12 Horrible Mistakes to Avoid for Cute Baby Pictures

February 28, 2022 8 min read

May I share something a little embarrassing with you about taking cute baby pictures? It’s never super fun to admit to your mistakes, but I want to take you behind the scenes of some of my own photo sessions and, shall we say, air out a little of my dirty laundry.

If you can’t already tell, we take cute baby pictures very seriously here at Birchmark Designs. I would even go as far as saying we consider ourselves memory makers. We strive to make sure that once you receive one of our  handcrafted keepsakes in the mail you are able to take photos you will treasure forever. 

I also know that capturing those “perfect” moments isn’t always easy. Babies are wiggly, sleep a lot (or not enough), and often do the exact opposite of what you are trying to get them to do. And believe me, I’m not perfect either (have you seen my  Instagram reel highlighting what I’ve learned?) but I have seen some horrible mistakes of photo shoots gone wrong and want to make sure you avoid them. It does take practice, and a conscious effort, but the rewards are well worth it.

From now on, it will only be cute baby pictures that you see when scrolling through your photo gallery.


12 Horrible Mistakes to Avoid for Cute Baby Pictures

First things first: I promise that I'm not going to share these horrible mistakes to avoid for cute baby pictures and then leave you hanging. Nope. I want to make sure that you have a resolution within just a few clicks that will help you skip the expensive studio and photographer, kiss mom guilt buh-bye, and take cute baby pictures all by yourself.


I have a  FREE GUIDE for you to download that is:

  1. Seriously free
  2. Comes with 3 bonuses to make your photo session even easier for you
  3. Saves you $$ (again, photographers can cost an arm and a leg these days!)

pro photography secrets

Now let’s go over these mistakes so that you get closer to those cute baby pictures with every single snap.

1. Taking photos in a brand spankin' new place

Why it's a mistake: 

Babies, like adults sometimes, are creatures of habit. They are new to the world and just getting used to this place. I know that visiting the park or your favorite hiking trail to strike a pose with them sounds nice, however, reality can set in very quickly. New spaces can be overwhelming when they are experiencing them for the first time.

From a photo perspective, you'll be less familiar with where the light is coming from, and the time of day when it will be its best. Having the sun beat down on that delicate baby skin is a huge no-no.  

If you're considering an outdoor space, you're also dealing with Mother Nature. I've seen well intentioned mamas face soggy mud puddles, grass that's taller than their baby, and disease-carrying mosquitoes. All in the name of getting a cute baby picture.

taking photos in a brand new place

What to do instead:

Give your baby some time to adjust to the new place before you set or lay them down to take their picture. Make them feel safe and comfortable. If you plan on taking photos outdoors or in another place besides home, arrive early and give your little love some time to adjust.

You can also do a little scouting. Think about the time of day you want to take a picture based on your baby's current nap schedule, or when they're at their happiest, and do a test run. Go check out the light, pay attention to the sun and the shade, walk around, get a feel for any supplies you might need to bring with you, like a blanket or bug spray.

Bottom line - be prepared. 

2. Overstimulating your little one

Why it's a mistake: 

Sometimes simple is best. Sometimes sleeping is best. When moms are going for a specific look, getting a tiny human being to cooperate can be maddening. Without fail, moms who want a sleeping baby end up with a wide-awake baby. Or moms who want to see those beautiful eyes can't get their baby to keep them open, without tears flowing from them. Moments like these can pretty much guarantee tears. From everyone. And those don’t make for cute baby photos.

What to do instead: 

Go with the flow and make sure you don’t overwhelm or overstimulate your baby. Take baby's mood into consideration, along with timing, like when they're due for a nap or a snack. If your baby wants to snooze through your photo shoot, let them. Or if your little one can't stop checking you out, go with it and capture those beautiful eyes.

Bottom line - be flexible.

3. Not asking for help

Why it's a mistake:

Sometimes moms try to juggle all the things. Getting baby cleaned up, dressed, ready, and fed. Then repeating the whole process again after a little spit up or spill. Along with trying to clean or straighten up the space where you want to take photos. 

Trying to do everything on your own can make you a giant ball of stress and frustration. And a stressed-out mama can unknowingly, and unintentionally, stress out their baby.

What to do instead:

Unless you are still in that sweet stage where you can move your new baby while they are sleeping and they will stay asleep, you will most likely need some help.

If you have another adult or friend who loves your baby as much as you do, ask for their help. Plan for one of you to be the baby wrangler, and for the other person to be the photo taker. When each adult is focused on their key job, photos are more likely to turn out much better, and the whole process goes so much smoother.

Or ask an older sibling to help. Make them your 'official helper,' to keep baby calm, or to get baby to smile. Make them feel special too, and sneak in a few sibling pictures if you can.

Still on your own? Taking a photo, any photo at all, is better than pushing for perfection. Cut yourself a little slack and take steps that will make you feel like you can handle anything. Whether that's deep breathing exercises, calming music, or a few moments to yourself, wait until you're both ready.

