How to Prepare for a Lifestyle Newborn Photoshoot

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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been introducing you to what is lifestyle newborn photography. We talked about the difference between posed sessions and lifestyle sessions and why I love a casual lifestyle newborn photoshoot.

Lifestyle baby photos are all about being relaxed at home. You probably are wondering how can you prepare your home and your family for your session. It’s not as hard as it sounds I promise! I’m going to break things down for you in this simple guide.

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Let’s start with locations

Obviously, I will be coming to your home for the session but we don’t shoot in every room. Typically I like to start in the nursery. I love to document all the adorable elements of a nursery. The mobile that was picked out after hours of Etsy searches, the blanket that was handmade by an excited Grandma, the rocking chair that has been passed down for generations.

Those are the elements that add to the overall design you’ve created. I want to make sure we capture that. If you are looking for help decorating your nursery check out this article The Ultimate Checklist- How to create the Best Baby Nursery by

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lifestyle photoshoot
lifestyle photoshoot

Typically after that, we will move to either the master bedroom or the living room. Lighting will dictate this. I’m looking for a room with the best light that has space for the whole family to cuddle. A bed or a couch is the perfect spot to gather everyone including the family dogs for a beautiful portrait.

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Now let’s talk about cleaning

I have three children and I vividly remember the plethora of houseguests after baby. I completely understand how overwhelming it can be to take care of the baby plus entertain the family and try to recover from delivery. So do not stress about cleaning. Like I said we are only going to be in two locations.

So your entire house DOES NOT need to be spotless! In fact, if I see a spot I want to shoot and there is stuff in the way I will happily move things around to give you the illusion of a spotless house. I just might need a slight reminder of where to put it back! If it fits in the budget I highly recommend having your house cleaned before the baby arrives so it is one less thing to stress about!

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Preparing the family

The first question I always get is what are we going to wear?!?!? I’ve got you covered, don’t worry! I have great what to wear guides and tips with easy outfit ideas. Plus check out this blog post What to Wear for Lifestyle Newborn Photos! So you can relax knowing everyone will look stylish and put together for your lifestyle newborn photoshoot.

lifestyle newborn photoshoot

The second part of preparing your family is letting them know what to expect. For Dad, know that I will need 1-2 hours of your time but I won’t be photographing you the entire time. In fact, you’ll probably only be in front of the camera 20min or so. If you have other children then Dad will spend a good portion of time keeping them entertained before and after their turn. For siblings tell them that someone fun is coming over to take their picture. Feel free to offer bribes for good behavior, you have my full support!

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Preparing mom

You are the most important person in this session. You are the comforting arms that your baby will settle down in, you are the food source, and if you are stressed the baby will pick up on it. So give yourself an extra hour to get ready. I’m not kidding. I want you to take your time and have time to feed the baby as you get ready. The more relaxed and beautiful you feel the better the photos. Everyone picks up on mom’s mood so as long as you are happy they will be too!

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lifestyle newborn session melissa arlena photography

Preparing baby

This part is pretty simple, make sure they have a full belly when I arrive along with a clean diaper. Plain white diapers work best so patterns don’t show through. Dress the baby in a simple white short sleeve onesie so I can get started with photos of them in the nursery. We can take breaks during the session for feeding top offs if needed. Have any special props like bows for girls ready so I can incorporate them into the photos.

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About halfway through our lifestyle newborn photoshoot we can swaddle the baby in a cute swaddle blanket (I’ve linked to some of my favs here) or switch to a knotted gown for a different look.

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How to Prepare for a Lifestyle Newborn Photoshoot

If you follow these tips we will have a great lifestyle newborn photoshoot! Ready to book your Charlottesville or Richmond VA newborn photographer? Click the link below to get started!

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    Miami newborn photographer

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    I'm Melissa! Luxury maternity and lifestyle newborn photographer in Charlottesville, sail boater, lover of Lilly Pulitzer, and obsessed with true crime and interior design. I'm so glad you found me!


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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


    Melissa serves Charlottesville, Richmond, Staunton, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Gordonsville and beyond.



    Melissa Arlena Photography captures newborns, maternity, and families.

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