A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Lighting for Newborn Photography

Photographing newborns might not be as glamorous as capturing fashion models, but these images will last for years to come and allow parents to create those all-important first memories to be looked back on in years to come. Capturing the baby's firsts create exciting memories for the family, but it can be pretty challenging for photographers. It can require you to alter your approach and understand the subject to tailor your skills specifically for the shoot you are doing.

It comes with no surprise that babies are not professional photography subjects. The new environment of a photography studio is enough to confuse them and make them incredibly irritable, making it challenging to execute a successful photo shoot. Babies are easily distracted, prone to emotional outbursts, and have the uncanny ability to change moods within minutes.

All of the above factors make babies a difficult subject to photograph, as they only provide a tight window of opportunity to capture the perfect image within a small time frame. Having the right gear at hand can set you up for success if you are venturing into child photography, and we've got a great starting point for you.



The first piece of equipment that you will need for your newborn photography shoots is a camera. Whether you choose to go with a simple DSLR or a mirrorless camera, you need to learn how to use them correctly to produce outstanding quality images.

It would be better to use a better-suited camera for indoor lighting, shooting with higher ISOs, and faster shutter speeds with image stabilization. This would allow you to avoid blurry images. The camera should also come with plenty of memory since, with babies, you're probably going to have to take a few pictures before getting the perfect one.


Diffusers and Modifiers

The right lighting can be the difference between an average and a great picture. Different diffusers and modifiers are available in the market, allowing you to tweak the lighting, ensuring it produces the desired effect. Babies, especially newborns, have extremely sensitive eyes, which is why it may be a more wise decision to stay away from sharp light until they are much older. This is to ensure that you cause no damage to the baby's eyesight for the sake of a perfect shot. For this reason, softboxes a great piece of kit to have as they help soften harsh lights.

Both softboxes and umbrellas can be used for diffusing light in photoshoots as they have their own pros and cons. Softboxes provide more control over studio lighting, while umbrellas are easier to set up and more portable. For babies, softboxes are a better option, as they provide softer and safer light for the baby's eyes. Similarly, umbrellas with diffusers also serve as effective in diffusing light. The resulting softer light is easier on the baby's eyes and prevents squinting from bright flashes that can cause discomfort.

Some excellent diffuser and modifier options you should consider for baby photography are:

1.       160cm (63") Parabolic Black/Silver Umbrella with Removeable Diffusion

2.       80cm Collapsible Diffuser Ball - With Interchangeable Fitting

3.       90cm (35.4") Octagonal Easy-open Umbrella Softbox with 4cm Grid


(This particular equipment helps evenly spread the light, and they are also easy to open to allow easy setup during baby shoots. This can be of great help as timing is key in baby photography.  As babies can become restless quite quickly, having something easy to set up would be a wonderful idea.)



Lighting Stands

Lighting stands have lights and other fixtures at an optimum height, so the light exposure throughout the shoot is consistent compared to when a human holds the equipment. This ensures that the lighting is constant and non-shaky. Moreover, choosing a suitable lighting stand prevents any unneeded shadows or patchy lighting when dealing with a constantly moving subject like a baby. The light stands can also be used to hold different accessories in place, such as the flash, softboxes attached to the light first, and reflector umbrellas, making it a versatile piece of equipment. However, you might need to weigh them down to prevent them from tipping over if the attachment is hefty. For this, you may use a pre-filled sandbag or purchase a sandbag to fill it with sand.


Here are some of our favorite lighting stands to be used when photographing babies:

1.       Lightweight and easily transportable for baby photoshoots - 240cm Air Cushioned Studio Light Stand

2.       For direct light focus over the subject - 2in1 Reclined Combi Boom Stand

3.       Moveable to allow you to roll the stand around into the desired position easily. This is needed when finding the perfect set up for photographing a baby - 228cm Moveable Steel Tube Stand-Roller stand





The background sets up the entire mood for the baby. You might choose to go with a simple and plain background in solid colours like the Seamless Paper Background that come in a variety of colours. You can also opt for something more fun and engaging that adds additional depth into the photographs, such as the Hand-Painted Canvas Backdrop. While shooting, make sure you fold up the background with a sturdy backdrop stand with adjustable clamps to prevent it from falling over and compromising the baby's safety. 

Suppose you want to shoot with more than one backdrop. In which case, you can consider investing in a background stand with a triple backdrop mounting option to give you easy access to a wider selection rather than spending time setting up multiple backdrops.


Photography Kits

If you don't want to build your photography equipment kit piece by piece, you can purchase ready-made kits containing all the relevant equipment. These kits can come with different components, including lighting, flash, softboxes, light stands, and other compatible accessories that can help capture high-quality images without requiring you to spend hours creating the perfect setup. There is a range of choices to choose from, each providing different types of equipment at various price points. This option is especially great for beginners who are new to photography as it can be a daunting task to start from scratch. That's where pre-made kits come in handy and provide you with equipment that works well for the job you are doing.


