As a lifestyle newborn photographer in Westfield, New Jersey, “what to wear for newborn photos” is among the most common questions clients ask me. Clothing choices can have a big impact on whether you love your photos. In fact, clothing can either complement and enhance, or detract from the feelings your images evoke. So if you’re wondering what to wear for newborn photos at home, here are some great tips to help you and your family look and feel your best in photos.
Embrace the feeling that comes with having newborn photos taken in the comfort of your home. Aim for casual and comfortable rather than overly formal clothing, which can feel out of place for in home newborn photos. This will set the tone for a relaxed session and ensure your photos look natural.
Choose neutral colors like cream, tan, off-white and gray as your base. Not only do these classic colors work well for newborn photos, they also complement the casual vibe of an in-home photo session. Combine varying shades of neutrals for a cohesive and monochromatic look without overly matching. Or pair neutral colors with blush tones, mauve, or sage. Neutral colors will stand the test of time so that 10, 20, and 30 years from now, your photos will still look timeless.
If you prefer a more trendy feel to your photos, select a palette with muted jewel tones like rust or plum paired with navy or tan. Keep in mind that the colors of your clothing should complement your home decor, not clash with it. And, remember, the goal is for everyone’s clothing to coordinate without overly matching for the most natural look.
Solid-colored clothing, flowy, and textured fabrics photograph well. Soft organic cottons, chunky knits and chiffon are all great options. But don’t be afraid of mixing solids with patterns. When selecting a pattern, aim for something subtle and not too busy.
Moms, choose clothing that you feel comfortable and confident wearing and that reflects your style. This may seem obvious, but I can’t stress this enough. The way you feel will translate into your images. So, avoid wearing anything that you feel self-conscious in or that is uncomfortable or too tight. It’s best to steer clear of short dresses or tops that will restrict your movement or ride up while sitting. Consider a maxi dress to add a sentimental and feminine feel to your photos. Or opt for jeans or leggings paired with a knit sweater or ruffled blouse or long tunic for a more relaxed look.
A solid-colored Henley top, crewneck sweater, or casual button down are great options. Avoid dress shirts that are overly stiff and anything with large logos. Denim pants or chinos are a great choice.
Most important, make sure your child will be comfortable in the outfit you choose for him. If you know your toddler hates dresses, don’t try and force her to wear one. When children or teens don’t like what they’re wearing, their unhappiness will show in the photos. Instead, if you know your child has strong preferences when it comes to clothing, try to involve her as much as possible in planning outfits ahead of time. Give her a choice between two colors or outfits that would coordinate with the rest of the family’s clothing. Avoid anything with logos or graphics, which is distracting and will also date your photos.
Keep your baby’s clothing simple. Remember, we want the focus to be on her, not an elaborate outfit.
Avoid “dress clothes” and save outfits like sweaters and pants or dresses for when your baby is a little older. A simple white onesie, textured romper or knotted knit baby gown look best on and babies. Keep swaddling blankets on-hand. Or if you have a sentimental baby blanket, be sure to let me know so that we can incorporate that into your photos.
Make sure to try on clothing before the day of your session to ensure the clothing fits well and is not too loose or too tight. Have a solid white or other neutral onesie available so we can capture detail shots like your baby’s tiny toes.
Be sure to order any items that you want to purchase several weeks in advance to ensure that they arrive before your session. Most important, try outfits on at least a few days before your session. You’ll want to make sure that your baby’s clothing fits well and isn’t enormous or too tight.
Your baby is perfect and beautiful just as she is. In fact, big bows and thick headbands draw your eye away from your baby’s beautiful face, so it’s best to avoid them. If you really want accessorize with a feminine detail, choose a headband no thicker than half an inch, with a bow only slightly larger. Most important, if your baby doesn’t seem comfortable when you put her in a headband, skip it. Remove bulky Apple watches, hair ties and other items from wrists and pockets.
Generally, bare feet look best for cozy and natural looking photos at home. During sessions, I often have families sit on a bed or on the floor or ask them to snuggle together on a sofa so shoes would look out of place.
Hands help tell a huge part of your family’s story, and are an important element in the photos I capture. Be sure that everyone in the family has hands that are photo ready (i.e., no chipped nail polish).
No I’m not talking about how many sit-ups you can do. I’m referring to making sure that everyone’s clothing passes the movement test. Moms, dads, siblings, raise your hands overhead and make sure that shirts don’t rise up to expose skin or underwear. Also sit down on your bed and on the floor and check that pants don’t feel/look too tight and dresses don’t hike up too high. Clothing should never be too tight or too small. Also, I generally recommend avoiding dresses or tops with thin straps that are likely to fall out of place with movement.
Want more outfit inspiration? You might also enjoy What to Wear for Summer Newborn Photos. To stay in the know and get updates, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get my free Wardrobe Inspire Guide for the entire family.
If you live near Westfield, NJ and have a baby on the way, I’d love to photograph your family. Get in touch to book your newborn session!
Winner of the Westfield Area Most Loved Family Photographer award by Hulafrog two years in a row, Debbie Camba Photography is a New Jersey Family Photographer based in Scotch Plains. She specializes in capturing candid and meaningful moments that reflect the love and wonder of childhood and family life.
Debbie photographs families outdoors and in homes throughout Scotch Plains, Westfield, Mountainside, Cranford, Summit, Basking Ridge and the surrounding area, including Somerset County, Morris County and Middlesex County. She is available in other locations upon request.
Debbie was awarded Master Photographer Certifications by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) for demonstrating excellence in the craft of child and family photography.