your newborn session how to prep, relax, and have fun


So you've booked your newborn session. You're waiting anxiously for the upcoming arrival of your new little one. Your hospital bags are packed. Now what?

Newborn sessions can be stressful, especially if you are trying to prepare for them after baby arrives. I want you to enjoy your experience so I've put together this planning guide for you. You will be ready to have fun with your new little one in front of the camera and ultimately be one step closer to getting custom images you will enjoy for years to come.

before your session

Feed baby prior to my arrival, and try to keep baby awake. This will help ensure more success in capturing those squishy, sleepy newborn photos!

Turn up your thermostat to 75 degrees and prepare to be warm. I'll also be bringing a space heater if we need a little extra to get your little one sleeping.

I'll do a walk through of your home prior to starting as I want to find the best light and showcase the most fun and interesting areas of your home. And don't worry -- your home doesn't have to be spic and span!

Sessions last at least 2 hours. There is no rush. We go with the flow and take breaks often to allow time for feeding, burping, diaper changes, and soothing baby.

what to wear - baby & kids

Dress baby in loose-fitting clothing. It won’t leave marks and is easy to take off without disrupting him or her.

I may ask to use some swaddle blankets as wraps for a few different photographs. Neutral colors work best and create a more timeless look.

Including older brother/sister(s) in your newborn’s portraits is the perfect way to document this fleeting time in your lives. For big sisters, plain white tank tops with jeans, or soft, subtle vintage white or cream dresses work really well. Simple goes a long way, and it brings the focus of the photos to their beautiful faces. Whatever you decide on, make sure it is something they are comfortable in. Please keep their hair down and unsettled, as I love to incorporate it in the session.

Favorite places to shop for kids: Nordstrom, vintage or homemade finds on Etsy, thrift stores, Wildflowers (younger girls dresses), Zulily, Kidizen, and Target.

simple tops with a little detail for big sisters

For big brother: A snug pair of jeans and shirtless are preferred. If he (or you) are not comfortable with this, a fitted white t-shirt or neutral clothing is just fine. Message shirts are really popular and fun right now so go for it! Make sure you love the message (even when the shirts go out of style).

Or let him pick what he wants to wear!

Comfortable is best! I want to celebrate who you are, right now, and tell your true story.

natural and minimal

Parents, you are a big part of the show

Photographing the connection between you and your baby is one of my all time favorite things, because the immediate love, intimacy, and vulnerability a newborn brings into your family is palpable.

what to wear - Parents

Dads/Partners are encouraged to wear what they are comfortable in, like a simple, neutral t-shirt with a good, snug pair of jeans. If you're a casual family, then embrace it. if you want your family to be a little more styled or trendy, then go for that. I think being in your home gives you free reign to dress how your would at home, barefoot and all (actually, barefoot preferred unless you all have super fun socks!)

Moms: Please decide on your outfit first, and wear what you love! Wear what you feel good in. The same rules apply for you as for spouses. If you love neutral colors, then wear neutral colors. If you love bright and bold colors, then go for it! Free-flowing, light and airy blouses or dresses always photograph well and give photos a touch of detail and texture without distracting from the story. Also, rest assured, I aim to photograph you using flattering angles and light to bring out the natural beauty in your family.

comfortable, neutral clothing choices for this mom

If you immediatelythought of that one top you wish you had in 20 colors, then you're set! You don't have to go out an buy anything. But if you want some recommendations, my favorite shopping sites for fun, flowy tops and dresses are: Anthropologie, Free People, Nordstrom, Madewell, thrift shops, Etsy for rare vintage or homemade finds. Other popular sites for something more styled or funky are Zara, BHLDN, Poshmark, Show Me Your Mumu, ASOS, or Lulus. Last, Rent the Runway offers many different styles of dresses, blouses, and much more to rent!

If you need assistance, I am here for you! I offer free online styling services to help you choose the best outfit for you and the rest of your family! I'll send you a link and you fill out your style and color preferences, then the magic submit button will give you some great options to either buy or draw inspiration from. Contact me at least 1-month ahead of time if you're interested in styling services.

during your session

I will ask your spouse or partner at certain times to help me. I also may ask for your help just to spot baby while I change lenses or get certain items. I may need their help getting baby to sleep. Usually when they smell mama, they will wake up. :) Just think about it this way - you get extra time to relax or check Instagram!

We'll shoot in different areas of your home depending on what I see and where beautiful natural light is, and I'll also take a few detail photos of your home.

your moments, naturally.

your photos, your moments.

Last, I would like you tell you about the types of newborn photos we will capture. We will get candid but elegant and natural cuddly family & sibling photos; baby with Mom, baby with Dad/partner, and all the beautiful un-posed close-ups. We will get some posed baby photos, but my favorite moments to capture are him or her snuggled comfortably and naturally with you in your favorite surroundings - in your home where you are raising your family.

Oh, and I have one key suggestion. It's okay to laugh! In fact, I encourage it. I see so many newborn family photos that are absolutely beautiful, but parents are so serious! I know you're tired. I get it. But if baby burps or toots, or spits up, it's okay to laugh! And it lightens up the mood and the energy when it is captured in a photo.

flexibility is key

Newborns are unpredictable. Sometimes they sleep really well and sometimes they don't. Sometimes all they want to do is eat! So my point is, your baby is in charge and we have to roll with the punches. If he or she is really cranky for some reason, we can take a few photos of toes and hands, then swaddle them up and soothe them. Dad/partner can hold them and we can get a quick photo of baby's cowlick, even if he's crying. Then we will pause and wait for baby to fall asleep and move on. Please do not let these situations stress you. It is very normal, and expected actually. We will get beautiful photos you will love.

after your session

Once the session is over, I send the film to the lab for processing. I get your digital scans back in 7-10 days. Your online gallery will be up in two weeks. Expect 70-90 images in your gallery.

You will receive an invitation to view your slideshow of images first. You watch it as many times as you'd like and will be asked to purchase one of 3 photo collections that best suit your needs. All 3 have a certain amount of digital files available for download. After you have made your purchase, you will receive additional email with download and Storefront instructions. Feel free to email me if you would like to see the three collection choices again before your slideshow is ready.

Three Collections available

Your Storefront

The top two collections contain print credits that you can use towards gorgeous custom print products for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. Simply go to your online store (your Storefront in your gallery) and preview the best print options for your needs!

instant wall art

Let me do the work for you. Choose from 8 popular wall gallery groupings so you can start enjoying your photos today, every day.

Instant Wall Art starts at $900

framed prints

Want someone else to deal with framing your favorite prints? These gorgeous frames come free of lint, smudges, fingerprints (or dog hair) and are ready to hang.

canvas gallery wraps

Canvas wraps add life, texture, and dimension to any photo, and come ready to hang and enjoy.

10x10 lay-flat photo album

Having trouble choosing which photos to print? Then print them all! A photo album is the perfect way to be able to enjoy all the photos, put together in a beautiful way that tells your family story. These are the perfect fixture on your coffee table for you and your family to enjoy, forever.

additional products

Once your gallery is up, you will see additional products available that make great gifts, like calendars, mini-accordion books, cards, magazines, and instant prints.

Thank you

for choosing me to document this special time in your lives! I am so honored and excited to be a part of it.

Please contact me at any time if you have questions about anything. I'm happy to chat!


keep in touch!


Kim Hildebrand Photography