The smaller kits consist primarily of lights and softboxes, while the larger kits focus on the entire set up including flash, softboxes, reflectors, light stands, and even backgrounds depending on the photographer's requirements. Following are our top picks for photography kits that can be used for newborn and child photography:


1.       CITI600 PRO Cake Smash Baby Photography Kit 

This kit includes the powerful CITI600 PRO with its intelligent rechargeable battery to deliver 370 full-powered shots per charge. With its impressive recycle times and Flash Durations, the CITI600 PRO Cake Smash Baby Photography Kit enables you to capture every moment perfectly. This kit also comes with a large 160cm Parabolic Umbrella with a Diffusion to produce soft, natural-looking lighting, perfect for capturing the expressions of your subject. Additionally, an air-cushioned light stand for added stability and reassurance is included in the kit.


Within the kit, you will find:

·         1x CITI600 PRO battery-powered Flash Head

·         1x Flash Tube

·         1x Standard Reflector

·         1x Battery Pack

·         1x 160cm Parabolic Umbrella with Diffusion

·         2x Light stands

·         1x 5in1 Reflector

·         1x Reflector Arm


2.       CITI600 Manual Mobile Child Photography Kit

This bundle consists of two CITI600 Manual Battery-Powered flashes, 2x 90cm Easy-Open Umbrella softboxes, and 2x air-cushioned light stands. With 600Ws of power, the CITI600 Manual has a 9-stop power range, from full power down to 1/256th of its maximum power in 1/3-stop increments. It also features High-Speed Sync, enabling you to kill ambient exposure for more dramatic photographs when shooting outdoors. The 2x 90cm easy-open umbrella softboxes produce soft, more even lighting ideal for photographing babies and young children. They feature an umbrella-like opening mechanism, making them quick and easy to set up and take down, ideal for photographers on the go. The stands feature an air-cushioned dampening system, which prevents the stands from crashing down. Perfect for photographing around active children.


Within the kit, you will find:

·         2x CITI600 Manual Flashes

·         2x 90cm Easy-Open Octagonal Softboxes

·         2x Air-Cushioned Light stands


3.       CITI600 Newborn Baby Flash Kit

The PIXAPRO CITI600 New-born Baby Flash Kit is a simple one-light setup with a large diffused 160cm Parabolic black/white Umbrella modifier. This gives a lovely soft light that will gently brighten the baby's face while providing some shadow to shape and define their cute little features. This kit also comes with an 80x120cm 5in1 reflector to help reduce contrast, warm skin tone, eliminate shadows, or soften the light. You may combine this with the CITI600 flashes ability, used at full power to allow super-wide apertures to achieve a super-soft look for your photos.


Within the kit, you will find:

·         1x CITI600 Manual Flash Head

·         1x Flash Tube

·         1x Standard Reflector

·         1x Lithium Battery Pack

·         1x 160cm Black/White Parabolic Umbrella with Diffuser

·         2x Light Stands

·         1x Collapsible 5 in 1 Reflector

·         1x Reflector Clamp


4.      GIO1 Speedlite Twin Travel Backpack Kit

The GIO1 also has a Magnetic Modifier-Mount for attaching Round-Head modifiers and accessories. Round Flash-Head produces smooth-gradated natural-looking light fall-off, which is excellent for producing soft light. It also consists of a rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer battery capable of up to 480 full-power flashes per charge, ideal for shoots on location as they are battery operated. Moreover, the new "Scan For Best Channel" feature is excellent for use in busy settings to avoid interference from other photographers in the area.

Within the kit, you will find:

·         2x GIO1 Speedlite flashgun

·         2x 70cm Speedlite Softbox

·         2x Light Stand

·         1x 5-in-1 Reflector

·         1x Backpack


5.       GLOWPAD Baby / New-born Photography Complete Lighting Kit

The GLOWPAD Baby / New-born Photography Lighting Complete Kit is a highly portable continuous lighting solution that enables you to capture stunning high-quality, images of Babies and Newborns with little fuss. This kit consists of a Glowpad450S and two Glowpad350S 5600K daylight-balanced LED panels. The GLOWPAD panels use Edge-Lit LED Technology, which produce Soft, Glowing lighting without needing bulky softboxes. Therefore this kit is ideal for mobile photographers who do not want to carry around much gear. With a CRI of 95+, you can rest assured that skin tones will be beautifully replicated in your final image. The GLOWPAD450S panel makes a great key light, and the Glowpad350S panels can be used either as fill lights, background lights, or accent lights. Possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Within the kit, you will find:

·         1x PIXAPRO Glowpad GLOWPAD 450S LED Panel

·         2x PIXAPRO Glowpad GLOWPAD 350S LED Panel

·         4x Light Stand

·         90x90cm Foldable Scrim Panel

CITI600 PRO Cake Smash Baby Photography Kit  CITI600 Manual Mobile Child Photography Kit
CITI600 Newborn Baby Flash Kit
GIO1 Speedlite Twin Travel Backpack Kit
GLOWPAD Baby / New-born Photography Complete Lighting Kit


After acquiring the correct equipment to create your child photography kit, whether this is a kit you put together yourself or opt for one of our pre-made kits, rest assured that you will be ready and prepared for your next baby photoshoot. Be it a cake smash shoot, a newborn shoot, or child portraits with the right equipment. Your possibilities are endless.

Photographing babies, especially newborns, is not an easy task. However, they can still be a pleasure to shoot, especially when you are well prepared to capture the first professional image that can live on for years to come.