It is no big secret that I love newborn sessions. As your newborn photographer, every home I enter is a sacred space in my eyes. It is the very home where your family makes those daily memories and your family story unfolds. I come in to simply document your growing family in that precious space you call home. While newborn sessions are amazing and convenient, there are things you can do to prepare that make the experience smooth sailing.

Alright, let's dig in to my top 12 tips!

A father leans down and kisses his swaddled newborn boy on the head.

A detailed black and white image of a father's thumb pressed into bottom of his son's foot.
Charlie's older sister holds him in her arms and kisses the top of his head.
A mother holds her newborn baby boy while kissing his baby toes.


I always recommend doing your newborn photoshoot within the first 14 days after birth. Now, hear me out. If that doesn't work for your family, it is totally ok. I have done newborn sessions up to 8 weeks after birth and it still resulted in a beautiful session with a gorgeous gallery of images. That being said, I love working with those fresh babies. Babies tend to sleep a little better during our session in those early weeks as most parents are still figuring out the newborn schedule. Keep in mind, I will always go with the flow of your baby. If, at any point, we need to stop to change a diaper or feed your baby, I am more than willing to give you the time and space to do that. It is always my goal to keep you and baby happy, fed, and safe during our shoot.

A family of four sits on the bed holding their new baby boy during their newborn photoshoot.
A mother sits on her bed holding her newborn boy while her older daughter twirls on the bed beside her.


I find morning to be the best time for your little one since this is the time they tend to be the sleepiest. I recommend starting between 9:00am-10:00am. Everyone is very ready for lunch after the session is wrapped up!


Newborn Family sessions usually take an average of 2-3 hours. I know that sounds crazy long, but when we go with the flow of your family, baby, and siblings, I find it way less stressful to take our time. Be prepared with snacks for you and the kids that you can easily grab in between shots. My typical session flow does allow for breaks, and I try to be very mindful of how my families are doing. If I am done with family shots, I will give mom a break while I work with dad. Also, please please please never hesitate to ask for a break. If you are starving or, for goodness sakes, need to use the restroom, by all means, let me know and I can easily find a million other beautiful shots of your baby to photograph while you step away.

A mother and father snuggle on their bed with their newborn baby boy during their in home newborn session.


Natural light is my absolute favorite to work with, especially with in-home sessions. The way it hits a subject is just magic. Upon booking, I ask my clients to send me a few quick snaps of some spaces in their home. Don't worry if its a mess, I am only looking at where the light is coming in. I typically ask to see photos of rooms like the master bedroom, living spaces, and nursery. But honestly any room with great light can work!

Before I arrive, I ask parents to turn off all overhead lights and open up curtains and blinds to allow the light to shine in. When I arrive to your home, I always ask for a quick tour so we can check out the lighting throughout the house and choose the best place to start. We just need some good window light and we will be set!

A mother holds her newborn boy swaddled up against her chest.
A mother dances with her daughter while holding her new baby boy.
A black and white image of a mom kissing her newborn son's fingers.


I will never tell you to have a spotless home before I arrive, because let's be honest, that isn't real life. I can guarantee you that my house is not spotless 95% of the time. Some clutter is always expected during an in-home session. I do ask parents to clear out any clutter you absolutely don't want in your photos. Even if that means putting those moving boxes out in the hallway out of sight during the session. Yep, that was me when we had my son's in-home newborn session while prepping for a big move. A quick sweep through the house clearing off end tables, making the bed, clearing out any items on the floor or furniture that may be distracting will 100% do the trick.

A father reclines on the bed while kissing his newborn son's head.
A zoomed in shot of a newborn boy's eyelashes.


This tip and the next one are big ones and go hand in hand. I recommend keeping your baby awake for at least 30-60 minutes before your session time. That good awake time before the session will help them be nice and tired as we start your family newborn session.

A family of four snuggle on the couch in their living room during their lifestyle newborn photoshoot.


Give your baby a good feeding and diaper change right before my arrival to be sure they have a nice full belly before we start. A hungry baby isn't a happy baby. That full belly will also help them settle in for a nice little snooze during our session and give us plenty of time to get all of those dreamy shots. Even if we need to stop during our session for a quick little feeding, I always take those opportunities for detail shots in their nursery and their tiny baby feet and hands. If a mama is nursing and feels comfortable, I am always willing to document their breastfeeding journey. But I always try to document a parent feeding their little one at some point in a session no matter what method they feel is best for them.

A father holds his newborn son while the mother kisses his little cheeks.
A shot of a newborn boy's nursery.
A baby boy lays on his mother's chest sleeping.
An older sister leans over to kiss her new baby brother's head during their newborn photoshoot.


