How to Prepare Home for Newborn Photo Session

One of the most common questions I get from Moms is, “How do I prepare my home for the newborn photo session?”. I get it. You are worried about getting your home, condo, or apartment spic-and-span, getting rid of clutter, washing the windows, putting all the toys away, and making the kids clean their rooms. You’re wondering how you do all this and you still haven’t gotten around to even choosing outfits and getting the kids haircuts. Or figuring out what you’re going to have for dinner tonight. I get it. We all lead super busy lives where there is never enough time in the day. You were excited about booking this session but now it seems a little daunting and wouldn’t it just be easier to have the family photos taken outside? I’m here to tell you why it’s important to have your family photos in your home and how preparing for that doesn’t have to be a huge and daunting task.

mom and dad cuddling newborn in nursery mirror reflection

First, Why Your Home?

I am so incredibly passionate about taking your family photos in your home for several reasons that I’ll bullet point here (but you can always reach out to me and ask me more about my philosophy anytime).

1. This is where the magic happens.  This is where you are raising your kids to be the best little humans possible before they step out into the world.  It’s a very important and meaningful place.

close up of swaddled newborn baby in dads arms
dad holding newborn on stairs while mom walks by
mom holding newborn baby surrounded by plants

2. Your home is also a safe place.  You and your kids (and fur-babies) feel comfortable here.  They can be themselves here without judgement.

dad kissing newborn and child taking pretend photo
toddler hanging out with mom and newborn baby in nursery

3.  Kids don’t feel the need to “perform” for the camera at home.  I’ve found that because they are in their comfortable and safe place, they let their guard down and I see who they truly are.

mom and dad cuddling newborn on living room couch

4.  Last, your home, apartment, or condo has personality.  From the design and architecture to your favorite books and latest travel photos framed on the wall, your space tells me more about who you are and who your family is and what is important to you.  And I want to capture that too.

mom rocking baby in nursery while dad checks in on them
newborn artwork in nursery room details

Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about how you can best prepare your home for this photo session you’ve invested in.

Tips for Home Preparation for Photoshoot

  1. Take a deep breath. Before going on a mass tidying and cleaning session, let’s talk. Seriously. I typically have a pre-session consult with every family I work with to a) get to know you better and vice versa, and b) figure out a session game plan. Besides talking about what is important to you, wardrobe, and everything else, we talk about your living space. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or large, messy or clean, updated or not! We figure out which rooms we’ll mostly be shooting in for the session. These are the rooms you will want to focus on – not the entire space!
mom holding newborn in front of window and newborn double exposure
Dad snuggling newborn baby

2. It doesn’t have to be perfect.  As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as perfect.  And your house, condo, or apartment isn’t either.  So just let it go.  I want your house to look lived in and loved, like a real family hangs out here.  See the examples here with signs of imperfection (toys on the floor- check; crumpled up bedsheets – check; clutter on the side table – check).  To me, all of this tells a bit of a story.  And one last thing to note about this:  it is my job to tell your story through my eyes, so if there’s a bit too much clutter then I’ll help you move it, or I’ll change angles so it won’t show up in the photos. 🙂

family with toddler and newborn hanging out on bed
close up photos of mom holding newborn relaxing

 3. Lamps on, recessed lighting off.  Recessed lighting creates weird shadows on faces and gives skin a yellow tint, so feel free to turn them all off.  Lamps, however, are cozy and give warmth to a room, so please have them on.  Open window shades in the rooms we will shoot in.  And don’t worry – if you feel like your home or apartment is really dark – maybe too dark for photos, it is my job to have a solution for that.  I will bring artificial lights (I used flash in all photos shown here and still get a very natural, non-flashy look).

And FYI, the two sessions below were in small dark apartments!

mom kissing newborn baby while sitting on bed
mom snuggling baby on bed and mom with baby double exposure
  1.  We may move furniture around.  Many times I move furniture based on the light in your space or to make a pleasing composition (like move a coffee table so it doesn’t chop your legs off in a photo).

5.  I will ask you if kids can do certain things they normally may not be allowed to do, like stand on a table or the kitchen counter, jump on the sofa or bed, or sit on a windowsill.  I will always ask you in private first if it is okay!  If it is not okay, don’t hesitate to tell me so!

mom and toddler snuggling newborn baby

 6. Be prepared to snuggle.  I love to end sessions by having the family snuggle all together on a bed.  Typically the best bed is your bed – the biggest one!  It is helpful to have clothes and other items cleared off the bed before.  If you have a fun colorful quilt or a clean and simple bedspread or duvet, but that on top.  Your bed doesn’t have to be made, though, unless you cringe at the thought. 😉

family hanging out and having fun on bed with newborn and toddler
mom and dad snuggling with newborn baby on couch
  1.  Pets are invited in on the fun!  They will be really curious about me and what we’re doing.  They’ll maybe bark at me (totally okay), lunge at me (has happened before), jump up on me (yep, that too and I have a doggie that has no manners in regards to this as well), be scared of me, or smile at me.  I love all of it.  They are part of the family, so let’s get them in the photos.  Just have some treats handy!
dogs hanging out on nursery rocker
mom dad newborn and dog hanging out on the bed

8.  Have fun and enjoy the session.  The session really is a little journey we go on together.  I will direct you on where to be, how to sit and what to do.  If we need to move stuff or tweak a few things in your rooms, we’ll do it together!  I’m up front and will tell you what’s working and what’s not. Enjoy the process and enjoy having a fun, relaxing time with your family and I’ll do the rest!

newborn baby with animal pacifier
close up of twin newborns
dad smiling with newborn baby


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Hi, I'm Kim Hildebrand!

Photographer & Online Business Educator

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Kim Hildebrand