What Your Baby Should Wear for a Lifestyle Newborn Session | Northern VA Newborn Photographer


One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a photographer here in Northern VA is, "What should my baby wear for our lifestyle newborn session?"  I send all my clients a welcome guide with information on how to prepare and what to wear, but I thought it might be helpful to expand a little bit on that!  Read on for helpful hints on how to dress your baby for your lifestyle newborn session!

Birthday Suit (almost!)

There is no better way to show off your baby's brand-newness and teeny tiny features than to have them nakey when I arrive.  I put the "almost!" in there because I very rarely ever photograph newborns completely naked, preferring to keep a diaper on instead.  (One of the perks of lifestyle newborn photography!)  To keep baby happy, be sure to turn your heat up (or cut the AC if it is a hot day) so that he or she can stay warm despite being undressed!  

Personally, I *love* flaky baby skin but if it bothers you, feel free to put a little baby lotion on before I arrive.  (Aveeno has always been a favorite of mine with my own kiddos!)  You will want to avoid using Vaseline, Aquaphor, or coconut/olive oil on your baby right before your lifestyle newborn session.  They are great moisturizers and I have used all of those on my own kids, but they will result in your baby looking very shiny in their images.  

Another little tip is pick up some diapers by Honest Company (if you aren't cloth diapering, that is!).  They come in the cutest patterns and photograph really well!  They have a free trial that you can sign up for to get some for FREE!!  I love taking "almost-birthday suit" shots at the beginning of the session when babies are generally the happiest and most content.  

Plain White Onesie

At some point in every newborn session, babies will need a diaper change and to take a feeding break.  I love getting in on the action and photographing that tiny little diaper getting swapped out.  Before getting topped off with some more milk, I often ask parents to put their baby in a onesie to try a different look for the session.  Plain white onesies are classic and really emphasize how teeny, tiny your newborn is!  I find that other outfits can swallow newborns up in those early few weeks so onesies really work well to help show their true size.  You will want to be sure to have a 'newborn' sized onesie and maybe even a preemie, depending on the size of your baby.  The Gerber brand generally runs on the smaller side, so I love those for newborn sessions!  If you don't have any, don't worry...I bring some to every session.

Break The Rules

I usually advise clients to stay away from clothing other than onesies in general for their babies and to stay VERY clear of any clothing that has characters or writing on it.  Although they have tons of personality, they can be ill-fitting or distracting in images and pull your eye away from the true focus...your sweet baby's little face!

BUT!  I am going to go ahead and be a little contradictory rule-breaker here and say that I might start making exceptions for certain trends that are hot right now.  For example, I really love the modern look of this trendy outfit and these matching shirts are super cute because they emphasize the relationship between father and child and tell a fun story.  

If you'd like your baby to wear something special, you will want to make sure that the items are very fitted since baggy clothes on newborns don't photograph well.  Also, think about the decor of your home and nursery and choose a color/style that complements it.  I always invite clients to text me a picture of anything you are thinking of wearing if you would like a photographer's perspective...so the same goes for your baby!  Here are some of my favorite stores for trendy newborn clothing/onesies/rompers:

Leah Michele Creations

Lenny Lemons


Spearmint Love

Do you have any other favorites you'd add to the list?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


The babies are the star of their lifestyle newborn session and I love to keep things very simple so that we don't take away from that.  You really don't need accessories at all because babies are perfect just the way they are, but I know as a girl mom that the urge to doll that baby up is FOR REALLLLLL.  Simplicity is the key when it comes to accessories though.  You will want to avoid large-sized bows or flowers on headbands and stick with simple, sweet tiebacks instead.  I prefer tiebacks to headbands because newborns are sooooo tiny that it often takes a few weeks for them to grow into headbands and they won't stay in place.  Doing a quick search on Etsy for 'newborn girl tiebacks' brings up a great list of choices.  Just remember, the simpler, the better!  For boys, knit baby booties are always a sweet accessory.  Bonus points if they are hand-knit by a loved one!!


Using cute wraps and blankets to swaddle newborns is another way to add a few more style points to your lifestyle newborn session! Swaddling also helps soothe babies so they serve a double purpose in my sessions.  I always bring a few neutral newborn wraps and swaddle blankets with me, but am always open to incorporating any blankets that you have that may be special to you or that you just love!  This is the perfect opportunity to pull out that hand-made patchwork quilt that your grandmother made for your newborn or a hand-knit receiving blanket that was a special gift.  There are also some great places out there that make muslin swaddling blankets that are really on trend and stylish.  Here are two of my favorites:

Modern Burlap

Spearmint Love

One of my favorite things about lifestyle newborn photography is that it places an emphasis on authenticity and being genuine.  I've shared a lot of information here on ways to dress your baby for your session, but the beautiful thing is that you really don't have to do anything special or go out on a big shopping spree!  Most of these items are things you'll have in your closet anyway :)  But of course, I am happy to be an enabler for any of you out there that love to shop for cute baby stuff!  Feel free to leave comments below with any other questions you have about lifestyle newborn photography (or with a link to your favorite place to shop!)

Interested in a lifestyle newborn photography session?  Contact me today for more information!