Welcome to the third post in the Newborn Session Series –  What To Wear For Newborn Photos: The Complete Guide. Throughout this Newborn Session Series, I will be guiding you through the entire process. From deciding to have your newborn photo session, all the way through what to do with your photos once you have them, we’ll be covering everything you need to know to ensure you end up with beautiful photos you will cherish forever. 

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Feel free to bookmark this post and come back to it as all of the posts will be linked here as they are released.

More in this series:

  1. The Top 5 Reasons To Book a Newborn Photo Session – Even If Feels Overwhelming
  2. The 20 Most Important Questions to Ask Your Newborn Photographer Before Booking
  3. What To Wear For Newborn Photos: The Complete Family Guide
  4. When To Take Newborn Photos: The Complete Guide
  5. 5 Tips for An Easy In-Home Newborn Session
  6. The 8 Best Newborn Photos At Home

Today we’re going to cover one of the most frequently asked questions I receive when planning a newborn session. Everyone wants to know what to wear for newborn photos to ensure beautiful, timeless images that they love. I’m breaking this down into a few general sections and then we’ll cover specifics for each family member. You can use the table of contents below to jump to a particular section if needed!

Colors

When picking colors for your newborn session outfits, it is best to keep the general decor of your home in mind. If your home is full of soft, neutral colors, try to pick clothing with soft, neutral colors. If your home is decorated with bright, bold colors, pick some of the colors you use the most to build your outfits around.

New parents hold their baby while sitting on a bench in front of a window. They are dressed in neutral colors which compliment their home's decor and provides a great example of what to wear for newborn photos.

In general, neutral and light pastel colors photograph best because they are non-distracting and bring the focus to your face rather than your outfit. They also cause minimal (if any) color casting. A color cast is when a color reflects onto something, changing its color. For example, if you are wearing a neon pink shirt and snuggle your baby close to you, you will see neon pink reflected on your baby’s face.

Patterns

Think about adding some patterns to increase the visual interest in your images. The trick with using patterns successfully is to use small patterns and to use them sparingly! The goal is always to keep the attention and focus on your face. Big, bold patterns draw your eye away from your face and bring the focus toward your outfit instead.

A mother and baby reclining on the bed during their newborn session. The mother is wearing a toile pattern dress.


Small florals, plaids, and toile fabrics look fantastic in photos and are non-distracting. When using patterns, have one or 2 people in a pattern and everyone else in solids. This keeps the images clean and timeless.

Avoid wearing clothing with large logos. A small embroidered logo on a shirt pocket is fine, however, a large logo across the front of a shirt can be distracting and will date your images. 

Building Your Wardrobe

When building your outfits for family photos it is best to start by selecting one person’s outfit and then building the rest from there. I typically recommend starting with Mom’s outfit (especially if you are using my client closet!) and then choosing everyone else’s. 

The trick here is not to match exactly. Your images will be more visually interesting if everyone is wearing something different but in coordinating colors. 

For example, if mom is wearing a blush-colored dress, dad might wear khaki pants and a light gray/green sweater, one child might wear light gray zipped sweater with khaki pants, and another child might wear a sage green dress with a sequin top, tulle skirt, a blush headband, and blush shoes. 

Various outfit options for a family looking for what to wear for newborn photos. Included are a blush pink dress for mom, a sage green dress for a little girl, and gray sweaters and khaki pants for the son and father.

Using layers, different textures, and different fabrics will also help to increase the visual interest of your images. 

The Client Closet

I love having the ability to offer you the use of my Client Closet. The collection of dresses and outfits has been carefully curated to ensure that your wardrobe will be timeless and will photograph beautifully. It also saves you the hassle of trying to find and coordinate outfits, shopping with your children in tow, and the trips to make the inevitable returns. The Client Closet is always growing and changing and I love the opportunity to work with you to find a dress that will make you feel beautiful.

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We will go into more detail about your style and color preferences in the questionnaire, and then I will present you with options at your Styling & Planning Appointment. 

If you choose to use the Client Closet, I will bring the outfits you have selected on the day of your session (or the day before if you live close by!). They will be steamed and ready for you to slip into as soon as I walk through the door.

