The most widely loved facet of a home newborn photo session is how easy they are. You wake up on the day of your session and there is no packing up the kids, toys, snacks, etc., to move to an unfamiliar studio where you feel tense and anxious. You are in your house with your stuff creating a relaxed and authentic session. However, no matter if you’re in the studio or in-home, there is one question that plagues us all. WHAT DO WE WEAR FOR OUR NEWBORN SESSION?
It seems like a really daunting task, so here are a few tips to ease your stress.
The first and most important tip when thinking about how to put outfits together for newborn photos is to KEEP IT CASUAL. Pause and think about the types of things that you wear at home. For me, my first choice includes my frumpy clothes, but right besides that is relaxed and comfy clothing. So, things like your favorite pair of jeans and a cute t-shirt or the most comfortable flowy dress you own. The only time most of us are at home and dressed up is when we’re getting ready to leave to go on a date or to a fancy party. No one is dressed in a formal gown watching tv or doing dishes. A formal dress looks out of place in the home. So, when beginning to plan what to wear for newborn sessions just think “keep it casual”.
Now pause here! Notice how I said “casual” not “slouchy” or “sloppy”. I am not saying you need to be in your ugly pjs or mismatched yoga pants and hoodie. (Although, if you’re in cute matching family pjs it might be really cute.) In the end, you choose clothing you don’t mind having photographed. At the same time, you want to wear clothing that won’t look out of place when the image is printed and framed in your own home.
Another tip that tags along quite nicely with keeping your outfits casual are to do your best to not steal focus. Now, what do I mean by that? The center point of these sessions is your newborn and how they fit into the existing fabric of your family. So, the last thing you want to do is to wear a color or print that is too loud. This will draw focus away from your little newborn. The best way to do that is to have the family wear neutrals. That can be jeans, khakis, grays, white, creams, tans, etc. These colors ensure that you will not split the focus from the color or print that your newborn is wearing.
This is NOT to say that you can’t wear color. If anything, any colors or prints that you choose should complement what your newborn is wearing. A great way to incorporate color is to coordinate with what you plan to have your newborn wearing. For example, let’s say that you want your new baby girl to wear a deep mauve. A very subtle pastel pink dress for mom can complement nicely or Dad can sport a white shirt with small pink stripes. The colors or prints you choose to wear (if any) can be used to match a particular swaddle or a print that has hints of a coordinating color.
This tip is probably my favorite one. A great way to keep from doing too much with the family outfits for newborn sessions in-home is to play with textures. I will even add this is a great tip for ANY family session that you have, but particularly lifestyle newborn sessions. This is especially useful for lifestyle newborn sessions because homes host a large variety of highlights and shadows.
Textures LOVE this!
Textures really grab onto the contrast of light and shadows. So, having textures incorporated into your outfits is like delicately adding a print of sorts to the shoot. You can add texture to the clothing of anyone in the family. Textures like a waffled knit, or a heathered fabric (great for dads and boys). For mom, it could be a chunky or ribbed sweater, or a pretty and flowy knit dress. Adding texture is a great way to add depth and keep the image from feeling flat. You can add visual interest and keep the colors neutral. This ensures the main pop of color is reserved for the baby.
Now, it may seem that I am about to contradict literally everything I just said, but when planning what to wear for newborn sessions consider coordinating with your home décor. This is not to say we should throw tips 1-3 out the window, but this is where you can interject your personality a little bit. The trending style right now is as neutral as you can get and maybe if you’re feeling saucy to add one color. I myself am in this camp and love this style. However, if you’re thinking “Mel, neutrals are so boring. WHERE’S THE COLOR?” Then this tip is for you. If you have that vibrant personality and love color, chances are your home décor reflects that in some way, shape or form. And you know what? That is wonderful too! I want to lean into that.
For example, this family’s home décor had a very Spanish/Aztec theme to their home. The prints and colors reflected that. In their photos, you will see colors like deep emerald green and a beautiful saturated golden yellow. These were colors that already existed in their home, and they used their outfits to blend in with that instead of taking the neutral approach which would have actually clashed against it. Choosing your outfits as an extension of your home décor is a way that you can really make it your own and that you are proud of.
If you have followed me for any length of time you have probably heard me say. I preach the idea that when you are getting ready to have your photos taken, you DON’T need to go shopping for all-new wardrobes for everyone in the family. Every year when I have my personal family photos taken, I put together a video of what I do and how I do it. And every year I make sure that I put outfits together without buying a single new piece of clothing. (Mind you, this is for my family of 5 people)
With that in mind, not feel like you need to go shopping; especially when you have a newborn and every single little stressor that comes along with it. The last thing you need is an extra trip to Target spending way too long comparing this dress with those pants for dad and that shirt for a sibling. I can almost guarantee you that between all your closets, you have enough. There will be enough clothing to put outfits together that is cohesive and beautiful for your lifestyle newborn session. Work with what you have and it will be beautiful and most importantly it will reflect your family perfectly.
This tip is just an extension of Tip 5. Don’t overthink what to wear for newborn sessions. This session is about you and your family and welcoming this new little person into your lives and the last thing you need is to spend precious emotional and physical brain power worrying about what silly outfits you will wear. That is not the point of these sessions anyways. These newborn sessions are designed to freeze and savor a tiny little moment that goes by SO INCREDIBLY FAST. Almost every family I photograph gets their pictures back and not once do they even remember the outfits they’re wearing. They are going to blend into the background compared to this new and beautiful life that is entering this family. Instead of what you’re wearing you will see the smiles and connections exchanged between you and every other person in the photograph.
Check out this Apartment Newborn Session.
Or for more photo inspiration
Check out How to Snap the Best Monthly Photos in Your Baby’s First Year.
Melanie B of Mel B Photo is a professional photographer based in Tomball, Cypress, and The Woodlands, TX. I specialize in Newborn, Family, and Maternity Photography. For more information on packages with me and/or opportunities to book, feel free to visit my website.
Specific Newborn Packages can be found HERE.
Have more questions about Newborn Session?
Check out my Lifestyle Newborn FAQ or Behind the Scenes at a Newborn Session
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