How to Prepare for your Newborn Session

As a mom of three, I know there are so many unknowns when you have a baby. The last thing I want you to feel during our newborn session is overwhelmed and underprepared. Below you’ll learn more about how to best prepare for your newborn session with me. You can follow it completely so you know exactly what to do and how to prepare–or don’t! If you just don’t have time, know that you can be completely unprepared and I’ll still hold your hand through the process. The most important tip I have is not to stress over these photos. I want it to be a time for you to soak up every inch of your precious little one without pressure.

Newborns are best photographed when they are blissfully unaware they are being photographed (aka, sound asleep!) Therefore, most of the notes you’ll see in this guide are to help make your new baby as full, warm and comfortable as possible, to set the tone for deep, sweet newborn sleep! Even though we will be capturing lifestyle images in your home, you will be much happier with the results if your baby is not restless & squirming in the photos. Realistically, your precious new baby will dictate just how the session will go, so these are simply just guidelines. We will roll right along with him/her to make it a successful session no matter what.

The session should last approx. 60-90 minutes. This allows plenty of time for room transitions, feeding, and soothing, so no need to worry if the baby needs to eat or gets fussy.

What you really need to know…

First & foremost, please try not to stress out over your photography session. As a mom, I understand how important these photos are to you, and how you want everything to go well. But the calmer you are, the more at ease your baby will be be. I promise. Your baby and other family members will pick up on your nervous energy, so while I want you to properly prepare for our session, it’s important to not let it drive you crazy.

Getting Your Home Ready

When I arrive, I’ll likely completely open the curtains and/or blinds in the rooms in which you may want to photograph in and turn off any lights. Generally, this is the nursery, master bedroom, and a living area. Big brother/sister rooms are also a possibility. This will help me assess which rooms we’ll be shooting in upon my arrival. If you’re worried your house isn’t big or fancy enough, do NOT stress, I’ve done an entire newborn session by a bare bay window and the photos were gorgeous. Of course elevated spaces provide for great background, but it’s not essential to getting beautiful photos.

If you can de-clutter these spaces as much as possible. Floors, beds, tabletops, nightstands, etc. should be clear of books, coffee mugs, breast pump parts, etc. There is 0 judgement if you have to throw it all in a closet. Less is more! But don’t worry, if you don’t have time (or space) for this, I’ll likely come and move things around as we go. No need to go overboard cleaning the rooms (you just had a baby, your home should be the last thing you are worrying about).

If you would like any shots of your baby with his/her skin exposed, then I recommend heating your home a little warmer than usual (close to 80, if you can handle it!) because naked newborn babies do not like to be cold. You will likely feel uncomfortable, however, because your hormones are still unbalanced. Drink plenty of water.

Getting Your Baby Ready

We want baby to be “milk drunk” if possible, which is best achieved if they are fully fed before the session starts. I know sometimes parents like to stick to a feeding schedule early on, but for this one day, you’ll want to concentrate on feeding baby on demand vs. following a schedule. We can stop and top baby off during the session if they seem restless.

Try to keep your baby alert for a 1-2 hour period in the morning, just before our session. This will hopefully make them extra sleepy when I arrive. Newborn babies like to sleep a lot, so just do your best and don’t worry if they begin to snooze.

Bathe your baby as you normally would (the night before is fine), and apply lotion as needed for dry skin. Because I do lifestyle photography, I smooth babies skin during editing and lesson (but not completely eliminate) baby’s imperfections.

The day of the session, I recommend putting baby in a plain white onsie and a clean diaper while they are awake. This way we can swaddle in different blankets and accessories if they fall asleep without waking them up. Many parents will purchase adorable clothes for baby to wear during the photos–please keep in mind that if we are doing the session in the first few days, the baby will still be tiny and many outfits may be too large.

What to Wear

Typically, I suggest that parents keep your outfits very simple. Neutral tones– tans, whites, creams, grays, or pastel blues or pinks are best. Leggings, jeans or khakis work well, but some women wear dresses if tight clothing makes them uncomfortable after birth. I always tell mom, pick out your outfit first, then coordinate your partner with it. If you can sneak out for a blowout, I know my past clients have felt more confident. I also recommend wearing a little more make-up than usual. We want you to feel your best. Shoes are not required for in home sessions.

Same goes for siblings. No contrasting colors or busy patterns. Some parents like photos where their older children (usually boys) have no shirts on, which is perfectly fine. Some like them to wear a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” shirt, which is also fine for one or two photos, but I would recommend another outfit as well. I don’t suggest clothing with other large prints or logos as those can be very distracting.

** That being said– look around your home and think about where these photos will be displayed. If your home is filled with bright, bold colors, and that’s what you usually wear as well, then you do you. **

Here is a link to the Pinterest board I put together for In-Home Newborn Sessions. These photos accurately represent what it is I try to achieve during my sessions and also have some inspiration about what to wear.

During the Session

If you have older children who will be in some but not all of the photographs, it’s nice to have a helper who can keep him/her/them occupied when we are doing mom, dad & baby shots, especially if they are young. Treats or rewards can sometimes help, too.

If you have a pet you’d like to include, that’s more than okay. Depending on your pets behavior, it’s important to have realistic expectation that the photo that you picture in your mind might look different then what we actually capture.

I always encourage clients to look at my past work for ideas, but please know, no two sessions are the same. Your photos will look completely different than other clients because they are of YOU and although you may not feel it right after giving birth, YOU are perfect…and years from now, your baby is going to be so grateful to have images of his/her first few days.

How to Prepare for your Newborn Session

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