Client Guides, Newborns

April 13, 2022

How to Prepare for Your Newborn Photo Session | Tips, Wardrobe Styling & More

How to Prepare for Your Newborn Photo Session

Congratulations on booking a newborn portrait session! You will be so happy to capture these very special memories. Knowing it’s on the calendar is the biggest step to take in this process. This guide will walk you through the rest! I pride myself on helping my families plan for their session in a relaxed, stress-free way. Let’s get started.


Alexandria Virginia Newborn


The first thing to decide is where you want your newborn photos to be taken. At Emily Alyssa Photography, I offer both studio sessions and in-home newborn portrait sessions. Here’s a little more about each option.

Studio newborn photos are taken in my natural light photography studio in Northern Virginia. Located in Sterling, VA, it’s filled with natural light, cozy linens, and neutral white walls. It’s designed for simple, minimalist portraits focused on emotion. It’s also ideal if you don’t want to worry about cleaning or preparing your home in any way! Instead, you can simply come to the studio and everything is taken care of for you. You can even try my client closet dresses on at the studio right before your session.

Parking is available, a bathroom is located on-site, and I have a changing room directly in the studio. I also provide snacks and water throughout the session, since newborn photos can sometimes take a couple of hours!

Here are a few examples of studio newborn photos.

In-home newborn sessions give you the option of taking photos in the comfort of your own home. I choose which rooms to use based on the best light that day, but common options are the nursery, master bedroom, and living room. It can be so wonderful to capture these little details, like the nursery you worked so hard to put together, with your sweet little one in your arms. When we choose an home session, we’ll discuss your home decor and when it gets the best light. Sessions typically take place in the late morning or early afternoon, but it can vary.

See examples of in-home newborn photos below.

in-home newborn photos

Note: all of my newborn sessions are lifestyle, which means we focus on your connection as a family. I still capture individual portraits of your newborn, but I don’t do extensive posing or use any props. You can learn more about lifestyle newborn photos here!



I always recommend soft, neutral color palettes for most sessions – and especially newborn sessions. We want these photos to reflect how special this time is for your family. By choosing neutral tones, your emotions and your sweet baby’s little features will be the main focus in the photos.

My client closet includes a curated collection of gowns so you don’t have to worry about shopping! It can be so hard choosing what to wear for a portrait session. Once you find something, you have to order online or go shopping in person. You have to try the dresses on, hoping they fit. You often have to buy multiple sizes. Then you have to remember to return the dresses you didn’t use – it’s quite the hassle!

The client closet takes away all of that stress. I always recommend picking mom’s dress first. You’ll simply browse the collection in my online gallery and create a favorites list. During your complimentary styling appointment, you’ll try the dresses on and I’ll help you coordinate looks for the rest of your family. It’s that easy! If you’re having a studio session, I’ll steam the dress so it’s ready upon your arrival. For in-home sessions, I will steam it and bring it with me so you don’t have to lift a finger.

While choosing an outfit, aim for comfort and flexibility. Flowy fabrics add beautiful movement to photos. Soft material also adds to this look in photos, and means you’ll be extra comfortable. Many of the most-loved gowns in my client closet are long wrap dresses for this very reason! New mamas love how soft, comfortable and beautiful they make them feel. The adjustable fit means they fit many sizes, and you don’t have to worry about how it will fit you postpartum since it offers plenty of flexibility.

If you prefer to wear pants (or if you want to fit in two outfits), a great combination are jeans and an oversized sweater, or leggings and a sweater or blouse.

Here are some of the most common colors for newborn portrait sessions. We’ll choose the main color for mama, and then we’ll pick complimentary colors for everyone else.



– Avoid watches or large, distracting jewelry pieces. These can be distracting in photos. You want timeless photos that will look beautiful in your home for decades to come.

– Either remove nail polish or have fresh nail polish on. As a busy mom, it’s usually easiest to just remove polish! It’s better to have natural nails than to have chipped nails. I’ll be taking close-ups of you holding baby, and you definitely don’t want chipped polish showing up. If you do get a manicure, neutral colors are the best option.

– Avoid any bright colors, especially bright reds or any neon colors.



Simple and sweet is best! I highly recommend a white onesie and a neutral swaddle. I bring swaddles with me to every session so you don’t have to worry about it. Keeping outfits simple allows the entire focus to be on your baby. Bold prints or colors can be distracting. Avoid outfits with sayings, letting, or designs as these will distract from baby in the photos. Also avoid onesies with built-in hand mittens and footed bottoms – we want to see baby’s tiny feet in some of the photos! It’s best to keep things simple and sweet. You can also include a small headband or bow for a few photos if you wish.

preparing siblings for newborn photos


– What to expect: most newborn sessions take 1.5 to 2 hours. Know that we can stop at any time for feeding, changing, or soothing breaks. Each session is baby led, and it’s most important to keep baby happy and comfortable. When you arrive at the studio, we’ll take a few minutes to settle in and get set up. If I’m coming to your home, I’ll take a few minutes to look at the light and choose the best spot for photos. Once photography starts, we will see how baby feels and go from there! You don’t have to worry about anything – I’ll give posing direction, move us to the best light if needed, and make sure we take enough breaks for baby.

– If you’re taking the photos in your home, it’s best to remove clutter from the room’s we’ll be taking photos. You don’t need to clean the whole house, but picking up in the spots we will most likely take photos will help you make the most of our time together. Also, please take a moment to open the blinds and curtains in rooms we will be using to let in the most light.

– Try to feed baby right before the session starts until baby is full. A baby with a full tummy, is a happy baby! If you’re at your home, you can do this before I arrive. If you’re coming to the studio, you can feed baby at home or at the studio. When coming to the studio, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early if you want to feed before we start.

– Try to keep baby awake leading up to the session for at least 60-90 minutes.

– Dress baby in the plain white onesie or swaddle that is easy to take on and off. It’s great to change baby’s diaper, swaddle or put baby in the onesie, then feed baby. That way when we’re ready to start photos, we’ll be ready to go.

– If you’re coming to the studio, bring a pacifier, clean diapers, wipes, a bottle of formula/breastmilk, and a swaddle or blanket if you have a special one you want to use. I already have swaddles at the studio, so only bring one if you specifically want to use it!

– It’s best to take newborn photos within 1-3 weeks after baby arrives. If you’re hoping for sleepy photos and capturing those tiny little features, aim to have photos done when within the first two weeks. However, don’t worry about it too much – my lifestyle photography style means we don’t have to worry too much about taking photos right away. Baby will be adorable no matter what. If you’ve already booked a newborn session with me, simply send me an email as soon as your little one arrives to finalize the official date and time!

Finally, it’s so important to soak it all in. Welcoming a newborn into your lives is such a special time. I’ll make sure you take time to snuggle your little one and soak in all of that newborn goodness! You may be sleep deprived, but the photos will instantly take you back to those sweet, fleeting moments.

If you’re interested in newborn portraits, I would love to connect! Please fill out my contact form here, and I’ll be in touch soon. It’s always an honor to capture this part of your story.


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