In-home newborn sessions may just be my favorite type of family portrait session. Visiting families in the midst of such a big transition — it’s just a very special and raw time. I’ve had clients ask about taking newborn photos outdoors at a park, and I almost always recommend against it. Let’s talk about why.
I’ll start by saying that when I was a new mom, it was kind of a sh*t show. 😩 I had to have a c-section (with both kids) and I had trouble breastfeeding (with both kids!!!)! I was so tired and definitely not myself for a couple months at least. Don’t get me wrong — it was an amazing time of my life, but I didn’t expect it to be so hard physically.
When I receive an inquiry from an expecting mom about newborn photos, I think back to this time, and the state I was in. My home was a haven because everything I needed was there. But I also think of the details that I wanted to remember from that time, such as the rocking chair where I nursed my son and the mobile that hung over his crib. The quilt a family friend made for him. This combination of comfort and sentimental importance is just not found outdoors.
Newborn sessions can take as long as 90 minutes depending on the baby and the need for feedings and diaper changes. When I was a new mom, I did not yet have the skills to change a diaper on a park bench and feeding on the go was still a challenge. My son had reflux and things were just . . . messy a lot of the time. Plus having to take with you all. the. stuff. for the baby every time you leave home. It’s just a lot to deal with when you’re a sleep deprived new parent.
But at home, everything you need is right there — diapers, a change of outfit. It’s just low stress.
Do you have photos of your nursery from when you were a baby? I don’t, but I wish I did! One great thing about an-in-home newborn session is we can capture the details of your living space during this stage. This can include photos of your baby in the crib or bassinet along with favorite toys or special gifts. For in-home sessions I always make a point to include close-ups of the family but also wider shots that include the whole room, to give a sense of what your home is like. I think these photos are especially meaningful given how often New Yorker’s move! I live a block away from my first Brooklyn apartment and I still think about it with nostalgia. I can promise you that in 20 years, your kids will love seeing photos of their first home.
The newborn stage is a slow paced, cosy, and intimate time. The home is just a more natural place to cuddle up to your family as compared to being in a public outdoor space like a park. You have total privacy and you’re in YOUR OWN space. Lying on the couch together or dancing in the living room — completely normal at home. Not so much outside.
Wardrobe can also be more low key at home. I’ve had sessions where clients are barefoot in jeans and a tee-shirt, and it looks totally natural and relaxed at home. Whereas more prep often goes into styling for an outdoor session.
Taking newborn photos in your home makes it easy to include heirlooms and meaningful objects in the photos. Some clients have included blankets handed down from grandparents, and it’s just nice to be able to have these readily available.
And for some families, the “older sibling” is a dog or cat who wants to be in the photos. I love this because it’s literally like having an emotional support animal during the session and makes things so fun. Including pets is much more manageable in the confined space of your home, as compared to outside.
Don’t get me wrong — I love outdoor sessions. Especially for older kids. But for newborns, in-home is the way to go!