end up saving a ton of time culling, editing and prepping for the shoot.

Someone will show up to your house or you meet at a park, you will spend an hour or two being in front of the camera and then in a week or maybe four, you will get your photos. Ah, what a luxury.

At least for me, the first month of having a baby was a lot of researching things like, “is this sound my baby made normal,” or running to the store to get various things. I didn’t have a ton of free time to plan a photoshoot or edit photos. This is really hard to believe, but even as a photographer, I shot photos of my daughter twice in her first four weeks of life. I wish we could’ve set aside more time for nice phtoos, but that’s the struggle of doing it yourself.


If you want specifically-styled photos in a studio, rather than “lifestyle photography,” go for booking a photographer. Better yet, go out to a photographer’s studio and make a morning or afternoon of the excursion with your newborn to get out of the house. It might feel great!

I know a lot of people who want the baby-in-a-basket look, or their newborn styled with different types of themed swaddles and with professional backdrops. These will be cherished photos for years to come, so if it is your chosen vision, go for it.

Balancing your options

Now that you understand a little about both options, how can you make up your mind?

Determine your budget

Preparing for a baby and spending quite a bit of money in the months leading up to the birth, as well as the first weeks and months of having a new member of the family, can be overwhelming for some people. It was kind of our experience, especially after that hospital bill!

Determine your budget, and then feel out your options, whether from Facebook groups or referrals from friends. Often, people are happy to report how much they paid for a newborn photo shoot, and what they “got” for it.

Pick your style

Mull over if you want photos of you with your baby in your home, your yard or your neighborhood, or styled at a studio. Each will have a very different appeal.

Getting the most our of your photoshoot

Maximizing your photoshoot requires thoughtful preparation and strategy to ensure every snapshot captures the essence of those precious moments!

Dress the part

Given that newborn photoshoots are recommended to be taken 1-2 weeks after a baby is born, every woman is in a different sort of physical and emotional mindset. No two mothers are the same.

If you think you’ll be most relaxed by wearing leggings and a casual T-shirt to reflect this time in your life, go for it. If you prefer to wear a sundress, or even a styled gown at a studio, choose what makes you feel best and most proud.

Feed everyone

Make sure everyone is fed (including parents!) before and during the photo shoot. Newborn photographers totally understand that babies need to eat all the time, so if a milk break is necessary, then by all means.

Also, for nursing mothers, remember to eat and drink (this is Becca’s recommendation). These are the most important things for a healthy mom and healthy newborn. (And for partners, too: if you have been exhausted in helping out mom and baby in the first few days, remember to nourish yourself so that you have energy)

Do your research

Part of getting a newborn photoshoot done right is the research. We have friends who have chosen photographers they love, whom they use year after year for photos as their families grow, and friends who have been disappointed by a photographer’s work, or for the amount they paid versus what they received.

In conclusion, go with your gut feeling regarding the style and vision you’ve been thinking of, and work with friends and family to get the right photographer (or yourself!) to achieve it.