How to Prepare for Your Newborn Session

      A successful newborn session requires a little bit of extra preparation, but rest assured I’m here to walk you through the process. I’ve created this simple guide to tell you what to do – and why! Read through and you’ll be ready for a newborn portrait session with Ariel Cannon Photography.

      First and foremost, these suggestions are provided to help ease your stress. If your preparations don’t go as planned, please don’t worry, we will make it work!

      How to prepare before I arrive


      Please keep baby awake for 1-2 hours before we arrive. This is the most important thing you can do because it all but ensures a sleepy baby for the session itself. 

      Here are some gentle ways to encourage a newborn to stay awake:

      • give baby a bath
      • strip him down to just his diaper and let him practice kicking those legs
      • gently tickle her toes
      • talk to her and make eye contact

      If you do only one thing in preparation for your session, please make it this one!


      Capturing your connection with your new baby is one of the best parts of your newborn session. I know you are tired, so I make your time in front of the camera quick and painless. Here are a few tips for preparing for your time being photographed:

      • Simple, neutral clothing photographs best
      • Some colors to consider are white, cream, grey or very light pastels
      • Please avoid neon, patterns and logos
      • New moms look (and feel) great in flowy tops and dresses
      • Keep make-up natural
      • Clean nails with a neutral (or no) polish are perfect for those closeups of hands on baby

      As long as baby is nice an sleepy we will photograph baby’s solo images first. This leaves you with a good chunk of time to get yourself camera ready. You do not need to have yourselves or siblings ready before we arrive!


      I love to include siblings and they love to be included! I keep my sibling set-ups simple, safe and short!

      Girls should have natural or very minimally styled hair. A simple dress in neutral colors is perfect.

      Boys look perfect in a pair of skinny jeans and a simple top in a neutral color (no words or pictures please)

      Special Clothing

      We will bring our full selection of wraps and blankets with us, so you don’t need to worry about what baby will be wearing. However, if you have a special item of clothing or a special blanket you’d like to include in the session just let us know!

      What to expect when we arrive

      Set-up and the first feeding

      After we’ve arrived and said hello, my assistant and I will begin to set-up the space. We will need a 5’x5′ area near a window. It’s ideal if this space is in a bedroom, rather than a main living space. Rest assured, as long as you have a window in your house we can make it work!

      In Home Newborn Photography Los Angeles

      While we set up the space you will give baby a nice, long, full feeding and let her drift off to sleep! Along with keeping baby awake prior to our arrival, this is the most important step.

      While you are feeding your little one we’ll set up the space where we’ll be photographing baby. Please note that we’ll be warming up that space with a small heater so that baby will be very comfortable while naked. Adults may not be as comfortable….

      When you begin feeding baby please have her dressed in only a diaper and wrapped loosely in a blanket to keep warm. This way we have less to take off once she is asleep. If baby has a bowel movement during or after feeding go ahead and change the diaper even if it wakes baby. You can always nurse or rock her back to sleep.

      Top-ups and pacifiers

      The best way to keep a baby sleepy and happy during our session is to feed/nurse the baby off an on as needed. I can either bring baby to you when he needs to be settled or, if baby takes a bottle, you can leave a bottle with me. Even if you have baby on a feeding schedule, we ask that you be willing to make an exception for our short time together. Essentially, we want to feed baby as much as he wants. You can take your time with nursing, I am in no rush!

      I sometimes use Soothie pacifiers during sessions. If you have one, please have it available. I will have some new, unopened Soothies available for baby if you don’t have one. Even if you aren’t using a pacifier on a regular basis it is helpful if you can allow me to use one during the session. It can be very helpful in keeping babies calm and sleepy. If you are adamantly opposed to pacifier use please let me know before the session.

      Expect to relax!

      Once we start photographing baby you are welcome to take that time off. We’ll let you know when you’re needed for nursing or photographs, but aside from that time you are free to catch up on emails, sleep, eat or whatever else you need to do. I work with an assistant so that we always have someone with a hand near baby and we don’t have to rely on parents to help during the session!

      Ariel Cannon Photography specializes in newborn and family portrait photography and serves Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

      Interested in a session? Have a question? We’d love to hear from you!