Newborn Macro Photography: Lips

Capturing those luscious, pouty lips is one of the most popular choices in newborn macro photography.

It’s also one of the most challenging!

The focal depth for a macro photograph is extremely shallow – only a very small portion of your photo will be in focus, and the rest will blur in that yummy creaminess we love so much.

Whereas little fingers or toes are usually captured on the same focal plane, and are thus all in focus, with lips you are often taking the shot at an angle. This means that to get enough of the lips in focus to be impactful, you will have to close down your aperture significantly.

And with a small aperture (easily f8 or more!) and a shutter speed that needs to be fast to avoid camera shake, you may find yourself challenged to find enough light to expose correctly. It will require experimentation if you’re using studio lighting, and careful subject placement (and a raised ISO) if you’re using natural light.

Another thing to look out for is placing your lighting so baby’s lips shows the light reflection. Having that shiny spot on lips work much the same as catch lights do in eyes – it gives lips some depth and dimension.

Different angles will produce images with a different feel. Try them all and see which you (and your client!) prefer.

90 Degrees

This is the perfect angle to capture the pouty shape of newborn lips, but also the hardest to get enough of the lips in focus.

newborn macro photography of lips
Amanda Leatherberry Photography
macro photo of newborn lips
Jenolyn Christensen Photography

45 Degrees

This angle still gets you lots of detail, but is a lot more forgiving in terms of depth of field.

macro photography of baby lips
Trisha Wooding Photography
close-up photo of newborn lips
Fotografie & MakeUp Wanzki

Straight on

At this angle, most of the lips should be in focus, and you will often capture a sweet little nose and eyes too as they will be on the same focal plane.

close-up of baby's face
All Mine Photography


A little yawn, or some spit bubbles, or milk-chapped lips are all fleeting moments of newborn life, so if you see it, be sure to capture those for parents.

newborn baby yawning
Allie Blaylock Photography
baby lips blowing spit bubbles
Allie Blaylock Photography

Newborn macro photography requires a skill set above and beyond regular newborn photography skills, so grab your macro lens, and practice, practice, practice! You definitely need to get a feel for it first, so grab those flowers, insects, leaves, toys, etc. around your home, and see what amazing things your macro lens can do!

And for some in-depth instruction on all things newborn photography, dive into the Newborn Essentials Masterclass – where you will learn all the basics to get your newborn photography business up and running.

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  1. Kleiner Sternli Fotografie on March 8, 2021 at 4:26 am

    Love those! As sweet as those photos are, I never had a client who would order those lips macro photos. I find it so weird.

    • Erin on March 8, 2021 at 6:51 am

      We love the little details, hmm that is weird!

  2. Valentina on October 21, 2022 at 4:55 am

    Macro shots are my favourites and I think my clients too!

    • Erin on October 21, 2022 at 5:50 am

      They are just so precious!

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