Family snuggling with newborn in living room during lifestyle newborn session

Newborn

How to Prepare for Newborn Photos at Home

May 15, 2022

Newborn photos at home are truly the best! 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 lifestyle session is super relaxed and flexible and truly allows you and your family to be yourselves while also documenting this major moment in your life.

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 in-home newborn photos is one of the best things you can do for your family.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to ensure your newborn session goes smoothly.

Booking your newborn photos

Inquiring about a newborn session before your baby arrives is the best way to guarantee you’ll have a spot on my calendar when they arrive. I recommend booking your newborn photos around 8 months pregnant. You can choose your due date as a holding date and then we can schedule the exact session day and time within the first couple weeks of the baby’s life.

I like to start my newborn sessions between 9 and 10 in the morning to take advantage of that beautiful morning light. When siblings 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. 

What to expect during your session

Expect to snuggle! A LOT. As a lifestyle photographer, my main focus during newborn photos is to document your family connecting and naturally interacting with one another. I love 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 direction so you know what to do.

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.

Mom and dad snuggling newborn daughter

Worried about uncooperative older siblings? Embrace it! It’s all part of the in-home session charm. We can try to include them, but I also love capturing the beautiful chaos that comes with bringing a new baby home. No need to apologize if the kids are being kids—I’ll roll with it!

And guess what? This won’t be an all-day affair! In-home newborn photos usually last 60-90 minutes, depending on the baby’s mood. Time is precious, especially in those first weeks, so I aim to be quick and efficient and get in and out so you can get back to your regularly scheduled life.

Big sister in crib while mom and dad hold baby
Little bot looking sad during newborn photos

Getting your home ready

Let’s face it, the newborn season is a bit messy. Dishes pile up, laundry takes on a life of its own, and burpcloths become house decor. I get it, I’ve been there…twice! Your house doesn’t need to be spotless; it doesn’t need to be Instagrammable; 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.

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 times, we end up in the nursery, master bedroom, or living room.

And no need to go on a cleaning spree, but it’s helpful to remove any unnecessary clutter like phone chargers and books on nightstands, or water cups and magazines on the coffee table.

Mom and dad holding baby during newborn photo session

What to wear for newborn photos

Ah, the age-old question. The short answer: it’s up to you. If you’re completely lost: neutrals and earth tones are usually safe bets. Ultimately, you should choose what makes you feel comfy and confident. Pro tip: avoid dressing everyone in matching outfits; go for complementary instead.

Moms: think flowy, comfortable and postpartum-friendly. A roomy dress, a cozy sweater, or your favorite top with jeans or leggings—casual vibes all the way. Dads can rock a basic t-shirt, sweater, henley, or a laid-back button-down with jeans or neutral-colored chinos. Finally, ditch the socks and shoes! I love the casual look of the whole family barefoot. 

For the baby, a solid white or neutral onesie works wonders. I love these wrap over ones from H&M. If you want to pull out a few different outfits for the baby, feel free! I typically also use a swaddle or blanket for a few photos throughout your session. 

Final tips for a smooth newborn photo session

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 the baby sleepy and snuggly throughout the session. 

Feeding the baby right before I arrive is key. A nice full tummy = a sleepy baby, which makes for a smoother session. If you would like any feeding or nursing pictures, hold off feeding until I get there and we can get those photos done first! 

And if things don’t go as planned, don’t stress. Newborns can be unpredictable, and I’m ready for it!

At some point in our session, I will do some solo baby moments on the bed or floor near a window. I like to keep these natural—all we 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. 

Dog sticking tongue through bars of crib

Hey there and thank you for stopping by! I’m Mackenzie, owner of Mackenzie Romagni Photography, a family, birth, and newborn photographer serving growing families in Cleveland & Northeast Ohio. I hope you found my “In-Home Newborn Photos: 5 Ways to Prepare” blog post helpful. 

Interested in learning more about booking a family, birth, or newborn session with me? Contact me here to connect! Not quite ready yet? No problem! Follow me on Instagram or join my email list here to stay in the know.


Mackenzie Romagni is an award-winning family, birth, and newborn photographer in Cleveland. She offers documentary birth and natural and relaxed lifestyle newborn and family photography.

Mackenzie is based in Cleveland and serves all of Northeast Ohio, including the following counties: Lorain, Medina Summit, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake & beyond.

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I'm Mackenzie. My Philosophy?

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As a parent, I know how quickly our babies grow up; all the time in the world still doesn't feel like enough, and every moment counts. While I haven't yet figured out how to keep those babies small, I do know that a photograph does a pretty good job in the meantime.

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