How To Prep for your In-Home Newborn Photo Session

Mom and dad hold newborn baby with toddler daughter on shoulders in space themed nursery Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography
mother holds newborn baby on couch surrounded by smiling children and husband

First of all, relax!

I totally get it. Your little one just arrived, and your whole routine has turned to utter chaos. When your days and nights are all mixed up and you can’t remember the last time you slept or even showered, the thought of taking photos in your home can feel overwhelming (to say the least). As a mother myself, my primary goal is to help you feel totally relaxed and comfortable so that we can get gorgeous candid photos of you with your loved ones.

newborn baby lies on dinosaur blanket in nursery West Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography


I typically try to work with newborns between 5-10 days old, to help them stay nice and sleepy and relaxed during our session. Newborn sessions tend to last about 2 hours, due to the need for babies to take more frequent breaks for eating, soothing, and diaper changes.

Grandmother holds newborn girl in arms at home Northern Liberties Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography

Cleaning Up

When I get to your home, the first thing I’ll do is take a quick walk through the house evaluating the light and deciding which rooms make the most sense for us to spend our time. This could be your child’s room, your bedroom, living room, or even kitchen. Please do your best to clean up any clutter in these rooms as you are able, before I arrive. If additional styling is needed, you and I will work together to create an atmosphere that is both authentic and polished. This is a JUDGMENT FREE ZONE! I promise you that for every gorgeous, magazine-worthy photo on my website of a blissful new mom cuddling with her tiny newborn, there are piles of just-used breast pump supplies, hastily discarded Amazon boxes, and other secretly stashed clutter hidden just outside the camera frame.

Father holds smiling newborn baby in arms Fitler Square Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography

What to Wear

Above all else, I want you to feel comfortable and be yourself! Having your picture taken can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable at first. I don’t want clothes to add to that feeling. Try to pick clothes that fit you well, fit your personal “style”, and make you feel gorgeous. Keep in mind that you’ll be holding your little one, and I might also ask you to sit, stand, or lie down during our session. Wear something that lets you move freely and feel relaxed.

Please wear tightly woven shirts, sweaters and dresses; otherwise it can appear see-through in photos. Feel free to dress in layers such as slips and undershirts to avoid exposing too much. Moms, you’re probably going to feel most comfortable in your maternity clothes, and I just want you to know that that’s TOTALLY OKAY and actually really common. I especially love photographing new moms in a beautiful, flowy maxi dress. Just keep in mind: if you don’t want to show off cleavage, steer away from low-cut tops and button-downs, especially if you will be with young children who may keep you too active to notice if your top is staying in place for your photos. I’ll also try to remind you to take off the hair elastic from your wrist before we start, but just a reminder that you might not want those in your photos. Same goes for your Fitbit or giant Apple Watch…might want to stash these out of sight before we start. Dads, please remember to remove all wallets, keys, and phones from your pockets before we start. And again, comfort is key here…a nice set of jeans with a casual button down or solid tee looks great for photos.

As far as what colors to wear, try to avoid bright white if possible, as it can make people look washed out or it can stand out as too bright in some lighting situations. Neutrals (black, grey, browns, cream, or even denim) and solid colors always look timeless and classic in family photos. In general, darker colors tend to be more slimming. I personally love the pop of a rich jewel tone in family photos, like navy, cranberry, emerald green, goldenrod, purple, etc.

Unless you usually match each other every day, try to focus on coordinating colors instead of going for an exact match. Try choosing 1-2 colors as your foundation and then mixing different patterns, textures, and even some contrasting accessories for a look that is pulled-together but also reflects your personal style.

Since we’ll be hanging out in your home, shoes/slippers are totally optional. Just make sure you’re both on the same page as a couple before we begin. If you’re going go barefoot or wear socks, just make sure your feet are photo-ready since I’ll be shooting from a variety of angles.

This next point is so important it gets its own paragraph: IF YOU HAVE ANY VISIBLE TATTOOS I’D LOVE TO INCLUDE THEM IN YOUR PHOTOS! Please let me know so I can work them into our session.

New mother holds newborn child on couch while partner plays guitar Old City Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photographer
newborn baby lies on yellow carpet in nursery My. Airy Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography


My style is really relaxed and candid. Parents, please prepare to be in your newborn’s photos. I strongly believe in the importance of capturing these early days of bonding and snuggling! I’ll also get some solo shots of baby, but keep in mind that I don’t do a lot of posing or bring props, the main focus is on you and your baby.

Feel free to set aside 1-2 special items you would like to include in your photos, such a special blankets, stuffed animals, or other objects with special meaning to your family. This is a great opportunity to include a family heirloom or handmade blanket in a few photos. Please try to refrain from very large or “gimmicky” hats or headbands…I want to leave you with classic, timeless images that focus on your little one’s sweet features!

How to Prep Your Baby

Babies tend to photograph best in a simple, neutral colored onesie or in a wrap. While I love an adorable ruffly dress or pants set on babies, more often than not they tend to draw attention away from your newborn’s sweet, tiny features that we want to capture during your session. This the only time I actually break my own rule against wearing white…a simple white onesie looks great on a baby!

Please try to prepare your baby by feeding and changing him or her before our session. A full belly equals a happy, sleepy baby! If you’re bottle feeding, you’ll probably want to keep an extra bottle ready and nearby during our session. It’s totally normal for your little one to feel extra hungry during our session. We’re going to be moving around quite a bit, plus they tend to have a ton of back-to-back growth spurts during those first few weeks. Even though I know most parents prefer to establish a routine early-on, try to stay extra flexible and just follows baby’s cues as much as possible while we’re taking photos.

Newborn Skin

Your baby just spent the last 9 months in a really warm and cozy bath-like environment. Skin issues are totally normal for newborns…it just is what it is. Your baby might have acne, flakes, stork-bites, birthmarks, blocked tear ducts, jaundice…I’ve pretty much seen it all. A warm bath (or wipe-down with a wet washcloth, if your baby’s cord stump hasn’t fallen off yet) the night before our session, followed by a light layer of non-irritating lotion is the best way to prepare your baby’s skin for photos. Try not to pick at all those little skin flakes!!! In my experience, the more you pick at it, the more it multiplies. During and after your session, we’ll chat about how much you want me to edit out…some parents love to remember every little detail, while others prefer a more polished look.

Parents introduce new baby to pet dog at home photo session Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photography


I love including pets in family photos! I’m totally used to meeting the full range of shy, excited, nervous, or even territorial fur babies during in-home sessions. You know your pets best, so I’ll leave it up to you how you’d like to handle this part. Some families find that adding an extra element to the session just causes more stress, while others are totally fine letting their pets roam free. If you do want to incorporate them into your photos, just try to keep some extra treats handy.

Breastfeeding Portraits

Breastfeeding portraits are available upon request, and unless I have your explicit permission, these will remain private for only your family to view and share. I love to capture these personal bonding moments between mom and baby, and I promise to be discreet if asked to photograph this time.A Word About Pinterest

new father kisses newborn child on forehead Center City Philadelphia Lucy Baber Family Photographer

A Word About Pinterest

Trust me, I am a Pinterest junkie! It’s a great place to go for inspiration…but please keep in mind that our primary focus is to capture YOU and YOUR family! I’m happy to review one or two favorite poses you’ve found online, but then we will put our own unique spin on them to create something that is fresh, authentic, and above all else, inspired.

Family photo of Lucy Baber with her husband and two boys in their backyard Philadelphia
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