How to Prepare for an In Home Newborn Session?

newborn baby girl laying next to her puppy sisters yawning

What is an in-home newborn session like with Pittsburgh photographer Pamela Anticole? 

I offer a relaxed newborn photography experience for Pittsburgh families, coming directly to your home after baby arrives for a lifestyle photography session.

As a lifestyle newborn photographer I offer a more candid, relaxed photography experience. My clients are more interested in having pictures of natural emotions than in overly posed portraits; they are looking for me to create pictures that will bring back memories of that special unique time after baby’s arrival. Lifestyle newborn photography is a really relaxed way to get some beautiful images of your changing family, in the environment that is most meaningful and comfortable for you – in your home.

(In addition to in home newborn photography sessions, I do also offer sessions in your hospital room or at your birth location- contact me for details about those offerings!)

Read on to learn more about my newborn photography sessions and how to prepare for them… (all of these pictures are from one session with Baby M; see more from their session here!)

black and white photo of baby girl lying in crib with mom petting wrinkles on her back

When should we do our newborn session? 

For in home newborn sessions, we have some flexibility in when we can do the session. If your priority is photos of a sleepy baby, then aim to schedule your session for within the first 10 days baby is at home. If you don’t mind pictures of a more alert baby, then we can wait a bit longer to do your photoshoot. Just keep in mind that baby grows super quickly those first few months, so you don’t want to wait too long for your newborn photos! After 3 or 4 months, he will be smiling and interactive… and by around 6-7 months, she will be sitting up. Give me a call once baby arrives and we will get you on the books!

As for time of day… As a photographer, I will plan on using natural light for your newborn pictures, in order to avoid disturbing baby and maintaining a natural feel to the pictures. It’s helpful if you pay attention to when the most window light is available in your nursery and/or master bedroom, so that we can plan to do the photoshoot during that time. Especially here in Pittsburgh this can vary depending on the time of year, so we’ll chat about possibilities in the days leading up to your pictures.

color closeup of newborn baby girl's nails, wrapped in lace onesie

How should we dress?

This is the biggest question I get before a newborn session. For your own clothing, the word is NEUTRAL. Put together a simple, classic outfit. Avoid patterns! Most importantly, wear something that fits well, and that you are comfortable wearing at home lounging with baby.

For baby, stick to neutral options, too. Lifestyle photographers do not bring props, so think about how you will dress your little one. Pick up a stretchy textured knit wrap that you would love to photograph him in, and some neutral onesies. Add a little head bow for your little girl and you are set.

Feel free to reach out and text me a picture of the outfit you are considering, if you would like to consult on this ahead of time!

Where will we be taking pictures?

We will most likely be shooting in either your bedroom or baby’s room, but we could cuddle up in a rocking chair or a big comfy sofa in the living room. There is no perfect location; ultimately we will follow beautiful light and let you enjoy your new little one.

The truth is, half my clients don’t even have a nursery to shoot in… and I am still working on putting together my 3 year old’s nursery! 🙂

black and white photo of little newborn baby wrapped up and snuggling on mom's lap while puppy sniffs her ear

Will you get pictures of just baby alone?

Absolutely! We will photograph baby alone, along with capturing pictures of baby being adored by family, and candid shots of you doing newborn things: rocking, feeding, putting down for a nap, changing diapers, etc.

I do want to emphasize that lifestyle newborn photography is a more modern approach to your newborn photos, focusing on capturing pictures of baby in natural positions and poses. This means we are not there to capture the more traditional stylized newborn poses such as baby in a basket or with props. (If you are looking for this more traditional style, I have some fantastic photographers to recommend!)

Photos of baby will feel very natural! Lying in her crib, being cradled in your arms, against your chest, or on your lap. We will rest him on a blanket and rock him by the window. These newborn photos feel both low maintenance and REAL, and are all the more endurably valuable for that.

Do I have to be in the pictures?

