Trying to have a happy baby or a sleeping baby during a newborn photoshoot can sometimes be a challenge for photographers and can be stressful for parents.

A newborn baby is fully dependent on mum and dad to provide for his/ her with the food, warmth and comfort that she needs. When a baby cries, it’s their natural way of communicating any of those needs and of ensuring that mum and dad respond.  Babies usually cry because they:

  • may be hungry
  • need to be held and comforted
  • are tired and need to rest
  • are too hot or too cold
  • need changing
  • don’t feel too well
  • just feel like crying for attention


The following are a guide to how the photographer, working with the parents, will settle the baby ready to get amazing photographs.

Feeding Baby – The crying baby may well be thirsty or hungry and the photographer will hand the baby back to the parent for a feed. This often takes time and the photographer will fully appreciate this.

Use of a Pacifier – Photographers often ask parents to bring a pacifier with them as it does help to calm and soothe a fussy baby. However some parents do not want to use pacifiers and this needs to be respected.

Shushing Baby – Using a loud shushing noise can often help calm a baby. There are also apps available for mobile phones that offer very effective shushing sounds. The noises resemble to natural sound of the mother’s heart when the baby was in the womb.

Use of White Noise – There are also a variety of apps available that offer white noise such as hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, rain, waterfalls, the sea etc. These can be played in the background to help keep the baby calm or asleep.

Changing Baby – If the baby has wet or soiled then they should be cleaned/ changed and made comfortable.

Rocking and Cuddling Baby – Rocking and rhythmically moving the baby or giving them a gentle cuddle and pat has a very calming and soothing effect. Including a shushing sound will further comfort the baby. The parent or the photographer can do this.

Wrapping or Swaddling Baby – Wrapping or swaddling can instantly calm a fussy baby. Ensure the wrap is not overly tight and that the baby is comfortable and not too hot.

Room Temperature – Checking to see the room temperature is at around 26 degrees C. As the baby will be undressed they can loose body heat quickly. Ensure the body temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Often photographers have extra heaters near to the working area to boost the temperature and to warm props. Great care needs to be taken to ensure safe working at all times. Indications of changes in body temperature are:

  • cold hands or feet
  • the skin becoming red, purple or blotchy
  • sweating
  • baby becoming fussy or crying

In consultation with the parents take action to warm a cold baby or to cool a hot baby. Having a thermometer/ thermostat in the studio is important to help regulate the temperature.

Finally some babies may just not settle during a photoshoot, every baby is different. If the period of crying extends for too long and both baby and parents are becoming uncomfortable it is best to accept that the photoshoot should be rescheduled.


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