Lifestyle Newborn Photographer in Richmond VA

lifestyle newborn Photographers in Miami

As a lifestyle newborn photographer in Richmond I hear the same questions over and over from my clients about their upcoming lifestyle newborn photos. I thought this would be a great topic to cover on my blog so all new parents can learn more!

Plus I’m joining a blog circle this week and am excited to feature a photographer over in London. You’ll find that link at the bottom of my post.

lifestyle newborn Photographers in Miami

When should we book a Newborn Photographer in Richmond?

Most newborn photographers in Charlottesville and Richmond book up 2-3 months in advance. I personally limit my calendar to 4-6 sessions a month so I have more flexibility for my client’s schedules. If you find a maternity or newborn photographer you really love I recommend booking them as soon as possible even if it is 6 months out! There is nothing I hate more than having to turn a client away because I’m already booked. Contact me now to get on my calendar!

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What age should Newborn photos be taken?

Most often the recommendation for newborn photos is to do the session within the first 2 weeks/14 days after your baby is born. This ensures that you get those teeny tiny baby photos and typically they sleep deeper during those first couple weeks. As a lifestyle newborn photographer in Richmond, I also prefer the first two weeks but have done sessions up to 4 weeks without issue. My focus is not on posing or props but instead natural images of the baby in the crib and in mom and dad’s arms. Check out my portfolio here!

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How do I prepare my newborn for Richmond newborn pictures?

There are a few things most photographers in Richmond recommend for newborn sessions.

  1. Please interact with your baby as much as possible to keep him/her awake for the hour prior to our session, this a great time to give them a bath to help stimulate them. Then give him/her a nice long feeding right before I get there to ensure he/she is nice and sleepy when I arrive.
  2. If you are nursing, please avoid eating anything spicy that might upset the baby’s stomach for 24 hours prior to our session. 
  3. Also for our session, I ask that you bump up the heat if you like to keep your house cool, babies sleep much better when they are warm. I don’t want to make everyone else miserable and hot so just a small bump for those that like chilly houses. (My family definitely falls in that category :))
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What should parents wear in newborn photos?

As a Richmond lifestyle photographer I recommend jeans with a nice top or a maxi dress for moms. Baltic Born and PinkBlush have beautiful dresses for mom! When it comes to dresses the longer the better especially for sitting on the bed photos. For dad’s jeans or khakis and a nice top (polo shirt, button-down with sleeves rolled up, sweater). Avoid anything with logos or graphics as these take away from the classic look we are going for.

When it comes to color palette think about the décor of your home and where photos of the baby might be placed like the nursery.  Are there warmer colors or cooler colors in that space?  Softer colors work much better and are less distracting when working with newborns. Avoid neon colors like hot pink, orange, neon green and canary yellow. These can cast colors onto the baby’s skin that are not pleasing. Pastel colors and neutrals are best like light pink, blue, white, cream, gray etc.

lifestyle newborn Photographers in Miami

How should I dress my baby for a photoshoot?

A simple white onesie is what I recommend to all my clients. The white color will help bounce clean light onto their faces and it doesn’t upstage the baby. My goal is bright and natural photos that look classic not dated. For girls, it is easy to add a cute bow headband in a soft pastel color.

Once we have those classic images I recommend a cute swaddle blanket or knotted gown that has some personality. I often see floral prints, custom name blankets, and bold patterns when it comes to my Miami newborn photo sessions.

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How long does a newborn photo session take?

Lifestyle Richmond newborn photography sessions typically take 60 minutes but can take up to 90 minutes if the baby is fussy. I find that if there are no siblings and the baby is happy we can be done in as little as 45 minutes. I allot 90 minutes to all my clients just in case we need to stop for breaks or top-offs.

For clients that have other children sessions usually take an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. That extra time is spent getting photos of the siblings and the baby.

If you are looking for a posed baby session then most likely you are looking at a 3-4 hour session. This is because the photographers in Richmond need the baby to be VERY sleepy to get those posed images. Please note I do not offer posed baby sessions, my style is relaxed and natural images of your beautiful baby! I’m happy to refer other photographers in Richmond that do posed baby sessions.

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Are siblings included in Richmond newborn sessions?

Yes, siblings are definitely included in Richmond newborn photography sessions! I have several videos on my IGTV talking about siblings and especially toddler siblings that you might want to check out. When it comes to siblings I try to get them in photos right at the beginning when they are fresh and then give them a break. We can bring them back in later for family photos but it’s important to keep things fun for them. Bribes are encouraged but stick with non-chocolate bribes since that can get messy. Also, keep in mind that once the bribe comes out they will become focused on that. Another option is a reward when we are done that is super special!

Newborn Photographer in richmond

Can my dog be in our newborn photos?

Yes I am happy to take photos of your fur baby with your human baby! I love photos of pets hanging out in the nursery during our session. For family photos you can all pile on the bed with your dog or if you prefer we can do photos on the couch with the dogs in front. Depending on your dogs energy level and age we may be able to get photos of just dog and baby together but I prefer to wait and meet your dog before making that call.

lifestyle newborn Photographers in Miami

What is the best lighting for newborn photography?

In an ideal world you want big windows with indirect natural light coming in for lifestyle newborn photography. But as a Virginia newborn photographer I often find myself in small rooms without a lot of natural window light. My style is bright and airy so how can I make it work? I use off camera flash to amplify the natural window light already coming in and give you beautifully lit photographs. So even on a cloudy rainy day we can still get that light and bright look to your photos. Please note that my flashes are never directly aimed at your baby but instead the light is bounced off a wall or window which softens it and is not harmful.

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How should we decorate the nursery for photos?

Your nursery design is totally up to you! One of the things I love about being a lifestyle newborn photographer in Virginia is seeing all the different design ideas people have. Some go with pink and glam Kate Spade inspired for their girls or choose something that has special meaning to them like buffalo & bison for their boys. Others just aren’t into decorating so they hire a designer. It’s totally up to you and your style!

For many it starts with visiting a local baby furniture store.

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Photographer in Richmond

Are you looking for Lifestyle Newborn Photographers in Richmond? Do you love at-home natural images of babies with their families that are light, bright, and airy? Would you love it if the photographer was easy to work with? Hopefully, you are saying Yes, Yes, and Yes! If so come check out my Newborn Portfolio and see if we would be a match! Already sure I’m the photographer for you then contact me today!

Now be sure to check out Studio Photographer in West London, Annika Bloch as she shares an in studio fitness session she did recently!

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  • Michele QuattrinMay 6, 2021 - 5:13 pm

    I love everything about this post!  Beautiful images.

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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