Finishing Touches

Nail Color

There will typically be close-up photos of your hands at some point during the session. It’s a good idea to try to take some time to pamper yourself pre-session and make an appointment for a manicure or do your nails yourself. If you aren’t feeling up to leaving the house ( I know I wasn’t!) remove any old, chipped nail polish.

A nude or light pink color is the best choice for your nails. Some of my favorite choices are OPIs Bubble Bath, OPIs Baby Take A Vow,

Shoes

Nuetral-colored heels or sandals are a great choice if you are having an outdoor session. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking to the location in and then you can switch into the shoes you want to wear for photos. 

If photographing in your home, going barefoot is a great (and easy!) choice!

Jewelry

Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can help bring some extra dimension and visual interest to your images. Small, delicate pieces of jewelry help to perfectly complete your outfit without distracting from your face. I love it when people wear meaningful pieces for their session, such jewelry with their children’s birthstones or initials.

Hair Appointments

If you typically color your hair, make sure to schedule an appointment for a couple of days prior to your session so that you have a fresh cut and color.

It is best to avoid any major style changes right before your session in case you decide it’s not the right look for you. Go with what you know, like, and are comfortable with!

Makeup

If you are working with a makeup artist, have them apply your makeup in natural light if possible. Since I typically photograph in natural light, this will give the most accurate representation of what your makeup will look like on camera. Makeup artists are used to applying makeup for cameras so they will know exactly how heavy your makeup needs to be.

If you are doing your own makeup, make sure to apply it a little more heavily than you would for everyday wear so that it will show up on camera. 

Avoid any makeup that has shimmer in it. It can make your skin look shiny on camera. Matte finishes are a better choice.

What To Wear For Newborn Photos: Women

Dresses are a wonderful choice when trying to decide what to wear for newborn photos. Long, flowy dresses are not only very flattering but also more comfortable postpartum. Particularly if you have had a c-section, a dress can be more comfortable as it keeps any pressure off of your incision area.

If you are choosing to breastfeed, keep that in mind when selecting your dress as you will most likely need to feed your baby during the session. Dresses with stretchy tops or buttons will be the most convenient.

Empire waist dresses and dresses with ruched tops are the most forgiving and comfortable during the postpartum period.

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Favorite Places To Shop

Nothing Fits But

Baltic Born

Doen

BHLDN

Pink Blush

Morning Lavender

Ivy City Co.

Free People

What To Wear For Newborn Photos: Men

Men have it easy! The perfect outfit is usually already in their closet and little thought needs to be put into what to wear for newborn photos. For shirts, great choices are light-colored sweaters, button-down shirts, or henleys. For pants, I recommend light-colored khakis, light gray pants, or very light-gray jeans. When it comes to shoes, clean, white sneakers, or light gray or tan shoes work perfectly.

See? Easy!

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Favorite Places To Shop

Nordstrom

Express

J. Crew

Banana Republic

Target

What to Wear For Newborn Photos: Girls

Dresses allow for lots of movement in your images, especially if your little one loves to spin and twirl! Accessories like hair bows are perfect for completing their outfit. For shoes, sandles or ballet flats are easy and comfortable!

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Favorite Places To Shop

Aziel and Luca

H&M Kids

ZARA Kids

Crew Cuts

Cat & Jack

What To Wear For Newborn Photos: Boys

For boys, it’s the same as the men! Try to put them in either a different color top or pants if another male is participating, but they can match one or the other if needed! In the example below, both are wearing white shirts, but different color pants. Their outfits look cohesive and bring interest to the images.

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Favorite Places To Shop

Aziel and Luca

H&M Kids

ZARA Kids

Crew Cuts

Cat & Jack

What To Wear for Newborn Photos: Baby

The easiest of them all! Don’t worry for a second about what to wear for newborn photos when it comes to your newborn! A simple white onesie is best. It is clean, neutral, and great for laying wraps over, and people usually have multiple of them in case of a spit-up emergency.

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Next week we’ll be tackling the big question of when to book your newborn session, and when to have your newborn session so make sure to check back!

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Kate Voda is a New Jersey Newborn Photographer specializing in in-home newborn lifestyle photography sessions and lifestyle portrait photography sessions. Kate serves Central New Jersey and the surrounding areas.

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Serving New Jersey, pennsylvania, and New york 

Effortless Maternity, Newborn, & Portrait Photography