newborn pictures in 10 minutes

I feel a little bad for my friends. A couple of years ago I did photo sessions of their families and kids all the time. Then I ‘retired’ from the portrait side of photography. Now all my friends get is a quick stop by my house with 4 crazies running around while I try to capture the sweetness of their newborns or kids. However, despite not having a studio, lots of time and having several LOUD kids running around – it is possible to get a few portraits. I thought I’d share a few tips on how I get a couple shots for friends in far from less than ideal situations.

My friend Jenn stopped by when it fit with her schedule and mine, so I looked for which rooms in my house had the best lighting. At that specific time it was my bedroom and the playroom. Newborns look great without lots of clothes…clothes typically bunch up and cover how tiny they are. If you don’t have a bunch of props on hand (which my only props now are flowery headbands & girly hats!), I recommend just going with a white blanket or two. Textures on the blankets add a nice effect as well. So for these photos I opened my curtains to let the light fill the room and used white blankets for my setting.

Edited to add: newborns like to be warm…a space heater nearby works wonders when it isn’t warm in your house (and even if it is). The baby is happy, but you’ll be sweating!


For these shots I stood on the bed above the handsome little guy. These next two pictures are very similar, but I can’t decide which I like most.

For the first shot here I rolled him over on his tummy (well obviously). The second shot I propped him up on a little rectangle pillow. Other photographers are awesome at this kind of shot, but I was working with little time and my own kids running around.

Next we headed up to the playroom to get a couple in my hanging rattan chair. I tried some upstairs because the lighting is great and other other rooms had toys & Legos strewn about! I used the same fluffy blanket (from IKEA) and also spread it across the floor to cover up the carpet. If Chris would just put in my painted white floors I would not have to do that. Are you reading this Chris? My friends NEED me to tear out carpet in the playroom.

So there you go for a few simple tips on how I do quick portraits. Does that help anyone?

Well my last scheduled SnapShop for the year is tomorrow….yes, I cut back this year the number I am doing. I’ll be spending today cleaning. Did you know it is virtually impossible to clean with 4 kids in the house? It is. Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth the attempt!

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  • Jacky {The Sweetest Petunia} - Oh, he is precious! And I love these photos. So perfect.

  • Anna Joy - What beautiful and fresh photos!

  • Ana M - You are really, trully, deeply AWESOME…

  • Celia - These are so precious! The bottom photo on the left is my favorite… it looks like he’s looking right at you with knowledge in his eyes. So sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - Ok well honestly, Ive always wondered why so many people photograph their newborns without clothing on. I just never knew why. Now that I know it makes total sense. Im always learning something from your blog…love it:)

  • Melissa - I love the picture of your kids feet in the background. So cute!

  • Anna Marie - Helps me…my 2 week old is getting her newborn photos done tomorrow.

  • Sarah - beautiful shots and wonderful tips! can’t wait to try some on my soon to be born nephew! thanks!

  • Felicia - great tips. I love that blanket & have the same one. I can’t wait to try taking some pictures like this when my daughter is born in a few months.

  • Karen - Beautiful! What lens do you use to take these kinds of photos?

  • Tammy - Love the tips!! After SnapShop and lots of practice, I may be brave enough to attempt some newborn shots of one of my best friend’s baby due in August! WOO HOO!

  • Deborah Locklear - What lens did you use? I have a Nikon D40 and I’m looking to invest in a portrait type lens. Someone recommended a low aperture something or other. I’m a beginner novice–that might sound redundant, but I want to express my very beginner status! Thanks for the help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Liz - Thank you! Very helpful! I love that you don’t have to have dozens of props to make a simple, perfect picture. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Sarah - I guess that is one of the best things about having a newborn, you can take pictures of them all day long! Mine will be here in less than 3 weeks. With post like these, it maks me forget the tiredness I’ll feel when she’s here. You should have your snapshot class take pictures of some newborns–to give us prego women more to look forward too. LOL!

  • danielle - Love it! Beautiful shots!

  • Sarah - VERY helpful photography tips! THANK you….

  • Rebecca - I have trouble cleaning the house with two kids, I cannot imagine what four would do to your efforts. Have a great weekend.

  • Ambrosia - Those came out beautiful! Very good tips – I’ll have to remember them in November when we welcome baby #4!

  • Alice H - This HELPED me a LOT!! I have a friend who is due in about 3 weeks and I am going to do some fun newborn photos of her baby girl. Do you have any tips for the best time of day if using natural lighting in a house from the windows? THANKS! And what a precious baby!

  • Laurie J - love the pics! as a mom of 3 lil guys and lil girl as well I’ll share with you my thoughts on keeping house:
    “trying to clean with my 4 kids is like shoveling during a blizzard” (does that even translate in Oklahoma?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol…..I’m a WI girl, can you tell?)

  • Jill R - That is one sweet little boy!

  • Leila Marie Lawler - Your photos are beautiful!

    I agree that some clothing is distracting from the essential littleness and sweetness of a newborn. However, two cautions about what I see as a bit of a fad in the whole naked newborn photo thing: 1. that baby can look cold and that makes people anxious (me). I think it’s natural to want to cover up a baby, and I think there’s some sort of middle ground here! Think of looking at that photo in February when you’re not feeling hot! 2. Disposable diapers aren’t that aesthetic. I’m not a fan of how the otherwise naked baby looks if that diaper is peeking out.

