Congratulations! All your hard work during pregnancy, labor, and delivery has paid off and you are now home with the newest love of your life! As your dedicated, Central Maryland Newborn Photographer, I think your in home newborn photo session is so important because it commemorates not only the arrival of the newest member of your family, but also documents an important step for you along the path of parenthood.
Included here are some steps that will help you feel prepared for your photo session, because as a mom, I also know how chaotic and overwhelming the transition can be and utilizing these simple tips will help set you up for a relaxing and enjoyable in home newborn photo session.
1) Prepare your outfits
You can find more info on how to choose outfits in my style guide, here. While planning cohesive outfits for your session can elevate the overall look, my number one priority for everyone is comfort. How comfortable your family’s clothing is will influence how they feel; which will then become evident on camera. The second consideration for in home newborn photo sessions is to prioritize palettes with light colored/neutral solids. Prints, like florals, work well too; we just, again, want the focus to be on the connection between you and your newborn. Check for stains, give everything a quick spritz of wrinkle release first thing, and you’ll be ready to go. It also helps to have backups for everyone on hand; newborns are messy!
2) Prepare your home
Let me reassure you: a perfectly clean home is not my expectation. Nor is it realistic. While we want to document images that are free of distraction and focus on the connection between you and your newborn, we also want it to be authentic. And the truth is, homes are meant to look like people live there. That point made, I recommend simply decluttering to free the space of anything that does not belong. I swear by laundry baskets for tossing in and getting rid of clutter, fast! Get all those stray items in (burp rags, water bottles, wipes, etc.); and just put it in the closet until our session is over.
3) Prepare your family
The arrival of a new baby is a huge transition for everyone; including older siblings. I recommend taking opportunities to casually let your other child(ren) know that I will be coming to take some pictures of them with their new sibling. Help the older sibling feel included in the process; this might look like allowing your child to choose their outfit for the session (from one of two, parent-approved options). The day of, provide them with a snack before hand, and have a special activity planned for afterwards (new coloring book, favorite movie, etc.) This will keep them motivated and engaged at the beginning so I can get some sibling and whole family shots; then they can go unwind while we focus just on baby.
4) Prepare the baby
In home newborn photo sessions are all about capturing baby in their environment; so I try to keep things baby-led, and go with their flow. This is why I allow up to two hours for my newborn sessions so we can relax and proceed according to baby’s schedule. If they’re ready, feed baby about 20 minutes before I arrive; and change them into a simple, white onesie. Have a swaddle on hand, other than that, no additional props are needed. If there is a special outfit or accessory, like a handmade lovey from grandma, I’m happy to incorporate it in, just let me know. Otherwise, no additional props are needed.
5) Prepare yourself
Finally, and most importantly is to take time to prepare yourself for this shoot. Your body and mind have just been through an incredible change. I’ve been there, too…you’re so focused on this wonderful new person, that prioritizing your needs are not high on your to-do list. But, newborn photos are also about celebrating the person you are becoming; and I think it’s important to pick something to wear that helps you feel relaxed and radiant. I lived in flowy, maxi dresses pre- and post-birthing twins…they check off so many boxes; they’re a simple, one-piece, comfortable outfit that photographs well. Give yourself time to get ready beforehand; ask someone (your partner, trusted family member or friend) to take on the responsibility of getting everyone else ready. Taking the time and space to focus on your needs and to relax means you will carry that feeling of calmness into your session; and allow me to capture you and your family together; present, connected and enjoying each other’s company.
TL;DR…Tips for a Carefree in Home Newborn Photo Session:
1) Outfits: Comfortable, coordinated outfits in neutral colors. Clean and spritz with wrinkle release prior to the session.
2) Home: De-clutter: Throw anything that doesn’t belong in a laundry basket, and hide it in a closet or spare room until the session is done.
3) Family: Inform siblings of the session and include them in the planning process. Feed them right before the session and have a special activity planned for after they are done.
4) Baby: Feed them if they’re ready right before the session, and change them into a white onesie. Sessions are baby-led and there is plenty of time available for them to set the pace.
5) You: Celebrate yourself by choosing an outfit you feel great in, and allow plenty of time and space so you can get ready and feel your best.
Last of all, once your session is underway, keep calm, and let the little things go. Your only job during our session is to love on your family. Let me as your experienced Central Maryland Newborn Photographer, focus on managing the flow (as a former pre-k teacher and twin mom I’ve seen it all). I can’t wait to capture all the lovely moments that will unfold and know you will cherish these photos for years to come!