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Choosing the right colors for a newborn photo session

Updated: Feb 24

  • Updated: February, 2024, by Layne Fernandes.

The beautiful world of colors might seem a non brainer excitement at first, but after spending hours online, there aren’t many different information guiding new moms on how to pick the best colors for her baby’s first professional camera experience.

As a parent, choosing the right color combination for your newborn first photoshoot can be an overwhelming decision, especially because many colors can appear slightly different in a post processed portrait compared to how they look in person. Another factor to consider is the many times new parents tend to, primarily, focus on baby’s undertone skin and forget, or simply does not know how to bring together the concepts of reconciling tones, shades, and undertones of the baby for the set to be used.

Your photographer can bring helpful input regarding color choices for parents and siblings’ outfits, future wall art that will match and complement the home’s color scheme, studio set and even mom’s makeup, since many concealers will bring yellow undertones. (This can easily be another blog topic by itself!)

The color wheel is a great non-brainer tool for playing with colors and composing the most beautiful productions for your newborn session but I understand it still can be confusing or overwhelming for many people. So, let's try a different approach.

Let’s break down this idea into Skin Tones and Shades for a better understanding of colors. I have it all simplified to you!

Newborn Photography by Layne Fernandes. All rights reserved to La Dolce Vita Photography by Layne Fernandes.

Newborn Skin Tones and Shades

A simple and easy rule to remember is:

Skin Tone refers to undertones on the baby’s delicate skin. The undertones can be Cool or Warm.

Skin shades are associated to the spectrum of colors, transitioning from light to dark skin.

Does my baby have cool or warm skin tone?

Finding out if the baby has a cool or warm tone on the skin can be very helpful for the perfect color selection for your newborn photo session. My tip is that parents choose a location of indirect diffused light of their home, soft for baby’s eyes, and look at the inside part of baby’s arm.

Whenever the vein appears as being “green”, the baby is linked to warm tones. Otherwise, when the baby presents veins appearing as “blue” they are in the spectrum of cool tones. At last, but not least, when in doubt, because you notice a mix between blue and green on the baby’s vein, no worries, your baby is going to be paired with Neutral undertones, meaning the versatility of being to go either way with either warm or neutral colors for the photo session.

Best Colors to match my Newborn Skin Tonality

a. Warm Tone Skin

Babies who showed green veins are under the spectrum of Warm Tones. For these babies, the best colors that highlight their beauty are:

Red, golden yellow, coral, orange, turquoise, amber, orchid/magenta shades, and moss/forest tones.

b. Cool Tone Skin

Babies who showed blue veins are under the array of Cool Primary tones:

Soft pink and bright rose, ruby, deep purple, lavender, lilac, bright and royal blue, emeralds, sapphire, green amethyst.

c. Neutral Tone Skin

Babies who presented Blue Greenish veins are considered Neutral, in the spectrum of colors. They look great wearing warm or neutral colors for their photo session, and their color palette is tied to:

Warm Neutrals: Creamy white, latte, brown chocolate, and taupe.

Cool Neutrals: Bright whites, navy blue, and all shades of gray.

Finding out the Skin Shade of your newborn baby

You have just learned how to find out what is the right Tone of your baby’s skin. It’s it is vert east to recognize the right shade for your baby’s skin tone.

The least complicated way to do this is think of the transition of light to dark:

Light - Medium - Dark Skin Shade

a. Babies with LIGHT SKIN Shade on the COOL Tone side:

Babies with pale skin are normally tied to cool undertones of blue or green veins. Another feature on these babies is their tendency to present light eyeshades and hair colors, light brown or blonde.

The best colors for babies in this spectrum are regular pink, balsam green, burgundy, blue and purple. When parents prefer the array of pastels, the best recommendations are tied to a beautiful season of the year: Springtime! The pastel family colors will look amazing on those babies! You won’t go wrong if you think about Easter and Fresh Spring colors for you Light Cool Skin Shade baby!

b. Babies with LIGHT SKIN Shade on the WARM Tone side:

When a light pale skin and green veins are noticed on your baby, their best color palette goes to Warm Skin Tones and the best color recommendations to highlight Warm Babies, are: Off-white cream, French White, gray, shades of brown.

