Newborn photos are a popular way to document the beauty of the season for new families after welcoming a new baby. The majority of my newborn photo sessions are done in-home with the exception of a few that need a studio space. In-home sessions offer comfort and familiarity for everyone as well as make each session unique to your family. However, the time after bringing home a new baby can feel chaotic, and getting your home ready for photos can feel stressful. I truly believe that your newborn session should be a time to relax and enjoy your family – not worry about if your house is ready for your photos. If you’re planning a newborn session at home, here are a few quick tips to prepare your home for newborn photos!
What spaces will you use for photos?
I always let light lead the way. We will work in whatever rooms give us the best available light, scenery, and space for your photos. I typically recommend the nursery, master bedroom, or family room. But we will truly be able to work wherever there’s good light.
If your home doesn’t get a lot of natural light, that’s okay. In challenging light situations, we will use the best window light or an entryway!
Do you need to clean before your photos?
As a mom of two, I know the chaos of the season of life that surrounds the newborn phase. Do not stress yourself out over getting your house perfect for photos. Trust me – the last thing I want you to worry about on the day of photos is dust on your shelves or dishes in your sink. I truly get it. My life is still chaos 8 years later as a parent… I haven’t forgotten what it’s like! I would much rather have a family that feels relaxed and ready for a great session than a perfectly clean home. So, don’t sweat the small stuff!
Focus on tidying up the few areas we might be using for photos and that’s more than enough! This means putting away anything that isn’t a permanent fixture in the decor of these rooms (Kleenex boxes on nightstands, bassinets next to the bed, laundry baskets, toys…etc). As we work our way through your session, I will move and shift anything that could be distracting in your photos, so again, don’t stress about it all too much. I joke that I will usually end up making a bigger mess as we go.
What else can you do to prepare your home?
When I first get to your house, I will usually do a quick walk-through to explore the areas you envision doing photos. I will be looking to see how good the light is in each space and weighing it with your wishes and vision for your photos. It is helpful to me to see the natural light in each room so I will usually turn off overhead lights and lamps and open curtains and shades. If there is anything that would prohibit me from seeing the light during our initial walk-through, you could have that ready before I get there but it’s usually just an easy part of the walkthrough step.
When it comes to areas that we might be photographing, like the crib or bassinet, make sure you have the sheets that will compliment the colors you want your new baby in. Sometimes strong patterns are cute but they can clash if you will have your little one in a patterned onesie for instance. If the pattern will compliment a plain swaddle or onesie, then we can of course leave them! And this might sound silly but if the crib sheets are fresh from a drawer, they will usually need to be ironed. You can usually prevent wrinkles by popping them in the dryer for a short time right before stretching them to put them on the mattress.
What if it’s dark and dreary? Will you need us to turn the lights on?
As a Pittsburgh photographer, I know far too much, that dreary days happen more than we like in Pittsburgh. However, as long as you have windows, there will be light that we can use. I prefer to use natural light for your photo session so I will not be using any lights in your home. Artificial and overhead lights can cause weird color casts and unnatural shadows. I will gravitate towards the best source of natural light in the spaces you have available.
As you can see, the work you need to do before our newborn session is minimal. When I arrive, we’ll determine the final spots for your photos and get everything going. I’m there to not only capture your memories but do so in a way that honors your story and your life (without the Kleenex boxes in the way). Remember, I’m a mom too – so I remember what these crazy days are like. Take a deep breath, prepare your family (and your new baby!) and we’ll have a great time documenting your newborn baby’s homecoming!