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Best Poses for Documentary Newborn Sessions | Photographer Posing Guide for Newborns

Photographer Posing Guide to Best Poses for Documentary Newborn Sessions | Newborn Photographer

While I truly love photographing weddings, couples, and families, newborn sessions will always have a special place in my heart. Getting to capture those precious first few months of a baby's life is so sweet and creates memories that the family can look back on for years to come. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to figure out how to pose the family during a documentary newborn session because you want the photos to look natural but still composed and cohesive. That's why I've put together this photographer posing guide to the best poses for documentary newborn sessions!

Hold Hands

I don't think I'll ever get over the adorableness of tiny baby hands and fingers. One of the best ways to highlight your newborn during a documentary session is by having other members of the family hold or play with the baby's hands and fingers. I love how intimate these hand-holding photos turn out, and it's a unique way to incorporate different family members, whether they be parents, siblings, or grandparents.

Face to Face

Sometimes, the simplest poses can create the most beautiful moments! One of my go-to newborn poses is having a parent hold the baby out and look at them face to face. You can see and capture all the love and pride as the parent looks at their gorgeous newborn, and this pose is super easy to set up. Simply put, it's a classic.

Rocking Baby

Another classic documentary newborn pose involves having mom or dad rocking the baby in the nursery. I find that this setup makes it really easy for families to naturally pose without looking stiff or awkward. Of course, mom (or dad) and baby will also get to stay nice and comfy as they cozy into their favorite rocking chair or recliner. This newborn pose offers a lot of variety when it comes to incorporating other members of the family like siblings and grandparents, too.

Face Sniffs

Face sniffs are some of my favorite poses for documentary newborn sessions because they always guarantee adorable photos. I especially love doing face sniffs with baby's siblings because you can have a lot of fun prompting them to sniff the newborn's head or cheeks, and it's a great way to get little ones engaged and giggling. Of course, parents can also do face sniffs with their baby and it turns out beautiful every time.

Hold Them In Your Palm

Another adorable newborn pose is to have one of the parents (I like to use dad for this one) hold their newborn so the baby's head is resting in the palm of their hand. This emphasizes just how small and cute the baby is! Plus, you can't look at a photo of a newborn sleeping in the palm of their parent's hand and not fall in love, am I right?!

Nose to Nose

One of the most precious ways to create beautiful portraits of your newborn is by touching noses. I just love how sweet this pose is and I find that it creates a really special moment between parents and their newborn. This newborn pose is especially great for dads because it really encourages them to embrace their softer side and have a close one-on-one moment with their baby.

Lean Into It

Photographer Posing Guide to Best Poses for Documentary Newborn Sessions | Newborn Photographer

This is a great pose to incorporate both parents into your newborn's photos. Have one of the parents hold the baby close and then the other parent will circle them up in a loose hug and lean in. Having the baby and their parent leaning into the other parent creates a sense of protection and intimacy. I feel like this pose is so effortless yet beautifully captures the relationship between a newborn and their parents!

Candid Comfort Moments

Last up, we have a classic for any documentary newborn session - candid comfort moments. This involves capturing those little moments where the family is comforting or tending to the baby without being preoccupied by the camera. Some of my favorite newborn shots have come from photographing those candid life moments where mom or dad needs to give her little one some extra love, or all the siblings are sharing a rare moment of peace!

Don't forget to bookmark this photographer posing guide for documentary newborn sessions in preparation for your own photos!



If you or someone you know is looking for a newborn photographer, I'd love to work with you! Give me a shout over at

Jessi is a lifestyle documentary photographer based in southern Alabama, serving the Gulf Coast from Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta areas. She specializes in couple, wedding, maternity, newborn and family photography, and also enjoys commercial and creative portraiture. Available for travel worldwide. Find out more at


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