Preparing for Your In-Home Newborn Session

May 15, 2022

Lifestyle newborn sessions are my favorite way to document those first sweet, intimate weeks with your new little love. And the best part? You don’t even have to leave your home.

Sisters admiring their new sister during lifestyle newborn session

Whether you’ve just brought your newborn home and are reading this through the bleary eyes of sleep-deprivation, or you’re excitedly anticipating the arrival of a tiny new family member — congratulations! Carving out time to document this transition with a lifestyle newborn session is one of the best things you can do for your growing family.

Lifestyle sessions are so fun. You get to showcase your newest addition in the comfort of your own home, along with siblings, pets and sometimes even grandparents! This type of session is super relaxed, flexible and really allows you and your family to be yourselves while also documenting this momentous time of your life.

Brother admiring baby sister during lifestyle newborn session

Booking Your Lifestyle Newborn Session

Inquiring about a newborn session before baby comes is the best way to guarantee you’ll have a spot on my calendar when they actually arrive. I recommend moms book their sessions around 8 months pregnant, and then we can schedule the exact session day and time within the first month of baby’s life. If you want ultra snuggly, sleepy photos of your newborn, scheduling a session within the first 10 days is key. If you want pictures of your baby more alert and interactive, you can push your session back a little bit to when baby is around 3-4 weeks. It’s important to note that sometimes an older baby may not be as cooperative for pictures, but we can make it work!

The best time of day for in-home lifestyle sessions is during daylight hours. I like to start my newborn sessions between 9 and 10 in the morning. When siblings and or additional family members are added into the mix, that time may not always work. If we run into this dilemma, I will do my best to accommodate a time that works for your family.

Closeup of newborn baby sleeping in crib during in-home newborn session

What to Expect During Your Session

Expect to snuggle! A LOT. All over the house. As a lifestyle photographer, I want to document your family connecting and naturally interacting with one another. I focus heavily on candid images of your life at home with a new baby, but don’t worry if you haven’t done this before — I’ll give you some direction and light posing so you know what to do. I won’t be wrapping your baby into a little burrito, photoshopping them into a little bunny or delicately posing them in a basket. Yes, it’s super cute, but it’s not my thing.

Swaddled baby boy on parents' lap during an in-home newborn session

Be prepared to be in most of the shots. I know that in your postpartum haze you’re probably not feeling like a supermodel, but motherhood is beautiful and you deserve to have these photos of you and your family to look back on. I promise you will regret not being in the photos. And I promise you’ll be beautiful.

Mom snuggling newborn daughter during an in-home newborn session
Mom holding newborn daughter in lap during in-home newborn session

Worried about older siblings being difficult to handle or running around like mad? Don’t. This is all part of a lifestyle session in your home. We can do our best to wrangle them into the photos, but I also think it’s important to capture the beautiful chaos that is bringing a new baby home. Don’t ever feel like you need to apologize when your kids are being kids or not cooperating. I’ll make it work!

Four brothers snuggling their newborn sisters

Wondering if this is going to be an hours long affair? I’m happy to say it won’t! In-home newborn sessions typically last 60-90 minutes, depending on baby’s mood that morning. I know how precious time is the first few weeks of baby’s life, so I try to be as quick and efficient as possible to get all the shots you want in a short amount of time.

Getting Your Home Ready

The newborn season is messy. Dishes pile up, laundry goes unfolded, burp clothes find their way to every corner of your house. (I get it, I’ve been there!) Your house doesn’t need to be spotless, it doesn’t need to be Instagram-able, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to have a few rooms with a window and some natural light. Come as you are, I will make it work.

Dad looking at newborn son in nursery during and in-home newborn session

When I arrive, I’ll ask for a quick tour so I can assess the best rooms to photograph in. If you have any specific areas of your home that you would or would not like to use, just let me know! Most of the time we end up in the nursery, master bedroom or living room. If the light is great in several rooms, we’ll use each to capture a few sweet moments.