The focus with lifestyle newborn photography is capturing the awe and wonder of this tiny new being rocking your world, so it is really not possible to do the session without parental involvement. Of course the focus is on baby, but you are part of the experience, too… rocking baby, snuggling, and holding baby up for eskimo kisses. Even a simple photo of baby in the crib is made so much more special with your hand giving her head a gentle caress. All eyes may be on baby, but we can feel your presence in the image as well.

two moms snuggling and looking at their newborn baby girl by adoption

Who else can be part of the session?

I invite big siblings, both of the furry and human variety, to join us!

Try not to stress if both big siblings and pets don’t cooperate… Remember that they are all dealing with big changes in family dynamics, and they might not always be on board for pictures, and that’s okay. Know that I have four kids of my own, and that goes a long way toward helping me get big siblings involved! I always address big siblings first before meeting the baby, and make every attempt to make them feel special, too.

Do we have to clean our home? 

A lot of my newborn photography clients wonder if having the session at home means they need to scrub their home clean… the answer is that it depends on YOU!

If you don’t mind having a bit of natural clutter around to memorialize this hectic time, then there is no need to clean at all! If you’re looking for cleaner, more spartan pinterest-friendly pictures, then you should definitely plan on having a couple of rooms cleaned out and clutter-free before I arrive. Keep in mind that I will not be cleaning your home while I am there, so if your goal is a cleaner look, then plan to take care of that ahead of time…

There really is no right answer to which is better… just think about which pictures you would cherish more, especially once your babies grow. And give yourself some grace, because you’ve just had a baby after all! No one will notice your home when they see all the love you feel for your new little one.

dog butt runs in front of the camera while trying to take a newborn family portrait

What can I do to prepare for your arrival?

To ensure sleepy baby, keep him awake for the hour before I arrive, then feed like mad! A tired baby recently well fed should fall into a deep sleep around the time we get started. Also dial up your heat as much as you can comfortably stand, or consider putting a space heater in the room where we will be primarily shooting. Finally, pull out all clothing that baby may wear during her session. If you prefer cleaner looking pictures, tidy up a bit and remove clutter.

What will happen during the session?

When I first arrive I will greet big siblings, then chat with you a bit while we check out the rooms where we will be photographing. No problem if you are still feeding baby when I arrive! We can take 15 minutes or so to ease in and get ready for the session.

Once baby eats and falls asleep, we will focus on taking pictures of baby alone & with siblings. Afterward I’ll encourage lots of snuggling in different locations, being sure to capture all those adorable little details (yawns! wrinkles! tiny toes!). I’ll keep shooting as you change diapers, outfits, or pass the baby off from parent to parent. My goal is to capture all the love! If you are comfortable I will also capture photos of baby nursing.

I generally allot around 2 hours for newborn sessions, because really we are working on baby’s timeline here and who knows when they’ll decide to be fussy! But having gone through the newborn stage four times myself, I know firsthand how exhausted you are feeling… Don’t worry, I will plan on moving swiftly and wrapping up your session as soon as baby is ready to cooperate. 🙂 Your session may be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours, so try to leave a good amount of time free for us- just in case!

Whew, that’s a lot of information!!! I am happy to chat at any time about YOUR situation… definitely reach out and we will get something scheduled!

black and white photo of moms snuggling with baby girl in window light

I take a limited number of newborn photography sessions per year… contact me today and I will send over more information!

Popular Blog Posts...


Pamela Anticole

Serving PA OH & Beyond

Pamela Anticole is a Pittsburgh based newborn and family photographer. Her award winning style is thoughtful and emotional, and your client experience is both relaxed and fun!


Pamela will photograph your baptism, birthday party, anniversary, bar/bat mitzvah, or wedding in a documentary style learned as a newspaper photojournalist. It is her focus on real, natural relationships and ability to anticipate emotional candid moments that bring sensitivity to her work as a documentary photographer. Pamela is located in the Wexford area of Pittsburgh, PA and available for family photography within 45 miles of downtown Pittsburgh. She also offers photography education for parents both online and on location in person in the Pittsburgh area.