Photograph: take great photos of your newborn {Pt 4: editing}

I hope you’ve been enjoying the first three parts of this newborn photography series. If you’ve missed them, here’s the rundown:

I don’t claim to be a pro, and following the steps I’m outlining here isn’t going to make you a pro either. There’s a lot more to photography than props and poses. If you want amazing portraits of your newborn, your best bet is to invest in professional photos.

However, if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a newborn photo session, there are things YOU can do to get great photos of your newborn, and that’s the point of this blog series. Here’s what you can look forward to in the next few weeks:

Part 1: the basics | Part 2: posing | Part 3: posing baby with family members | Part 4: editing | Part 5: how to get this shot (setup to post processing)

Today I just thought I’d show you how I usually edit newborn photos. Newborn photos can usually use a fair bit of editing because it’s normal to see scratches, red splotches, dry skin, etc., on those new babies’ little faces. What sort of editing and how much editing to do is really a matter of preference – my goal is generally to remove distractions and help the baby’s skin look it’s best while maintaining a realistic photo that doesn’t “look photoshopped.” I generally edit using Photoshop Elements.

I’ve made a screencast for you today taking you through my usual process. The screencast shows you how I took a photo from this:

to this:

I do use an action fairly often when editing baby photos. It’s the Baby Powder Room Action from Coffeeshop. It’s free (all Rita’s actions are free at Coffeeshop!) and it’s really helpful, so if you’re interested in doing some editing I’d highly recommend you get it, then find an online tutorial on how to install it into Photoshop. My video covers basic edits as well as walks you through the way I use Baby Powder Room.

Oh, one last thing – please excuse the noises of the five children playing at my house in the background of the video. They’d tried to be quiet. Or at least they claimed they were trying to be quiet :) Here you go:



  1. 1

    Kelly says

    Hi Autumn! I’m following along with your tutorial in photoshop elements 10. I ran the coffeeshop baby powder action set and I’m having trouble with smoothing the skin(and actually all the steps because) I press B for the brush but when I try to use it on the picture it just says “could not use the color replacement tool because it only works in full color modes”. I googled and found ppl saying to go to Image>Mode and change to RGB color and that’s what I have it on. Help please!! Thanks! Love how at least you make it look so easy!

  2. 2

    autumn says

    Kelly, I’ve been trying to figure out what the problem is, but I haven’t had any luck – sorry! I’d recommend contacting Rita at the coffeeshop site – since she designed the action she might be able to help you. Good luck!

  3. 3

    Mike says

    Hi Autumn!

    I just came across your site and have been reading your photography articles – great stuff!!

    I can’t seem to find the link to your video on “Take Great Photos of your Newborn: Part 4 Editing”. Am I missing something?

    Keep up the good work!

    – Mike

    – Mike

    • 5

      autumn says

      Thanks for letting me know, Sarah. The video is now embedded in the post – when I switched blog formats a few months ago a few things got lost.

  4. 6

    Paula says

    Thanks Autumn for the great information. I have a good portrait lens with a 1.4ft aperture. I guess this would be a good lens to use for these types of shots? Otherwise I would use my 55-200mm lens which also produces some great results.

    • 7

      DOWARD says

      Sogma 1.4?
      Too wide. 1.8 is ok for shallow and 2.8 -3 for baby long depth of field.

      My wife made me read your post, necause she wanted those pics done.
      Awesome results thanks to you. Everybody thinks we had a pro come over.


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