How to prepare for your newborn sesion

Although one of the main tenets of my business is helping my clients be as prepared as possible for their session or wedding, last year, I did not take my own advice and boy did I pay the price.

I had a newborn photographer all booked and ready to go. I had my house cleaned the day before. But about a week before the session (when my son was just 10 days old), I realized I had nothing. to. wear. I hadn’t even thought about getting my makeup done. I had no idea what my husband would wear. I wanted my son to have a simple little diaper cover for photos and I hadn’t ordered that either.


Cue to me running around the mall five days before our session, trying on everything and anything while my husband patiently wheeled our baby around in the stroller outside each store entrance. Nothing fit and I left the mall nearly in tears, feeling even more stressed than when we arrived.

Photo by Sarah Kate Photography

Obviously I had no idea what my body was going to be like two and a half weeks postpartum but I wish I had started thinking about what needed to get done to make our session go as smoothly as possible and didn’t leave me frantically searching the Internet and the mall for something to wear.

One of the questions I get asked the most is how parents can prepare for their newborn session. Unfortunately the nature of a newborn is that things can be pretty unpredictable but there are a few steps you can take to help the session go a little more smoothly.

Pick up

There isn’t a whole lot you need to do to prepare for your newborn session except to make sure your nursery and bedroom (or wherever we will shoot!) is picked up and ready to be photographed. That means taking out cardboard diaper boxes, the pile of dirty burp clothes on the floor and other gifts that have yet to be put away. I (and most newborn photographers) like to get shots of the nursery so if it’s not picked up, it looks sloppy or we’re wasting precious time cleaning when we could be photographing your sweet baby.

If you have swaddle blankets, outfits, bows, toys or other props you’d like to incorporate into the shoot, please have those gathered in a special area so you’re not running all over the house when your photographer arrives (this will make YOU feel more calm!)


Try to have your baby fed right before I arrive. If you’re still feeding when your photographer arrives, that’s totally OK. A sleepy milk drunk baby is typically the best little model for his or her shoot. I also recommend turning the temperature up a few degrees for photos of baby unswaddled. They will likely get cold quickly.

If you have older children who will also be in the photos, it’s helpful to give them a snack before as well. 

If you’ve got a family dog you’d like in the photo, make sure they’ve had a little love and exercise before the session so they’re cooperative. 

Outfit selection

I highly recommend moms start looking for an outfit before they deliver (see opening story). Once the baby arrives, it’s hard to get out of the house or have something shipped in a timely fashion. Of course you don’t know what your body is going to do but I wished I had at least had a few options picked out so I could just click order when the time came.

Needs some ideas on what to wear? Check out this post with outfit inspiration for the whole family

On top of bringing a new baby home, getting ready for your session can feel stressful but I promise if you have these three areas squared away as much as possible, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

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