how to prepare for a newborn session

This little love is ONE today!

In honor of Eloise Ginn’s first birthday, here are some highlights from the Ginn’s in-home newborn session—and a few tips for you to prepare for your own!


When to Schedule Your Newborn Session

To ensure a spot on your favorite photographer’s calendar (Eeek, I hope that’s me!), reach out well before your newborn arrives and pencil in a date for your session. Of course, babies come when they come, but it’s always easier to push a session by a few days than to schedule it after the baby arrives. (Because who has time for playing calendar tag after literally birthing a tiny human into the world, am I right?)

Lots of newborn photographers recommend booking sessions somewhere within 4-8 days after your baby arrives. And sure, I think that’s a great idea, too, but there’s nothing wrong with scheduling a session later. Eloise was about one month old when we did her newborn session, and she’s just the cutest thing! Most photographers who insist on sessions within the first week specialize in those sweet, posed photos with seamless backdrops, and contorting those little limbs into all those positions is easiest in the baby’s first week of life. However, if you’re looking for more of an organic lifestyle session (which I have a total soft spot for) then you’re really not limited to shooting in that first week. So if you want to take a bit of time to settle into your new normal with your bebe, do it! Don’t feel locked into an irrelevant timeline.

What to Wear for Your Newborn Session

The number one thing here is to wear something you feel good in! Browse Pinterest to see what types of images you’re drawn to, and take note of the styles and colors you like. Personally, I love lighter colors and stray away from bolder patterns—but you do you! For breastfeeding mamas, nursing-friendly options are a plus in case a mid-session feeding is in order.

The Day Before Your Session

To minimize stress, set out your outfit and plan your beauty routine. I suggest treating yourself to getting your hair and makeup done. (Consider paying the “convenience tax” of having someone come to you!)

If there are any special props, toys, blankets, etc. that you’d like to incorporate into the shoot, set those aside as well. It’s just the worst when you remember a memento after your photographer departs!

If your session is scheduled for, say, 10:00 am the next day, take a little walk around your house at that time the day before and look for the areas with the best light. This is always one of the first things I do when I arrive for an in-home shoot! No need to clean your entire house (Come on, piles of laundry and dirty dishes are expected these days!), but do tidy up the one or two rooms or nooks where the light seems best.

The Day of Your Session

The day is here! Try to keep your infant awake the hour before your photographer arrives, and plan to feed them about 30 minutes before. A sleepy and milk drunk baby is the best way to kick off the shoot! And—pro tip here—bump your thermostat up several degrees before you head into that feeding. Think like 80 degrees. (Yep, if you’re not about to sweat it’s probably not warm enough.) We want to keep that baby nice and warm and sleepy, even through outfit changes! Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

Last but not least, don’t worry if things don’t go as planned! Accidents are normal. Feedings midway through a session are normal. Fussy moments are normal.

And even if your baby is wide awake during the shoot, THAT’S OK. I’m looking at you, Eloise Ginn! She was wide eyed and curious almost the entire time, and I love the way her little personality shines through because of it! So be flexible and be patient, because at the end of the day, your photographer’s job is all about capturing this precious and fleeting moment of new life.

And that’s a miracle.

That’s worth celebrating.

That’s beauty that will shine through no matter what.