I always want your baby to be the star of the show. You want the love and connection to shine through your images so I tend to avoid loud patterns, prints, and colors. Instead, I recommend sticking to neutrals and earth tones like greens, beige, cream, khaki, camel brown, or rust for your babe. Avoid white white's as well if possible. Avoid bright colors as they can project color casts onto you and your baby's skin that isn't flattering and can be a challenge to edit. Neutrals will also compliment most home decor. So even if your home has lots of color, the neutral palette in your wardrobe won't be competing for attention in the photos.

For parents and siblings, it is always a good idea to stick to lighter colors that compliment each other. For example, if mom is in a long flowy cream dress, then the dad could wear khaki pants, shorts, or jeans with a light colored complimenting shirt. I bring a variety of more earth tone focused wraps and swaddles that have a little pop of color to every session along with beautiful knitwear outfits for your baby. This way, your baby is the one that stands out in your gallery of images.

I provide complimentary styling to all of my sessions with access to my free client closet full of beautiful dresses and gowns. Depending on the vibe you are going for, you have a few wardrobe options.


You can go all out in a beautiful gown. It may seem a little silly since its an in-home newborn session, but I promise it still looks great and dresses things up quite nicely. You could also opt for a nice long flowy dress that is comfortable on your body post baby. You have the freedom to move around easily and nothing feels too tight or uncomfortable. If you're wanting a more casual look you could always go for jeans and a simple white shirt or light colored pants with a neutral sweater or cardigan.

A few great places I like to shop for new mama dresses are places like Baltic Born, Joyfolie, Old Navy, & even Amazon.


Choose a nice t-shirt, short or long sleeve henley, or a sweater in a neutral color that compliments your partner's outfit selection. Pair that with khaki pants, shorts, or jeans. Be sure you are avoiding shirts with logos or patterns if at all possible.


Little girls can wear a cute neutral colored dress or neutral outfit, while little guys can stick to neutral tops paired with khaki pants, shorts, or jeans.

Parents sit on a bench in their entry way while holding their newborn son.
A swaddled newborn boy sleeps on his parents bed.
A mother and father hold their newborn baby boy while smiling down at him.


Many first time parents may have heard of the 5 S's from the book The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. As a new parent and even now, I find many of those insights to work for babies. One of the S's is the "Swaddle." If your baby is doing pretty well naked at the beginning of the session, I always try to start with a few shots while they are happy. But once I get your little one swaddled they are instantly happy and rock out the rest of the session! You cannot go wrong with a nice tight wrap or swaddle when your little one is upset. I bring a variety of wraps and swaddles to all my sessions. But if you are looking for a good one, I love the Copper Pearl jersey knit swaddles. Not only are they soft, but you can get a good snug swaddle.


Another powerful "S" in The Happiest Baby on the Block is "Shush" better known as white noise. And boy oh boy is it a game changer. To this day my children both still use white noise at bedtime. And heck me and my husband started using it because we got so used to having it on once we had our children. The white noise is intended to mimic the sound a baby hears while they are in the womb, and therefore, brings them comfort and familiarity. There are so many white noise machines out there, but I have a few favorites that I will link here and here. This is something that is always in my newborn bag and brought with me to every session.

A newborn baby boy sleeps in his crib while wrapped in a knit blanket.


Adding a sibling to the family can be quite a transition for the older kiddos. The new baby is already getting so much attention. The last thing we want the older siblings to feel is that they aren't an important part of the newborn family photoshoot day. When I arrive, I make it a point to connect with the kiddos first before diving into the session and all the new baby attention. I want them to know and feel that they are just as important. At the end of the day, kids will be kids and doing family photos with kiddos can have its challenges. But I find that giving them some undivided attention upfront can definitely help with their overall cooperation and happiness during your session day.

A family of four standing in the nursery looking at their new baby boy.
A mother breastfeeding her newborn baby boy during their in home newborn photoshoot.


Last but not least, there are few items to have in a pinch during your newborn photos.

If your baby is using a pacifier, I recommend having a few ready to go and within reach. Another of the important 5 "S's", which stands for "Suck." Sometimes that is all they need to calm down quickly so we can keep pressing on with your session.

A change of clothes for you and baby may be needed in case of spit up or baby blow outs. This is rare, but it has happened a few times in my 2 years of doing in home newborn sessions.

A mother holds her baby boy while standing in his nursery.
A shot of the decor in a baby boy's nursery.
A mother holds her baby boy close and kisses his temple.

Well Friends, those are my top 12 tips to have a successful in home newborn photography session. I absolutely love everything about in home sessions and photographing babies. I hope you found these tips helpful. If you are looking for a Newborn Photographer in Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding area and you think we may be a good fit, I would love to connect with you below!



Jette McCormick is a newborn, baby, maternity, and family photographer in Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding area.