Baby sleeping in hospital bassinet wearing white hat and dark blue swaddle
New Baby Photography Hospital Birth

100 Photo Ideas for Your Baby's 'Fresh 48' in the Hospital

By Amy Morrison
Created in partnership with Minted. This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure.

A First 48 photography session is the photos you capture in the first forty-eight hours of an infant's life. It can include images of the baby, parents, family, friends, etc. whether it's a hospital setting, birthing center, or home birth.

Personally, the first 48 hours after I had given birth was a complete blur. I felt like I had been hit by a dump truck and then introduced to a pristine new human who I was expected to keep alive.

Needless to say, I wasn't in the best shape to come up with creative photoshoot ideas, yet I definitely wanted to capture this epic life-changing event. So I've partnered with Minted (they make the most stunning birth announcement) and scoured a variety of sources to find the best ideas for capturing amazing photos in the hospital in the 48 hours after you've had a baby – the 'fresh 48'.

I've tried to find ideas that aren't too tricky or dependent on props and can be captured with your phone. Here's a list along with photo examples below.

Fresh 48 Photo Ideas:
• Pre-baby details: parking lot, room, view from room, hallway signs or room sign, equipment around, etc.
• Baby's arrival
• Photo as a family close up and from a distance
• Parents together in background with baby in the foreground
• Birth parent holding baby close up and from a distance
• Birth parent holding baby shot over their shoulder
• Partner holding baby close up
• Partner holding baby with birth parent in background
• Nurse with baby (ask before you take a photo - this isn't the time to get arrested)
• Baby in cot, wrapped in blanket, and unwrapped on bed
• Baby details: ears, fingers, toes, 'fuzz', top of head
• Birth information card with baby, signs
• Sibling meeting baby
• Family and friends meeting baby
• Family group photo
• Going home outfit, bundled in car seat, leaving hospital

Pre-baby details

There is often a lot of waiting when you're in labor. So if your partner finds some downtime, it's a great opportunity to take some pictures to create a digital time capsule. A clock on the wall when you arrived, what the room looked like, or even the parking lot will be weirdly interesting in a few decades.

Black and white photo of pregnant mom in hospital room looking out window while she labors
Collection of images in black and white of scenes from hospital room while in labor: clock, mom's hands, mom and dad holding hands, and blood pressure readouts.

Baby's Arrival

They are here!! This is a flurry of activity, adrenaline and emotion so do worry too much about capturing it all unless you have a third party (like an awesome birth photographer) or a partner who likes to do something in high-energy situations.

Note: Be mindful that the medical staff's first order of business is making sure everyone is okay so stay out of their way. What is a life-altering event for you is a Tuesday for them so keep that in mind.

Black and white image of mom looking surprised as she holds her freshly born baby.
Baby Rabies Lowell's Birth Story
Black and white image of mom lying in bed crying while holding freshly born baby.
Black and white photo of dad looking at brand new baby who is being held up by mom.

New Family

If you have a person with you who is willing to take a picture (or you've booked a fresh 48 session with a photographer) this is a great time to capture a shot with you, your partner, and the baby.

Color image of baby sleeping on a white sheet, swaddled, while mom and dad each but a hand under the head.
Black and white image of moms kissing over sleeping baby being nursed.
Color photo of dad admiring the baby he's holding while mom lays in hospital bed looking on.
Color photo of two dads dressed in blue smiling down at their newborn swaddled in a hospital bassinet.
Color photo of mom and dad kissing in the background of a photo with a sleeping swaddled baby in the foreground.
Color image of dad leaning down to kiss mom while she lays with newborn sleeping on her chest.
via @milenaciciotti

Baby with Birth Parent

Okay, this is an important shot. I don't care if you think you look puffy, sweaty, gross, or broken, if you have gotten a person out of your body make sure to take a ton of photos to document it. Take shots from above, straight on, from over the shoulder and from any other possible angle you can think of. If you don't like them now, treat them like a time capsule and just tuck them away. Odds are you'll love looking at them down the road.  

Color photo of mom kissing baby swaddled in pink next to bouquet of pink, yellow and white flowers.
Lauren Ireland
Black and white photo of mom kissing toes of newborn wearing hat.
Color photo from above showing mom looking down at newborn laying in her lap.
Profile color photo of mom holding up newborn wearing nothing but a diaper getting kissed on the head.
Color photo of mother looking down at newborn swaddled in hospital blanket wearing a hat.
Color photo of mom holding naked newborn standing on her belly.
Color photo of mother holding her cheek to the forehead of her newborn swaddled in yellow swaddle with white suns.

Baby with Partner

Take advantage of any natural light in the room and take some photos of your partner and the baby in a few spots. Play around with angles and depth of focus and, if you're using a phone, use the portrait setting.

Color photo of dad, and baby, both dressed in white, against a white background.
Color photo of dad holding newborn swaddled in cheetah print in front of window.
Samantha Jones⁠ via @bellababyphotos
Color photo of dad holding newborn swaddled in flower print sitting on a bench in front of a window.
Black and white photo of dad holding newborn wearing a flower headband while mom smiles in the background.
Color photo from above of dad lying down doing skin to skin while baby looks at camera.
Black and white photo focusing on swaddled newborn looking at dad, whose face is in the foreground of the photo.

Baby in Bed

Pro photographers often capture amazing overhead shots of babies in their hospital bassinets but you might not feel like teetering on a chair over your infant right after giving birth (although, I suppose you are in a hospital if you wipe out).  Again, use the natural light in the room if you can and take a few shots from the bottom, the top, and the side. Capturing a staff (with permission of course) makes for a beautiful photo too.

