Preparing for your newborn session
Hey hey! I'm so thrilled to have you and your sweet babe in front of my lens!
I know it can be nerve-wracking to be in front of the camera, especially after the hectic-ness of bringing a new baby into the world. I'll be guiding you the whole time so it’s as easy and comfortable as possible, and we’re going to really take our time so nothing feels rushed. I'll be prepping my bag with lenses, batteries, and memory cards - your “homework” is to check out the info below! Read through these tips and take some time several days before your session to prep. We’ll both be so glad you did!
As you read through this, it may seem like I’m giving you lots of rules and things not to do. I promise my intention is definitely not to be restricting. I want you to feel like yourself, for sure, especially since we’ll be in your own home. That said, after years of doing lots of these types of sessions, I’ve been able to narrow down what really makes for the best photos and what doesn’t. It’s my hope that you were drawn to my work because of a certain style - following these tips just helps ensure that you’ll get the same style & look from your photos that’s evident in the work of mine you’ve already seen!
All of the photos in this guide are examples of what DOES work well. Hopefully they give you some ideas and inspiration! Always, always text me if you’re unsure on outfits or anything else! We’ll make sure you look and feel amazing.
THE PORTRAIT GUIDE
Styles come and go, but certain types of clothes just look timeless, photograph better and enhance the overall look of your photos. If you're having trouble deciding what to wear, text me! I'm happy to send suggestions and give honest feedback on outfit ideas.
Since we’re just hanging out and soaking up sweet moments at home, you don’t need a super structured look. Dads, opt for an untucked button-down, a soft sweater in a pale color, or a nicer light-colored solid t-shirt or polo, with jeans or chinos. Mamas, texture is key. Soft sweaters, flowy solid-colored tunics, adding layers with a long, soft cardigan over stretchy skinny jeans … comfy casual. And both of you can just be barefoot (or have dad wear dark socks), but moms, know that your toes will probably show at some point!
CLOTHING Do's and don'ts for mom + dad
DO stick to soft, neutral colors as the base for your outfits. Grayish blue, blush pink, taupe, khaki, light gray, cream, olive green, and tan - earthy tones - are all perfect choices when it comes to the ideal color palette. Soft and heathery colors are the name of the game here and truly work best for my style of shooting & editing. It’s best if everyone avoids harsh colors like red, maroon, and black (if you do want to do a dark color, go for navy instead).
DO go for things with texture, especially in colder months. Corduroy, suede, wool, chunky knits, velvet, lace - those are all great! Softness is key.
DO iron or steam everything beforehand. It's hard to edit out wrinkles!
DO leave the arm party behind - hair ties, Apple Watches, Fitbits, any other wrist technology...
DON'T wear "busy" clothing. No stripes, plaids, or busy patterns - they’re okay for certain types of photos, but for these, we want the focus to be on baby, so light solid colors or subtle florals are best.
DON'T have visible logos. The tiny logos on the chest pocket of guys' button-downs and polos are fine, but nothing with text or noticeable logos/emblems.
DON'T wear golf shirts. Nothing against golfers, but golf shirts just do not photograph well - 99% of the time in photos, they're unflattering on even the fittest of guys. Plus, polyester has a sheen to it that looks out of place next to other materials. A cotton polo, knit-material sweater or button-down will look much better.
WHAT baby should wear
Dressing your little one is the easiest part! Here’s what to prep for baby:
2 blankets for swaddling. Go for pale solid colors or a soft, simple pattern.
2 light solid-colored or simple-patterned onesies (one as a backup in case of spit up or diaper emergencies)
2 headbands/bows/hat for girls, 1 hat for boys (optional)
1 sentimental/heirloom outfit (optional)
To help keep baby calm, we’ll try to stick to 3 swaddles/outfits total.
Prepping your home
I try to schedule newborn sessions based on when the light is best in your home. It varies for everyone depending on which direction your house faces and how much window light you have, but most homes are brightest from about 10am to 1pm. We’ll want to turn off all lamps and overhead lights and open the blinds all the way, only using natural light from the windows to make sure we get the best skin tones and no harsh shadows in our photos.
Babies require a lot of stuff! The key for in-home photo sessions is to de-clutter (temporarily) as much as possible. I’m happy to help with this when I arrive, if you don’t mind! I typically move things out of the nursery like diaper genies, mesh crib bumpers, bouncy seats, monitors/noise machines, and changing table clutter. If your baby’s room has a distinct theme or color scheme and something really doesn’t go, it’s best to move it for the time being so it’s not distracting in photos.
If the nursery just doesn’t get a whole lot of light, we can also use another room in the house - the master, a guest room, or even the living room! Whichever’s the brightest. Just keep the same de-cluttering tips in mind. We want the backdrop to be as simple as possible to keep the focus on baby.
I recommend turning up the temperature inside the house a few degrees right before your session. This will help keep baby more comfortable and calm during the session and during outfit/swaddle changes.
Little things: Haircut for dad, nail touch-ups for mom - but skip the bright mani - they can be distracting in photos! Pale pink nails never fail. If you prefer a contrast, go for a dark taupe shade! Your rings will show quite a bit, so give them a good cleaning if they’re looking dull.
Hair & makeup: Test your makeup in natural light (by a window) and go a tad bit heavier than normal, but nothing drastic. Opt for a light shade of lipstick or plain chapstick in lieu of gloss, and keep some powder handy for shine touch-ups. And be sure to lather up with lotion before your session!
Taking our time: If we have to take breaks, it's okay! Crying, feeding, diaper changes - they're all to be expected, so no worries. Also, be prepared just in case baby's bodily fluids mess up one of your outfits. I'd have a backup ready to go!
The Takeaways: Soft colors. Soft textures. De-clutter as much as you can. Take a deep breath and soak it all in!