Dark jewels colors can look great on everyday outfits and details, but can be challenging for the photographer to blend this color cast choice in contrast to baby’s skin tone.

a. Babies with MEDIUM SKIN on the WARM Tone side:

Here are some tips on these, aka “olive skin tones” and how to identify a Medium Warm skin tone baby:

1. Ethnicity: Latino, Asian, Mediterranean, or Dark mix.

2. Hair: black or brown, sometimes: blonde or dark shades of red.

The recommended color palette for this delightful photo session is bold and primary colors that are a touch darker or lighter than the actual baby’s skin tone, such as lavender and plum, mustard and brown, lavender and purple, cranberry red, forest green and mint, navy and powder blue. One color brings interest to another.

b. Babies with MEDIUM SKIN on the COOL Tone side:

If a baby’s skin is in the medium shade and his veins are blue, then he is in the Medium Cool tone group. This photo-session will look amazing when going with bright and bold colors or accent colors. In this instance, the only colors to avoid when planning your photo session are yellow and medium green, because they are both too similar to the undertones found on this skin type.

Babies with DARK SKIN Skin Shade and COOL Tone:

The characteristics of babies with dark skin tones are narrowed down to African or Indian Ethnicity. They have black or dark brown eyes and look stunning in various shades of: deep reds, deep purple eggplant, darker yellows, mustard and oranges.

Whenever moms of Dark Cool Babies prefer to be on the neutral soft side of colors, my suggestions are tied to grey, khaki, light blue, light pink, gold and mustard.

Colors, not so much recommended for Dark Skin Cool Shade babies are dark brown, black, light green and blue.

Babies with DARK SKIN Shade and WARM Tone:

Opting for lighter hues will highlight your Dark Skin Warm baby. The to go palette for babies in this group is very neutral, based on soft colors such as baby pink, baby blue, dusty antique rose, soft mustard, soft burgundy, and beige. When that pop of energy is requested, a jewel tone detail comes handy and will accentuate the dark warm skin of your baby.

Sometimes what looks great on the naked eyes may not be as appealing on the camera’s eyes, so bright electric colors of yellows, greens, oranges, and others, won’t reflect as good on the camera’s eyes, so they are not recommended during photo sessions.

Newborn Photography by Layne Fernandes. All rights reserved to La Dolce Vita Photography by Layne Fernandes.

Are you ready to pair your newborn skin tone and shade?

I know all of this seem to be complicated: colors, tones, undertones, shades, cool, warm… Let’s break it down, step by step. Have paper and pen handy to start sketching notes that will make more sense when put together and you will feel more prepared to discuss with your photographer.

1. First, look at the skin shade of your baby. Write it down.

2. Determine the baby’s undertone. Write it down.

Match the colors that best fit the above lists of information. Voila!

There you go, now you can envision a perfect set of colors for the newborn photoshoot that will bring countless smiles and a happy heart for mom, and a photographer who will be able to post process the images with confidence and the satisfaction for having the job done successfully at the end of the day!

Hopefully this list will help every mom make the decision easier, consequently helping the photographer pick the best setups and textiles matches.

Now, after learning about Skin Shades and Tones, I can share one of my big secrets!

When in doubt, universally flattering colors include emerald, stone, teal, mellow mild pink and true reds that can be used tying the transition of one color to another!

Let this task with me and I will take care of the rest for you!

Thinking about Booking your Maternity and Newborn Sessions?
Maternity Photography Sessions

Congratulations for being on this journey and soon to experience the most wonderful feeling of having your newborn baby in your arms, for the very first time. Having photographs taken to remember this amazing journey is something very special to consider.

My maternity sessions are offered in two ways:

1. Three sessions: one milestone celebration, storytelling every trimester of your story. “This is what I did when expected my son.”

2. One single session: if your option is only one session, my best recommendation is between weeks 32 ~37, when you have reached a beautiful sized bump and you are still feeling mostly comfortable for posing. My posing system is personalized in a way that respects your anatomy for a gentle experience!

The safe link below will lead your to my website. Fill out the inquiry form and I will contact you with maternity information and samples of my work. I love to meet new people and answer question. Do not hesitate to contact me!

Newborn Photography Sessions

Newborn Sessions are preferably scheduled in advance. I promise to keep my agenda flexible to accommodate your baby in the very first days of a grand entrance into this world!

My newborn sessions take place within the first 10 ~ 12 days, when they are reaching the deepest sleep and their bodies are still as flexible as if they were in the womb and not experiencing cramps, due to the natural adaptation to the exterior environment.

Do not panic if you haven’t booked a newborn session in advance! I also offer family lifestyle sessions for siblings and parents.

Click on the safe link to visit my gallery and contact me to schedule your newborn studio session:

Newborn Photography by Layne Fernandes. All rights reserved to La Dolce Vita Photography by Layne Fernandes.

Aurora, CO 80016 | 720.532.3111


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