Mom, dad, son and newborn sitting on couch during an in-home newborn session

When shooting in your home, don’t feel like you need to go on a cleaning spree. However, it’s helpful to remove any unnecessary clutter like phone chargers and books on nightstands, or water cups and magazines on the coffee table.

What to Wear for Your Lifestyle Newborn Session

I hear this question a lot. Long story short: this is completely up to you. If you have no idea where to start, I always recommend neutrals, whites/creams and earth tones as these shades typically compliment most home decor and style. Neutrals not your thing? That’s ok! Ultimately, I want you to choose clothing that makes you feel comfortable, confident and relaxed. Usually it works best for mom to choose her outfit first and build everyone else’s outfits around that. One thing that I ask: resist the urge to put everyone in similar outfits! Think complementary, not matching.

Mom holding newborn daughter on the front porch

Moms: think flowy, comfortable and postpartum-friendly. A roomy dress, comfy sweater or top and jeans or leggings work beautifully for a casual, homey vibe. If you feel most comfortable in jeans, I recommend you are the only one wearing them so that family doesn’t feel too matchy-matchy. It’s also never a bad idea to have a backup outfit on hand because, as you probably know, accidents are bound to happen with a newborn.

If you’re interested in capturing some more intimate, skin-to-skin moments with your baby, I recommend having a black tank or nursing bra on hand. Those precious moments are such a special keepsake of you and your baby’s bond, however, it is completely up to you and what you’re comfortable with!

Dads look great in a basic t-shirt, sweater, henley or easy button-down. For pants, look for brown, green, or tan jeans, khakis or linen pants for a stylish alternatives to blue jeans. If dad really wants to wear blue jeans, please make sure he is the only one wearing blue jeans.

Newborn baby on bed during in-home newborn session

I like to start baby in a solid white or neutral onesie (I love these kimono-style ones from H&M) or just in a diaper. Diaper covers or bloomers are super cute if the original diaper pattern is less than ideal. If you want to pull out a few different outfits for baby, feel free! We will also use a swaddle or blanket for a few photos throughout our session, so please have that on hand, too.

A few more things I like to note about wardrobe: Ditch the socks and shoes! I love the casual look of the whole family barefoot. And Please avoid hats or caps, and anything with graphics, logos and distracting colors/patterns.

Getting Baby Ready for Their Close-Up

First things first: turn up the heat (or turn down the AC). Babies are much happier in those cute diaper-only pictures when the environment is a little warmer. A warmer house also helps keep baby sleepy and snuggly throughout the session.

Feeding baby right before I arrive is key. A nice full tummy = a sleep baby, which makes for a smoother session. If you would like any feeding or nursing pictures, hold off feeding babe until I get there and we can get those photos done first! If possible, try to keep baby from napping too soon before our shoot to encourage sleep during the session as well.

Let’s be real, things don’t always go as planned with newborns, so don’t stress out if baby isn’t hungry before the session, doesn’t want to sleep, needs an outfit change or a feeding break. I’m flexible and allot extra time for these instances.

At some point in our session, I will do some solo baby moments on the bed or floor near a window. I do a small set up with a boppy or two pillows under a larger blanket or solid colored sheet to prop baby up for a few simple, timeless shots. I like to keep these natural — all we really need is a comfy blanket and a swaddle. If there are any favorite gifts or handmade heirlooms you’d like to include like blankets or stuffed animals, let me know so we can find a creative way to incorporate them.

Dad holding baby's toes during an in-home newborn session

Ready to learn more or book your newborn session? Contact me here to get the ball rolling! In the meantime, you can check out some more newborn examples here. I can’t wait to work with you!

Ready to make some photographs you can't stop looking at?

I want you to have family portraits that you LOVE. No forced smiles, no corny poses, no intricately swaddled babies in baskets — just you and your family as you are. I promise to make it as easy, laidback and authentic as possible, and hopefully a little fun, too. I know, sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? And it's just a click away.

let's work together