How to prepare yourself, home and baby for your

In-home Lifestyle Newborn Session

Having a baby is a whirlwind of emotion, exhaustion, and celebration. Sometimes getting things together to just put pants on is a struggle, and I completely understand that! So I thought I’d share a few easy tips to preparing for your session at home. I want having these precious and fleeting moments captured to be the easiest thing on your list of things to do postpartum.

When to Book

I typically book moms when they are 6-8 months pregnant just so I can be sure to have room for them on the calendar. We then try to schedule the exact day and time once baby has arrived within the first 3-10 days of life. Once you’ve gotten home and settled but while baby is still sleepy and around the clock snuggly.

Of course if you needed more time to recover or forgot until after baby was here to book, I do my best to make arrangements to grab photos of baby as soon as we can. And honestly that’s the beauty of in-home lifestyle newborn sessions, that you can still create beautiful images with an alert or cluster hungry baby. You don’t need them sedate, though it does make the swaddle moments a little easier.

Preparing the Space

The newborn season is a messy time, a lot of undone dishes and loose burp cloths are thrown about. So I definitely don’t expect a perfectly tidy space. What I do need are rooms with lots of windows and natural light. Feel free to give me a quick tour when I arrive but we usually settle in the nursery, living room or master bedroom. And if they all have stunning light, then we may capture a few moments in each.

If you want to tidy up those rooms a little before our session that would be great but again not necessary. I do my best to remove distracting clutter if necessary for the particular moment but oftentimes I leave it too because it tells the story of your family.

I personally prefer rooms where the bed or seating is facing the window light rather than behind but in most cases, we work with what we have in the space. Keeping things flexible and improvising in the moment is my well-known skill when it comes to in-home photography. Now if you have a special space you really want to be photographed in, take a look throughout the day to see when the light is coming in the best so we can try and schedule your session accordingly.

Getting everyone dressed and ready

I get asked all the time, “what should we wear to our session?” Well, honestly the answer looks a little different for every family and their personality. I always recommend neutrals if you can’t think of where to start because they are always simple and easy compliments to any home decor and style. But I also understand that neutral may not be apart of your vocabulary or closet so what’s most important to me, is that you feel beautiful and comfortable. Let the rest of the family plan according to the thing that makes mamma feel freshest and most relaxed. If that means a colorful floral dress with easy breastfeeding access or a set of comfy white PJs, you do you!

I also recommend having a backup outfit on hand too! Usually a black tank or nursing bra so we can do some more intimate, skin to skin moments if you are so inclined. I find that precious skin on skin moments to be some of my absolute favorites but it’s always up to mom and what she is comfortable with. But having a back up of any type is always smart because accidents are always happening with babies.

  For baby, I like to start with baby in a plain solid onesie or just in a diaper. Diaper covers are also a favorite if the original pattern is not quite your style. Feel free to pull out your favorite outfit or two to change baby in to at the end too. We will also use a favorite swaddle or blanket for solo photos so if you have a favorite be sure to have that on hand too.

For dad or siblings, just keep things simple. I love those soft cotton solid color man tees or even an easy button-down. No need to get fancy but feel free to dress as you feel fits best with your home and especially with what mamma decides to wear.

I do ask that no-one wears anything with graphics or words on it and that all hats be left in the closet. Hats can help tame a sleepy bedhead but also block a lot of essential light for capturing these important moments.

Helping Baby get in the best mood

I find feeding baby right before I arrive to be the easiest way to transition baby for the photo session. So if at all possible get him/her and you dressed for the session first and then feed so he/she can hopefully be asleep when I arrive. OF COURSE, things do not go as planned always so no stress if baby isn't hungry or if you need to change in a hurry afterward. I allow a little wiggle room in your session just for unpredictable circumstances and so we can be flexible and laidback all throughout.

Also, feel free to feed baby throughout or prepare a bottle to keep on hand to help soothe a fussier or clustery babe.

Keeping the home semi-warm also helps baby from getting woken up or startled since they will be in limited clothing, I always suggest keeping the home warmer. If you notice that your photographer is a little sweaty than it’s probably just right.

What we need for Solo Baby moments

For the solo baby photos at the end, I do a small set up with either two pillows or a boppy pillow under a larger blanket or solid colored sheet. Just to prop baby up in front of the window for some sweet moments. My motto is to always “keep it simple and natural.” A comfy blanket and simple swaddle are really all you need to grab timeless moments of your precious newborn and their details. If you have any favorite gifted or handmade items, let me know so we can find creative ways to include them as well. I always love using the grandma made blankets and granpa built cribs when possible.

Lastly, just relax!

The beautiful part about in-home sessions is that you can truly be yourself while also capturing the beauty of this season in an authentic way. There are no long hours of delicate posing or blank backdrops that feel sterile. These sessions are laidback and flexible so that we can capture all the beauty that parenthood is. I love delivering to my clients a diverse gallery of moments from naturally posed to even documentary. The gallery you receive should be a little time capsule into this small window of time that often flies by in a haze.

So take this as an excuse to get a long shower and feel refreshed. Maybe even spend a moment to put on some makeup or blow-dry your hair.

Try and only invite others over during the session if it would help you to relax or you really want to include them in the session. I love grabbing images of grandma and grandpa right at the end but only if that would add to your feelings of home.

If you are worried about big siblings running free or being hard to handle, just know I love that part of newborn photography. We can do our best to wrangle them into the photos but I also capture the childlike beauty that is bringing a new baby home and the big siblings being wild. No need for apologies because this season and these photos are for you. So you can bottle up this very precious time with joy and storytelling.