How Did She Do That?

This post is long overdue.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen newborn photos that just make me cringe.  Babies are precious little creations and they must be handled with the utmost care!  I think it is so important to educate other new photographers who photograph newborns how to get the shot safely.  Half of what you see on my blog are composite images.  They require a lot of Photo Shop to pull off!  I have taken one recent image and am showing you a before and after plus a little info on how I edit!

So here’s the before straight out of the camera….

newborn photography

Babies don’t hold their heads up on their own and they usually need a lot of support!  This basket is filled with blankets and under that top layer is a travel neck pillow.  You know the kind you take on an airplane?  It’s the perfect size to give some support to a newborn.  Once I have them in position I bring mom over to provide some head support.  See her bent arm in the back?  Well, that hand stays on the babies back just in case the baby jerks backwards (which happens all the time)  and is only up for a second while I take the shot.  NEVER leave a baby alone in a prop!!!!!

Here is the after…..

Newborn Photography

Isn’t she sweet?  So how did I do it?  Everyone loves editing tips!  First from lightroom, I opened the photo in photoshop (command E).  Then I used  the clone stamp tool to remove the mom’s arms and hand.  I had to clone the hairline as well and clean it up a bit.  Then I use the spot healing brush to remove any red spots or acne.  Next, I use a hue/saturation layer to remove any redness around the babies feet or hands, etc.  Then I duplicate my photo and choose a color from one of the corners of the photo to paint my vignette around the photo at about 30%.  Next, using a layer mask I remove all the paint from the baby and the prop.  Sometimes I use a warming action to warm up the skin.  After that I use a toning action (a girl’s gotta have some secrets).  After all these steps are done I hit command S to save it back into Lightroom.  I finish it off with curves and the sharpen and noise reduction (for the smooth skin) sliders and add a slight vignette.


Is your head spinning?  Ever wonder why newborn photography costs so much?  A lot of work goes into producing these images!  I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial and remember to always be safe with the littles!


photography + design