Bottom line - ask for help when you need it

RELATED: 5 Reasons To Give Yourself Grace, Mama

4. Trying to re-create a “Pinterest perfect” photo

Why it's a mistake:

Having some super sweet pictures you found on Pinterest to use as inspiration for your cute baby pictures is a great idea. Keep in mind, though, that the term “Pinterest fail” often trends for a reason.

Trying to twist your baby into a human pretzel for a photo can cause some serious damage to your little one. Professional photographers often take multiple photos, and lay pieces from one photo on top of pieces from a second photo, to achieve a certain look. Don't set yourself up for failure, or your baby up for an injury; leave the difficult poses to the professionals.

What to do instead:

Be honest about your skill level when you see inspiring photos. It's great to practice, and to try new things, but don't let them stress you out. There will always be other moments to catch the perfect smile or silly moment. 

Bottom line - set realistic expectations

5. Not having a back-up outfit handy

messy babies

Why it's a mistake:

Accidents happen, even when you are at home. Having your heart set on a specific outfit, and then feeling disappointed when that outfit gets covered in drool or other body fluids can make your photo session go downhill fast. 

What to do instead:

I know we get excited about catching your little love on camera in certain, special outfits, but don’t put too much weight on it.

Try to focus more on the emotions and  baby photo prop you are using. Even if you are taking photos in the comfort of your own home, have a fresh outfit handy and then you can keep the camera rolling whenever a mess might (and probably will) occur. 

Bottom line - be prepared

6. Too much focus on one area

Why it's a mistake:

Sadly my boys have fallen victim to this mistake. Looking back at their baby photos, I went through a phase when all of my photos were from the chest up. It's like their lower half completely didn't exist.

I have this huge feeling of regret that I can't see how they grew and changed each month. There's no proof that their skinny little legs turned into rolly, chubby thighs. It happened, I swear. But all I have are the mental snapshots that are slowly fading away.

What to do instead:

Believe me, I know how cute baby toes are - the sweetest! But, don’t focus on all toes, or all face, all the time.

Make sure you take a few steps back in your photos, snap some shots of baby exploring their surroundings, learning something new, or just playing. Don’t focus too much on their face or any one area, diversify your photo-taking attempts and you just might be surprised what you capture on camera.

Bottom line - aim for a variety of photos

7. Not getting yourself in the photos, too

mom in photos

Why it's a mistake:

As moms we try to teach our kids to accept themselves, to be confident, to be proud. But we're the first ones to pick ourselves apart. My hair is messy, my makeup isn't done, I've got pureed peas on my shirt. Excuses, excuses.

I promise that when your kiddos get older and look through their old baby photos, they are going to be just as excited to see what you looked like “back then” as they are at how teeny, tiny they once looked.

What to do instead:

I can’t stress this one enough: get in the photos, too, mama!  Take the picture. Save the memory. Relish in those sweet moments because time flies in the blink of an eye.

Bottom line - turn that camera on yourself

8. Relying on someone else's platform for storage

Why it's a mistake:

This one has more to do with how you are storing your pictures than taking them, but I promise it can impact whether you have cute baby pictures (at all!).

I see a lot of parents who are using Facebook or Instagram as their method of storing their photos digitally. This is not good! I get it: we get excited about catching a swoon-worthy moment and want to make sure that it immediately makes it into our squares. 

However, when you upload to these platforms, your photos get compressed and in some cases, a filter is added. This means that when you finally do get around to printing your favorite moments, these versions will be low resolution and won't look great when printed into physical copies.

What to do instead:

Make sure you always save a backup of your precious photos in full size to the cloud, your computer, or an external hard drive; anywhere you can control and have access to, anytime you want. You can thank me later. 

Bottom line - keep those originals

9. Only shooting from one angle

Let's be real here: no one wants to look at the same type of photo over and over again. If the mood strikes you, allow yourself to be a little bit creative, think outside the box and shoot your baby photos from different angles. You will be surprised by the beautiful outcomes!

10. Not getting down on baby's level

This sort of piggybacks on the last one, but if you find yourself taking all of your photos from above, don't forget to get down on baby's level and see the world from their viewpoint. 

11.  Ignoring the light

I stressed this a lot when I wrote about Family Christmas Photography 101 around the holidays because lighting can truly make or break your photos. If you are taking photos indoors, take note of where the light is and follow it. The rule of thumb is that the light should always be behind your camera. 

12. Being afraid to edit

As I added in this bullet point, I realized that this could be a whole blog post on its own (don't worry, I'll have one for you soon!), but there are so many easy editing tools right in the palm of your hand (ahem: in your phone). Don't be afraid to edit or make a few small tweaks to make your photos better. My favorite apps right now are Lightroom and Inshot. 

I hope that you learned something from my tips and are excited about taking your own cute baby pictures at home after your baby has napped. Don’t forget to download my FREE GUIDE HERE!

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