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Newborn Session Planning


The primary goal during your newborn session is to help your baby feel calm & sleepy when we are ready for portraits. To facilitate this goal, please try to get in a nice full feeding before you leave (studio sessions) or about 20 minutes before I am scheduled to arrive (in-home sessions). Baby will most likely be ready for pictures at our session time. If baby wakes up hungry during our session (more than likely!), we will stop for a feeding. There are a few other things you can do to help our session go smoothly:

  • Dress baby in loose clothing so that we can avoid skin marks and lines in any photos where baby’s skin is showing. We will also want to avoid startling or waking baby when you arrive, so his or her clothing should be something relatively easy to change without noisy velcro.
  • Dress yourself in layers–we will keep the studio or your home warm for the session and you will probably get hot!
  • Please let me know ahead of time if there is anything special you would like to try, and I will let you know if your idea lends itself to my style and skill sets.
  • Plan for your newborn shoot to take 1.5-2 hours, though on rare occasions we may go a little over two hours.

When to book your newborn sessionPittsburgh Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Though not an absolute requirement, I prefer to photograph newborn babies when they are 1-2 weeks old whenever possible. Please let me know (call, text, or email is fine) as soon as baby is born, and we will try to schedule your shoot within this time frame.

Shoots with “older” newborns (2 weeks-2 months) are beautiful too, just a little different–we get more eye contact, and babies look a little plumper than they do in the first two weeks. I get calls all the time from moms whose babies are already here and they want to schedule a shoot, or babies who have spent time in the NICU and were unable to shoot a session in the first couple weeks. I love these too.

Props (or lack thereof)

I do not tend to use props, but we can include a few small things that are special to you in a few of your portraits–in particular, handmade or heirloom-quality baby blankets are beautiful in a portrait. I will bring some textured wraps and diaper covers, but I encourage you to set aside a few of your own items to make your shoot unique. Please avoid anything that will cover up baby’s whole body (i.e., footie pajamas or any other type of bulky clothing), but delicate headbands, newborn or preemie sized diaper covers, onesies, wraps, scarves, and textured blankets are wonderful! I usually leave baby’s diaper on with a cover or cloth diaper for the entire session.

Clothing for baby

Though baby will be mostly uncovered in a simple diaper cover or blanket for most of the session, I do like to photograph baby in a onesie (this could be white, grey, pink, or a subtle pattern–just avoid words or logos), and for winter babies an outfit with long sleeves and/or pants is fine for family portraits, just keep your baby’s feet uncovered. Please choose your smallest baby clothes–some newborn clothes are larger than others, and they are much too big for even average-weight newborns.

Clothing for you

I recommend you dress in light clothing in neutral tones and textures. For an in-home session we might be shooting on a bed or snuggling you in your baby’s rocker, so you will probably be in socks or bare feet most of the time. Please wear something you feel comfortable in–my newborn images (even the studio ones) are of a more “lifestyle” nature and less formal. Get in touch with me for more personal help with styling yourself and your family.

Hair & make-up

You might not be up for a visit to a salon for hair & makeup–understandable! Your options are to DIY, or we can have a hair & makeup artist come to you.

If you choose to DIY, I advise wearing just a little bit more makeup than you would usually wear in order to photograph well. See my blog post on makeup, or watch YouTube videos for help.

If you prefer on-site hair & makeup, I can make arrangements to have a stylist on site for you for about $150. Please get in touch with me for details on this.

Studio sessions

Though the focus of a studio session will be on baby, I encourage you, your partner, and toddler or other child(ren) to join baby for a family and/or sibling portrait. Some families choose to focus only on the baby and save the family portraits for another time–that is fine too! Plan about 30 minutes for family portraits at the beginning or end of your sPittsburgh Newborn Twin Photographertudio session if you choose to do so. Keep in mind that we will need calm & quiet for your newborn portraits–please bring quiet activities for your young children or have a family member take them out while we photograph your newborn.

In-home sessions

Please keep your house about 10 degrees warmer than usual to keep baby sleepy and comfortable with little to no clothing. Try to find a space with minimal clutter and lots of window light that we might use for family portraits (usually a bed or a couch, or in summer months, a porch or other outdoor space). We will usually do family and sibling portraits at the beginning of your session and then individual portraits of your baby for the rest of the time.

The Studio

My studio is located in Pittsburgh’s Mt. Lebanon neighborhood at 20 Cedar Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15228. At my studio, we are all set up for nursing, changing, cuddling, and relaxing.

Questions? Email me!