Color photo of baby sleeping in hospital bassinet wearing dark blue swaddle and white hat.
Color photo of swaddled baby sleeping in hospital bassinet in front of two windows.
Color photo of nurse looking adoringly at swaddled baby in hospital bassinet.
Color photo of swaddled baby in hospital bassinet while parents are in the background smiling at each other.

Baby Wrapped

Try to snap a few shots of the baby wrapped up (often in the iconic hospital blanket). You can have someone hold them freestyle in front of a nice, clean wall with natural light, in their bassinet or in a little bundle on the hospital bed.

Fun fact: the Candy Stripe Kuddle-Up blanket was created by A.L. Mills in the early 1950s (he also made surgical gowns green). The company he founded, Medline, now sells 1.5 million a year.

Color photo of partner holding baby up in front of white wall while they sleep, swaddled and in a hat.
Color photo of baby sleeping in a white swaddle, wearing a bear hat.
Color photo of swaddled baby using a pacifier and receiving a hearing test in the hospital bassinet.
Color photo of newborn laying on white hospital bed swaddled in light colored swaddle looking at camera.
Color photo of swaddled newborn yawning while being held by someone in a dark blue shirt.
TIP: If you plan on sending out birth announcements, pick one or two before you give birth so you're ready to roll once the baby arrives. It will save your sanity when you're in the thick of things with a newborn and you can tailor your photos if you pick a photocard. 

Baby Unwrapped

There is something extra awesome about babies' little string bean legs, peach fuzz bodies or little drum bellies. Feel free to wait until you get home for this one but definitely make sure you get those shots.

Color photo from above of un-swaddled newborn sleeping in hospital bassinet with legs tucked up and arms above their head.
Nichole Burnett
Black and white photo of baby sleeping in hospital bassinet wearing nothing but a diaper.
Color photo of baby with supplemental oxygen, NG tube, and several sensors on their stomach sleeps in mom's arms. Tattoo on mom's arm reads: "Love doesn't count chromosomes"
Color photo of close up of mom's hand and baby's wrinkled back, and peach fuzz shoulders.
Color photo of newborn wearing nothing but a diaper, crying.

Tiny Details

If you're taking photos yourself, keep 'far', 'here' and 'close' in mind. "Far" as in the full hospital room with the bed, baby, windows, etc. all in frame. 'Here' as in parents holding the baby or the baby in their bassinet. 'Close' as in the breathtakingly beautiful photos of fingers, toes, tiny feet, precious lips and fuzzy heads. Take a billon shots. A billion!

Color photo of a close up of baby's lips, nose, and closed eyes.
Close up color photo of the very top of newborn's head of hair against a white sheet.
Close up color photo of newborn's wrinkly fingers holding onto parent's finger.
Close up color photo of baby being held by parent with the focus being the top of newborn's head.
Jaimie Hoffman⁠ via @bellababyphotos
Close up color photo of wrinkly baby feet and hospital bracelet.

Baby Signs and Birth Details

Whether it's a custom tag, a letterboard, a 'hello' my name is sticker or the card on your baby's bassinet, snap a pic of it with your baby. Etsy has some beautiful custom name tags and badges you can fill out as a keepsake.

Color photo of sign in the hospital bassinet with birth details while newborn sleeps in foreground.
Color photo from above of sleeping newborn holding a sign that reads: Hello world, my name is Mila Mae.
Close up color photo of newborn sleeping with sticker on their shirt that says, "Hello, my name is Wells Hunter"
Color photo from above showing half a sleeping newborn and a sign that says, "I'm here..." with name, and birth details filled in.
Color photo from above showing sleeping baby swaddled in pink, wearing a pink and white polk-a-dot headband with a sign on her chest that says, "Mabel Adeline"
Color photo taken from above showing sleeping newborn with letter board in his hospital bassinet with name and birth details listed.
Color photo showing sleeping swaddled baby with letter board in the background listing birth details.

Meeting Siblings for the First Time

Even if it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped, be sure to have someone capture the meeting of siblings – it will either be a Hallmark movie moment or a great story for the dinner table in 20 years. Both are totally cool. Here's a great post with 4 Tips For Introducing a Toddler to a New Sibling to help the greeting go smoothly.

Color photo of older sister leaning over hospital bassinet with help of dad looking down at her new sibling.
Color photo of three older kids sitting on hospital bed with mom and dad while mom nurses the newborn.
Color phot showing older brother kissing head of newborn sibling while parent holds newborn baby in his lap.
Color photo of toddler brother reaching for newborn sibling's head while mom helps hold everyone on the hospital bed.

Meeting Friends, Family and Grandparents for the First Time

I felt like I was holding it together pretty well with this post until I got to this first image. The caption starts with "Grace meet Grace" and I just lost it and got all misty. There is something extra magical when the people you love get to meet your baby.

Color photo of elderly grandparent holding infant cheek to cheek.
Color photo of grandma, mom, and new baby standing in front of a window, smiling down at the baby.
Cara Kassees via @bellababyphotos
Black and white photo of new mom holding baby while two sisters stand next to her and adoring new grandma takes a photo with her phone.
Color photo of grandparents sitting on bench in hospital meeting newborn.
Black and white photo of grandparents meeting new baby in the hospital while dad looks on.

Going Home and Leaving the Hospital

Be sure to snap a few pics on your way out. Going home outfits, packed up in your car seat, walking down the hall, getting loaded into the car, etc. are all fun pictures to take.

Color photo of newborn strapped into carseat with mom's hand holding on.
Color photo from above of newborn laying on blankets with pink bow and sign that reads: hello world.
Black and white photo of parent carrying infant in bucket carseat through hospital halls.

Are there any other Fresh 48 shots I missed?

What would you add? Also, be sure to tag me @pregnantchicken on Instagram with your photos. Just warn me if you're going to make me cry.

Our next reco: The Ultimate Hospital Bag Packing Checklist

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