Newborn Session Preparation Guide

Thank you for choosing Helena Woods Portraiture for a custom experience that celebrates your family’s history with treasured portraiture. We dedicate ourselves to creating beautiful heirloom portraits of your family as your newborns and children grow over the years.

This guide will give you some information about your newborn session experience. Our studio wants to help make the session perfect from helping you choose the right outfits and location to getting the natural, timeless lifestyle poses that are our studio's specialty.

Top Priority is Newborn Safety 

After having spent the last 4 years handling newborns - both on-location as an at-home lifstyle newborn photographer and at the hospital, you can rest easy knowing that your newborn's safety and comfort are Helena's top priority. 

Keeping baby well-supported, at a warm and comfortable temperature throughout the session and always comfortable and well-fed is Helena's main job while photographing your new family member. Be prepared for your baby to pee and/or poo at least once during the session, most likely more! It's not a matter of if the baby will pee, but when baby will pee! No need to worry or panic, as Helena always brings plenty of wipes, towels and hand sanitizer. Everything is always thoroughly washed with non-toxic/fragrance-free chemicals for sanitary purposes. Make sure you both have a couple of neutral/solid colored clothing changes prepared for when a mess ensues. 

I often ask Dad to help me with certain poses, keeping a strict and watchful eye on baby while I move blankets, cloths, wraps, etc. Mom is often seated away from the beanbag, where we will be posing your newborn, as baby can smell mommy, which might trigger the want to feed more often, even though baby doesn't necessarily need to. This can lead to baby stirring and possibly waking. 

We know figuring out what to wear is one of the most stressful parts of booking a session, and we have to say, it is important. The right outfit elevates an image from so so, to one that looks timeless, coordinated and intentional. For babies, we suggest dressing your newborn in a diaper and a onesie to start. For older children and family portraits, we usually advise our clients to choose 2-3 colors and base the family outfits around those colors. For instance, light blue, navy blue, and cream are a great palette. We suggest quality materials ad great textures as it does make a difference in portraits. Often times photographers tell their clients ‘no white.’ – our studio however loves the classic simplicity of white clothes. Try to avoid logos and busy patterns. Neutral pastels look nice with lighter hair colors, while darker hair colors look nice with bolder colors. Although we mostly do not use props at our sessions, some photogenic or sentimental ‘props’ (such as a favorite book, stuffed animal or family heirloom) in a few photos from your session can personalize things.

What To Bring & What To Wear


In order to get those timeless, cuddly newborn portraits of your new baby, there are a few ways we can make sure the session goes as smoothly and safely as possible while getting quality heirloom images as a result!

It's helpful if you interact with your newborn as much as possible before Helena arrives to your house for the session. This will help baby sleep longer during the session, and while Helena will be sure to capture some images of your baby awake, it is preferred to have them asleep during most of the session. 

To get those classic, curled-up poses, we will need your baby to be fully asleep, warm, comfortable and happy as possible. Make sure to feed your baby in the 30 minutes prior to the session start-time. Even if baby is still feeding as Helena arrives and sets up, that is fine - as long as baby is well-fed and sleepy. 

If you have a space heater or a white noise machine, that helps a lot with helping baby sleeping soundly. We want the house to be warm (approximately 80-85 degrees) with a nice hum to calm baby - basically just like how he/she slept in the womb! If you don't have a white noise machine already, Helena will bring one with her to the session. 

Prepping your Newborn  

Once the contract is signed and payment has been recieved by the studio, it is time to prepare for your session!

newborn prep

The house should be kept warm for baby to be comfortable. Keeping the temperature between 80 and 85 degrees for the comfort of your newborn will ensure the session goes well and baby is happy. Newborns lose their body temperature fairly quickly once your unclothe theme, so it's essential to keep them warm at all times. Dress in layers so you are comfortable as well. 

Room Temperature

Dress your baby first in a diaper, and then in a zip-up or snap-up onesie - nothing that goes over the head because that tends to wake up your newborn if we need to pull clothes off over the head. Later on during the session, Helena will dress your naked baby in natural wraps, a white stretchy knit or a light cream scarf -our studio's signature simple, classic look that never goes out of style,

What to Dress Your Newborn In 

Our studio holds all of our lifestyle newborn sessions in the comfort of your home. If you'd like to hold your newborn session indoors, we would just need to see pictures of your living space and the natural light in advance if you wanted to do it inside. Because lighting is so critical to the success of a stunning newborn session gallery, plenty of soft, natural light,, space and large windows is necessary for the portraits to come out with our consistent quality and style. Therefore bright skies and lightly overcast skies are necessary for shooting. If the skies are darker than usual or it happens to rain, we will happily reschedule the newborn session date and we ask you to trust our studio's judgement in rescheduling. 

Importance of Indoor Natural Light

Best Time to Schedule Your Session

Don’t wait too long to schedule your session. 5-8 days after birth is ideal. After 2 weeks, newborns tend to sleep less frequently, less deeply, are more finicky and much harder to pose.

Newborn Checklist

Temperature of the Room: 80-85 degrees
Dress the newborn in a diaper with nothing over the head; Zip-up or snap-up onesie/sleeper.
Bring a pacifier
Be sure to feed ahead of time. Within 30 minutes of the session.
Clothing for parents and siblings: simple, neutrals, solid colors; avoid logos and busy patterns  

After the cameras are packed away, Helena Woods begins her custom graphic design work with your images. A highly skilled digital artist, Helena works in the digital darkroom of Photoshop and Lightroom to perfect each image from your session. About 2-3 weeks after your session, you’ll receive a link to view your personal online digital gallery. (For Signature Sessions, 30+ edited images - color and black & white - are uploaded to a gallery. Simplicity Sessions have 12-15 images.) Here you can download your resolution images, as well as share and archive for many years to come!

After the Session

Excited to see you soon at our upcoming session!

2016 - 2020 Copyright Helena Woods Photography | Helena Woods is a newborn, maternity, kids and family photographer in Fairfield County Connecticut and travels worldwide for her clients. Helena Woods is known for her modern classic, timeless and emotive photography style.