How to Prepare for your Lifestyle Newborn Session

South Bay - Los Angeles Photographer


It is really important to me that you feel prepared and excited for your newborn session. I’ll be coming to your home so you don’t have to even think of figuring out what to bring with you anywhere so soon after giving birth. There are, however, some helpful tips and things to have on hand to help make the session run smoothly and to ensure you feel as little stress as possible.

baby sleeping in crib

Before I Arrive: We will get the best images when your baby is sleepy and full. Please plan on feeding your baby close to my arrival time either right before or during my set up. I found that it is easiest if you loosen his/her diaper and have the baby undressed, but wrapped in a blanket for his/her feeding. That way we won't have to bother the baby with undressing before we start. It is also important that the house is a comfortable temperature. Although I will bring a space heater, the baby is usually more relaxed when the whole house is warm since we will be moving around for feedings etc.  Please have one or two white onesies set aside for the shoot.

Setting up: When I arrive I will make a few trips to the car to bring in all my goodies. With me I will have: a small beanbag, a few blankets, a space heater, a box of baby swaddles, and my camera equipment. I try to be as non-intrusive as possible but there are times I may have to move a few chairs or a coffee table to find the best lighting conditions in your home.  I will be sure to put anything I move back in its original space, though, so you don’t have to worry about it! My overall focus is on creating natural portraiture that is beautiful but shows the new connections and relationships being forged with your new addition.

During the session: Since the baby will spend a lot of time on dress we will most likely have an accident or two. It's totally OK! I use a waterproof cover under each of my set-ups so there aren’t any spills on furniture or multiple blankets. Please also expect one or two snack/feeding breaks. You may need to feed the baby more often then you’ve become accustomed to since we might disturb baby sleep with posing and that is the quickest and most effective way to get baby back to sleep.  

Just so you are aware, it’s very normal to have the baby crying for some of it.  With movement and getting him/her settled and changed, it can feel very disruptive, but I promise, I always am able to calm them down using some of my secret soothing techniques :). If I think the baby needs to nurse, I’ll definitely let you know.

big brother kissing baby brother while mom holds baby in the rocking chair

The Basic Flow of the Newborn Session:

The list of shots I plan to get during our session include:

  • Baby alone

  • Baby details (hands, toes, face)

  • Baby with family

  • Baby with mommy and daddy separately

  • Baby with sibling  

Things to have on hand:

  • Wipes

  • Diapers

  • A spit up cloth

  • A white onesie

  • Mommy :) for intermittent nursing and/or another adult to have on hand for safety and assistance.

  • Pacifier: Even if you are not allowing your child to regularly use one, it will be good for a short time just to help him/her calm down during this time of potential stress. If your baby starts to fuss and we cannot stop the crying by other means, this will typically help ease the baby’s nerves.

  • Clean, dry snacks and water for both mom and any siblings that are around.

mom holding newborn baby in the rocking chair

What to Wear:

Baby will be either be in a white onesie, swaddled, or naked. However, for the rest of the family, I suggest picking very simple outfits.  Clothes should be clean and comfortable. Lifestyle newborn sessions look great with many different colors, but at least one of the parents should have a more neutral colored top.  That can mean neutrals like cream, soft yellow, tan, grey or white. You can choose darker shades for the other family members, but I would recommend that the family as a whole be coordinated with two or three color combinations. You want to go for a cohesive look, but retain a sense of personality in the style, so you shouldn’t all be matchy matchy.  Another option is to pick colors that match the decor in rooms where you’ll eventually be displaying the photos.

Mom should wear something that is comfortable and prettier than a typical nursing top, but since baby’s tend to spit up when we don’t want them to, be sure to have a couple clothing options picked out, so you can change if you need to.  When taking photos with mom, I tend to position you in a way that is sensitive to your postpartum body but if you have anything specific you’d like me to be careful about, please let me know! Dad and any older siblings can then base their outfits on what Mom is wearing to make sure it coordinates well.

Well, there’s my big list!  Please let me know if you have any questions and I can’t wait to capture this very special time in your family’s life!