Feeling stressed about a newborn AND a photographer in your home? I’m here to put you at ease. I’ve got this under control, if the baby cries that’s okay. If you need to feed them, that’s to be expected! If they spit up all over you 5 minutes before I walk through the door, don’t worry—I’ve been there! With a little prep, and an idea of what to expect, we can tame those nerves and make sure newborn photographs aren’t adding any anxiety to your life.
Let’s start with the styling
If you set up your newborn session before baby arrives, try to get together some ideas for what you might want to wear before baby arrives, that leaves one less thing to think about when the time comes.
A good general tip for the whole family is to dress comfortably. We’ll be cuddling up on the bed, on the floor, on the stairs. I’ll seek out the best light so make sure your outfit accommodates lots of different positions.
Tips for styling the maternal body
(skip this section if it does not apply)
When taking the mama body into consideration, create an outfit that is forgiving and accounts for the ‘fourth trimester’ of changes. Our weight fluctuates a lot in those first weeks post-birth and our body temperatures can change a ton hour-to-our so, it’s good to plan for all that body-changing goodness! Flowy tops, maxi dresses, layers that can be removed and pants with a stretchy waist are all good ideas. Expect to retain a bit of that maternal belly and either flaunt it or smooth it out with some high-rise postpartum panties or shorts!
Make sure to do the ‘nip-slip’ test and lean over in the mirror in whatever you are wearing to make sure we don’t see more booby that you’d like. If you are breastfeeding, some good options for dresses are those that button/snap in front or have stretchy straps that could easily be pulled down. Any loose shirts that can be lifted up will work well too. Remember to accommodate for nursing pads, you’ll need to be able to wear a bras or nursing tank under your shirt/dress if you are breastfeeding so that we don’t have any leaking milk making an appearance (I’m getting real here, I know).
A note on postpartum
Something that I feel needs to be said—birth is an incredible experience and can affect all of our bodies differently. For my first birth, I was up and walking well a few days later. With my second, it took me 3 weeks before I could stand up from the couch by myself. For this very reason I want you to feel absolutely comfortable with the idea of moving our session together if your body is not ready for photographs. This isn’t just about the new life, this also about the existing life that brought it here! I want you to feel ready and comfortable for your photographs. An extra week will not matter in the long term, I’m happy to work with you to meet you where you are when the time comes.
Coordinating colors and textures
Unless you are already a pro at styling your family, I would suggest starting from a neutral base and building from there. Neutrals (off whites, beiges, grays) and earth tones (browns, mustard yellows, deep greens, blues, rusty reds) are best at complimenting skin tones, especially on little ones. Choose one earth tone in addition to your neutral and dress the rest of the family in the same tones with variation. Use texture and patterns in the same color tones to create variety while also staying within the same color family. Avoid bright, vibrant tones (like bright pink), as they can be harsh on skin tones (unless you’re really going for a statement piece which I’ll always embrace).
Hot tip: Avoid neons, tiny dots or stripes and super busy patterns. Mix colors between tops and bottoms and avoid dressing anyone in the same exact colored top to avoid too much repetition in group photos.
I suggest having your newborn in a short-sleeve white bodysuit like the one shown above! That way we can start off the session capturing their adorable features before we layer anything else on. I don’t like to plan for more than two ‘outfits’ since most babies really don’t love being changed and we never want to try taking clothes off if they are cozy and asleep! Keep them swaddled until I arrive so they are extra warm and comfy, old Boston homes can be chilly so it’s important to keep the baby warm before and throughout our session.
For the Siblings
Comfort is king with little ones, especially between 1-3 years old when anything restricting or itchy ruins their day. I always suggest trying the outfit (including shoes) on your little several days before the session just to make sure they don’t decide it’s the enemy. Ask them to jump up and down and raise their hands, watch out for shirts and sweaters that ride up constantly. A onesie underneath is super helpful in avoiding the exposed belly! Pick them up in the mirror and see how the outfit looks while you’re holding them, this helps you get an idea of what I’ll see in the camera since we spend a lot of time close and cuddled! If choosing a romper for a kiddo under one, make sure to double check that the buttons/snaps stay put with a full diaper and moving around. Popped buttons and snaps happen more often than you think!
Day of guide
Keep sentimental items nearby. The purpose of doing sessions in your home is to create a sentimentality in the photographs of this new life. A hand-knit blanket, stuffed animal from a grandparent or hat from the hospital are great items to include in a photo or two so that you can remember the tiny details of this fleeting time.
Try to feed baby around 30-minutes before the session, milk-drunk babies are the bestttttt!
Turn the heat up or keep a space heater nearby, little ones don’t love being cold and we will be trying to capture their little features which will require taking them out of a swaddle or blanket.
Have white noise on/available.
Check your wrists, make sure they are free of apple watches, hair elastics, etc.
Keep everything out of your pockets, (I’m talking to you, dudes).
Lightly wipe down babies face with a warm washcloth before the session, this will remove any eye crusting or milk dribbles which might be visible in photos.
Reach out with any and all questions. Your photographer is also your therapist in this time and can help calm any nerves, provide suggestions on styling or just give you a confidence boost when you need it most!
Still feeling stuck? Ask for help! Send photos of ideas or even ask me to coordinate for you! I’m happy to take some time to make sure you are comfortable and feeling confident for your session. Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Scroll On for Inspiration
A selection of images are from real clients in their real homes in the Boston and North Shore area.
Did you stumble upon this post in search of a North Shore Photographer in the Boston or North Shore area? I’d love to chat more about working together to document your growing family from the comfort of your own home! Just hit the button below and you’ll hear from me in a few days!
I photograph newborns from the comfort of your home and take clients in the immediate Boston area as well as on the North Shore. Including Ipswich, Essex, Hamilton, Beverly, Manchester, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Danvers, Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester and Topsfield.
a Boston Area Family, Newborn, Elopement and Portrait Photographer living on the North Shore. Documenting humans in Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Essex, Newburyport, Newbury, Gloucester, Manchester, Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, Beverly, Winchester, Melrose, Boston (and more).