7 Secret tips for beautiful in-home Newborn Photos


I'm so glad that lifestyle newborn photography became a thing - the trend began in the early 2000's and took off like wildfire (with good reason). While traditional studio photography still has it's place and can be done beautifully, there's just nothing quite like intimacy and familiarity of memories made within the walls of your own home. Particularly if you have other small children participating in the shoot, not having to rush out the door and pack everyone up can be a huge bonus.


With almost a decade under my belt photographing newborns in their homes around Franklin and Nashville, TN .... I humbly call myself an expert. I've learned a lot over the years about what works and what doesn't when it comes to natural, joyful, lifestyle newborn sessions. I'm excited to share with you now, my top 7 tips to make your photos beautiful and stress free.

Family of four all smile as mother holds newborn baby and father hugs toddler girl as they sit in the nursery

Tip 1.

Crank your thermostat ... 78 or above is what I tell my clients. A cold newborn is not a happy newborn. They will be more relaxed, sleepy, and content for the session if they are warm. We'll all be sweating a little by the end of the session, but I promise it will be worth it! And it's nothing that a little Photoshop magic can't fix if it shows in your images.


DISCLAIMER: this temperature is appropriate for a short window of time while shooting photos and closely working with baby. It is NOT SAFE to keep it this warm for baby otherwise. Overheating is a known link to SIDS and is not advised. As soon as your newborn session is over, crank that temperature back down to a normal, comfortable number.

Close up of newborn baby's head, he has blonde hair and his mothers arms are blurry in the background

Tip 2.


Feed baby within 30 minutes of starting. A fed baby is usually a happy (and sleepier) baby. Also, be prepared to take feed breaks as needed during the session. Sometimes a little "top off" will do just the trick. It also gives an opportunity to document some sweet moments between mom and baby, if desired. This can be done tastefully and delicately, so even if it might sound weird to you at first, these photos might end up being some of your most cherished memories.

Tip 3.


Keep a pacifier readily available. Sometimes a quick fix on the pacifier can help settle a restless baby. Newer pacifiers are pretty enough to even use in photos...some of my favorites are these and these.


Tip 4.


Hide clutter in the rooms that have best window light. Usually, the rooms I utilize most are the nursery and master bedroom. Occasionally, however - especially in older homes like you find here in downtown Franklin, TN - the windows in bedrooms are small and/or singular. In that case, we might be using the living room or even the kitchen. So, any room with bright window light is fair game!


Mother holds her newborn sleeping on her chest as her husband kisses her head.

Tip 5.


Speaking of windows....open all the blinds. In my session prep guide, I include this tip and it's an easy time saver for me. Of course, I can do this if clients forget - nbd. I'm all about that light! So we're going to let as much in as possible.


Tip 6.


Remove any crib bumpers. I know they are sweet and you deliberated for months over just the perfect bedding - but remember what I said about wanting all the light? I love to get photos of your newborn in their crib. That crib bumper, however, casts lots of shadows that aren't desirable. I promise, it's a small sacrifice that will make a huge difference.

Mother sits in rocking chair holding her newborn baby in all white

Tip 7.


Last, but not least....and I know you'll be shocked by this one ;) ... mom, dad, and siblings should wear light and neutral colors. A neutral palette is an easy way to keep the focus on baby, not on outfits. White is of course a favorite, but all neutrals work well and have a timelessness that won't fade with trends. Dark and bold colors also have the tendency to throw color casts onto baby's skin - which is sometimes not even fixable in photoshop.

Mother snuggles on a bed with her newborn son and toddler daughter as they lay head first.

One more bonus tip for you: Relax. I gently lead my clients in a way that will bring out the love and connection between family members. If you're tense or stressed, it's hard to let your natural joy show. And that - joy - is honestly the best thing you can have at your session to ensure beautiful newborn photos <3


Ready to start planning your newborn session with me? Let's chat!