family photographer warrnambool|photography at sunset

8 tips for dreamy newborn photos - for beginners & parents!

As a Mum myself, I was desperate to capture my babies in those early weeks while they were tiny, sleepy and oh so perfect.


I tried many techniques in an attempt to get professional-looking shots but many of them ended up with my baby fussing and crying and me feeling overwhelmed and frazzled!


Fast forward through the next 7 years as I embarked on a career as a professional photographer and I’m now an expert at getting dreamy portraits every time with absolutely no stress.


I’ve now supported so many mums with my easy to follow online training and I’d love to help you become the next at-home photography pro.


Use these tips below to nail your in-home DIY newborn photo session.


TIP 1 - ensure bubs is fed

Ensure your baby is fully fed and left unwrapped to have awake time before you start the session. Ensure the baby is burped to avoid gas or an upset tummy. Let baby kick around and move to let off some energy which will help them settle more easily for photos.


TIP 2 - have the room toasty warm

Ensure the room where you are taking photos is super warm! Have the room at 27 degrees. This will ensure the baby is nice and warm to settle them asleep. A cold baby will not relax and will squirm all over the place.


TIP 3 - use natural window light

Use natural sunlight by making use of a window that has no direct sunlight/beams coming in (think in the shade or on an overcast day). This type of light is soft and beautiful and will result in beautifully exposed images. Ensure you take photos during the day when the natural light is bright enough. e.g. NOT taken at dawn or dusk!


TIP 4 - swaddle/wrap your baby

Babies feel safe and secure when wrapped firmly. If a baby is not settling into the wrap after a minute or two, if they can move their hands and legs out of the wrap it often frustrates them until they are completely out of the wrap. In this example, you must wrap the baby more firmly with a STRETCHY wrap to allow grip and to anchor the fabric around the baby. Always ensure there is space away from the baby's neck when wrapping.

TIP 5 - white noise

Taking photos of your baby should be a FUN and stress-free experience! I don't want you to go through what I did, which ending in me being exhausted and failing miserably on capturing beautiful photos of my baby girl. I felt so guilty that I made a horrible experience for her too as she squirmed and cried the entire time!

If your baby is upset, try putting on white noise and play it LOUD! Babies are used to being inside the womb which is very noisy and white noise is a very close resemblance to the sound inside the womb. Your baby will feel at home. This is why white noise is so comforting to babies.


TIP 6 - dummy/pacifier

This is another amazing tool to use to settle your baby. Even if your baby doesn't use a dummy, I recommend using one if only for the photo session to use as another settling tool when needed. If all the other tools aren't working, this can often be the last tool that makes all the other techniques come together and work!


TIP 7 - styling

Styling your photos can be made easy by using the items you already have in your home. If you have time to plan your styling (e.g. your baby hasn't arrived yet), you can get gorgeous wraps and hat/headband sets from Snuggle Hunny Kids. Their range is absolutely beautiful and are an absolute favourite brand of my clients! Examples of their gorgeous sets are shown in the first image.


Try using your favourite scarves to wrap your baby in and use your favourite linen as I have in the examples below!


TIP 8 - getting in a positive state!

After just having a baby, there's a chance you're waking up each morning feeling lethargic, sluggish and overwhelmed about the day ahead of you. You may be feeling like you don't have the mental energy to accomplish your goals.


Don't push or force yourself to take photos of your baby when you're in a negative or stressed state. It won't end well. Wait until you've had that much-needed nap or shower.


There are lots of ways to lift your emotional state, here are a few simple suggestions;
- put on your favorite upbeat song and move! (Please take it easy especially if you're recovering from surgery or trauma - please be advised by your doctor)

- smile to yourself in the mirror like a me you'll start laughing even when you feel ridiculous!

- take time to quiet your mind. Close your eyes and focus on your body and your breath - deep breathing. If your mind wanders, always return to your breath.

- take a cold shower! Sound too harsh? I struggle with this too! Try splashing your face with cold water for a good 2 minutes.


Find a method that works for you and do this before your session! There are many suggestions out there on how to change your state. Remember you are only as resourceful as your own resourcefulness!


Follow these tips EXACTLY as described and you'll have great success in being able to take photos with a calm and sleepy baby. Wrapping is a crucial part of settling your baby, but if you're wanting to get photos of your baby in the nude, then PLEASE only try this AFTER you've taken beautiful shots of your baby wrapped. When you unwrap them, this is when they often wake up and get unsettled.


If you'd like to learn more you can grab our free guide to improve your photos drastically with this one simple tip PLUS a bonus explainer video ⬇️.

IS THIS helpful? How can we help you further?
I'd love your feedback and suggestions! x

Why consider a family photographer sunset session?

I’m a family photographer covering Warrnambool, Camperdown and surrounds. Our family outdoor sessions are held at sunset. If you have young children your probably thinking “What The!?” as it’s after your child’s bedtime. I understand as I have my kids in bed early too. Rest assured, all you have to do is adjust your child’s day nap later in the day as best you can and bring snacks/drinks for them. One night staying up past their bedtime will be fine as we will actually be having fun – I promise!

Why shoot at sunset? If this session featured below was held at the same location but at a different time, there would be no soft golden light filtering through the trees, bringing these images to life. This magical golden look and feel cannot be replicated. This session was taken one hour before sunset. See how softly the light filters through the trees onto the grass, leaves making beautiful highlights in their hair. Shooting at sunset is vital to get those warm tones. This is called the ‘Golden Hour’. It is the most flattering light to shoot in as it is soft and one directional, no one will be squinting.

If the weather is overcast, we reschedule one shoot to try and get the sun. If the second scheduled shoot is overcast with no rain we will shoot without full sun. Taking images when overcast, although there will be little or no golden tones, it will have a gorgeous luminance effect to the image instead which creates the feel of well done studio lighting.

I love capturing families playing together, cuddling, being silly and just loving each others company – appreciate each other. Although I always try to get that one desired shot of everyone looking and smiling at me, please remember you don’t all need to be looking at the camera for a beautiful family photo. Natural interactions with your family make for beautiful portraits. I’ll be playing with your kids, telling them silly jokes, encouraging dads to show off their kid-flipping skills and getting your children to show me their BEST ever hugs and kisses. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?


Warrnambool family photographer – session held in Camperdown

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We have limited family sessions available each month.  If you would like more information on our family sessions pop on over here.

For full details on our packages or to book a session, please use the contact form and I’ll be in touch.


I look forward to hanging out and meeting your family.


Jess x

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    I'm Jessica Van Den Berghe, a small-town

    Camperdown girl with big dreams.
    I'm hooked on Netflix, in-door plants, candles and crispy pork crackling with apple sauce.


    T.0439 932 229