You’re home from the hospital with your bundle of joy and anxiously awaiting your in-home newborn photography session; when you stop to look around and realize…this place is a mess! Your photographer (that’s me!) is coming in an hour and you’re running on two hours of sleep and a few cups of coffee. How can you prepare for your in-home newborn session with maximum results & minimum efforts?
Here’s the big secret: you do not have to perfectly clean and decorate your entire house in order to make your newborn session look great! By channeling your efforts to a few specific locations (and ignoring the rest) you can make your house look like everyone in it got a full 8 hours of sleep last night. That’s the magic of photography!
The key is controlling what’s in the frame. This article will help explain what you can shove into a corner and ignore without sacrificing the quality of your images – and what you definitely shouldn’t skimp on.
So, are you ready to learn how to prepare for your in-home newborn session in less than 30 minutes?
1.) Clean off your end tables
I love shooting in the living room, mom and dad’s bedroom or other common areas; where you spend most of your time. But in those crazy newborn days, the clutter builds up fast. The easiest way to ensure your images look clean and timeless, is to take everything off your night stand. Leave more permanent items, such as lamps or picture-frames. Remove the items that normally wouldn’t be there – the cups, boxes of tissues, snacks. As new moms, we tend to compile a comprehensive convenience store on our night stand. The water bottles, nipple cream, burp clothes, sound machines, granola bars, pacifiers, baby monitor. I can vouch for the necessity of having all of these items within arms reach at all times, but they don’t need to be in your photos. Sliding everything off into the top drawer will take you two seconds. It will also be easily recoverable when we are done and it will instantly make your room look cleaner.
2.) Make your bed with a plain, classic bedspread
Your bedroom is a wonderful, cozy spot for casual family photos or close-ups of just baby. Keep in mind, if your bedding has big, bold patterns or colors, it can be visually distracting, especially when paired with patterns in your clothing or baby’s swaddle.
You don’t have to go buy a new comforter at Target just because you’re reading this— often times if all you have is a busy, patterned bedspread, we can simply turn it over— they’re usually solid on the other side. Or we can lay down a blanket or throw.
3.) Tidy around the crib and the rocking chair
Getting pictures taken in the nursery is so special with a newborn. The crib with a simple sheet and a special stuffed animal or blanket makes for some super sweet images. I also love capturing mom in the rocking chair with baby— the two of you are going to be spending a lot of time there together over the next few months. Look to the left and right of the chair— everything immediately adjacent will be in the frame. Are you ok with that? Then I’m ok with that! But if you want to move anything, now’s the time to do it.
4.) Find one clean background next to a window
Do a walk through of your house a few mornings in a row and try to notice where you get the most natural light, regardless of the weather outside. That won’t always be your bedroom or nursery— if it’s your living room, or office, or a spare bedroom even— I’m probably going to ask if we can take a few portraits there. These shots are usually taken in front of a window, and it’s always helpful to have a clutter-free background.
5.) Get everyone fed & happy before I arrive
I recommend to start feeding your baby 20 minutes prior to my arrival, diaper change, then into their outfit last. My sessions are child/baby led, so if your little one wants to stop for a milk break or diaper change, we will do it!
If you have an older sibling in the family, set them up with a snack and maybe one of their favorite movies or activities before I arrive. This will keep them distracted at the beginning part of the shoot. It will keep the shoot relaxed and focused on baby (at least for part of the shoot!). Then we can welcome in the older sibling(s) after we get the shots we need of the new bundle!
How to prepare for your in-home newborn session
There’s a reason I shoot lifestyle photography— because of its focus is on real life. Homes are meant to be lived in, and part of living with small people means inevitable chaos and messes! By channeling your limited energy into the areas that I mentioned above, you too can have a Pinterest-ready photography session that looks amazing, and leaves you with nothing but warm fuzzy memories of those sweet newborn days— and plenty of time left over to take a nap!
Newborn Photographer in Spokane, WA
I am a photographer based in Spokane, WA; serving Spokane and the surrounding areas. Interested in learning more? Let’s chat mama!