    I think your use of that lovely white blanket takes pretty good care of these two concerns of mine!

  • Christina - Yes, very helpful! Thank you so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Charity - These tips are super helpful, and those are beautiful shots of your friend’s baby. Thanks for sharing!

  • Suzanne - Perfect pictures — every single one!

  • Joline - Hello, I LOVE your blog but this is my first time commenting! I am just starting out in regards to a professional photography career and find all your tips very helpful! I am currently in school full time and hope to open a studio one day. Thanks for sharing!

  • amber - I feel like cleaning is hard with just 2! I can only imagine with 4…if only they would all play nicely in one room with 1 toy while you leisurely took your time cleaning the entire house. If only…instead, they like to follow you room to room, dragging all their stuff with them. Whining that they’re hungry or they want to watch a movie, asking what’s taking so long…one day I’ll miss that, right?:) But I’ll have a clean house!

  • Jessica - Thanks for this post. I have a friend who just had her first girl after 3 boys and I think she needs extra special photo attention ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ann - VERY helpful!!! i’m actually doing newborn portraits for a friend tomorrow! and i’ve always admired your work and soaked in your tips!

  • maria - These are such great tips, I’m about to give birth to a second son and my greatest challenge I know will be trying to get pictures of him as a newborn, while my 4 year old will want to be in all of them!!! You made it looks so easy and they came out beautiful!! thanks for the tips!

  • christina larsen - There are days that I personally would love to give up cleaning!!! With 3 kids and 2 dogs, it seems pointless. However, then I look at the dog hair and other misc items on the floor and elsewhere and decide that I must even if it is in vain. :0

  • Cottage Gal - Great pictures! What a fun and helpful post! I have a 3 week old and I always find myself standing on the bed & attempting to get creative with the blankets and minimal “props” we have on hand. It’s nice to see that others do similar things and to pick up additional tips! Next time I find myself standing on our bed, I’ll remind myself that it’s not silly and worth it for a good shot!

  • Aaren - Thanks or the tips!

  • georgia - he is adorable. So glad you posted pictures so I could get a chance to see him.

  • cailan - That blanket does look idea and yes, I do appreciate the helpful tips, and YEs! you DO need painted white floors quick-quick!

  • Heather D - Love the photo tips.. It seems impossible to clean with one kid in our house most days!! I can’t imagine 4 ๐Ÿ™‚

  • rachael - Beautiful pics, especially under pressure ๐Ÿ™‚
    I really don’t know why I clean, because it seriously only lasts minutes and I only have 2 boys…I guess I at least feel like I am trying ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katherine Bach - I have that same ikea blanket! Cute pictures. I know how you feel, I have been cleaning house all day to come see you for snapshops tomorrow! It is about impossible when you have kids. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jeannette - Your friends feel bad for us too ๐Ÿ™‚ Just kidding, although I tell people – I was spoiled by Ashely when Corban was born and I got about 5 sessions in his first year, I am still so grateful for your desire to teach and give me a chance to capture my kids myself. Aaron’s pics are way better than anything I ever did for the first 3. Great pics of that sweet baby boy!

  • Julie L - Thank you for the tips. My baby #4 is due on Monday, so he could come anytime now. (I will have one girl and 3 boys, only my daughter is the oldest!) I did not too badly with baby#3’s photos; I laid him on my bed with a blanket under him and around his diaper- that was the best spot for light. I love that textured blanket- it looks so soft.

  • Marianne - For the Legos strewn about…get a sheet, preferably white, but any will do. Spread it out, put the Legos on it, implore the kids to keep the Lego’s ON the sheet. When clean up time comes, shake all the Lego’s to the middle of the sheet, gather it up and plop the whole bundle in a box.


  • Von - Yes, it helps a LOT! Nothing about these photos looks rushed or second rate – they’re gorgeous and that little possum is delicious. I especially love the last one ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emily Lusk - Well I can’t imagine cleaning with 4 kids! It is hard to clean with just 2!! I always love looking at the pics you take! They always give me great ideas!

  • tracy ashley - oh my, that baby is VERY cute. the pictures are, of course, great Ashley!

  • Flor @ Life in Progress - Oh gosh, that baby is beautiful! and your pictures are amazing!
    Thank you so much for the photo tips! Your tips are always so useful and easy to understand for beginners ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Maredith - Ashley, would you mind letting us know what your settings were for these pics? and what lens you used, too ๐Ÿ™‚ I have trouble getting my lighting right indoors, and any tips would be great!!

  • Rose Christopher - I liked their facebook page.

  • emmeline mcwilliams - liked you on FB!

  • Cindy - Love the row of rascally feet in the playroom!

  • Pictures for newborns - […] newborn pictures in 10 minutes ?ยป Jun 17, 2011 … I feel a little bad for my friends. A couple of years ago I did photo sessions of their families and … […]

  • Lindsay - Great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  • Britta - Amazing work! I saw this link on I Heart Photography blog today!! Where did you get this gorgeous blanket???!

  • ashleigh - i love how your pictures are so natural yet bright without looking like a normal snapshot.

  • baby photography - i love how your pictures are so natural.Thank you for the tips.