FAQ: What should parents wear for a newborn photo session?

What should parents wear for a newborn photo session? You’re not sleeping much, not the same size you were pre-pregnancy yet and you barely have time to take a shower. Not the ideal recipe for being camera ready, is it? Not to worry- there are a few simple tips I can give you to help you look your best in these pictures even if you’re not feeling quite ready for them

Keep your clothing simple

what to wear for parent newborn photo session

When deciding what to wear for your baby’s photo session, it’s best to keep your clothing simple. You are the background for your baby, and a busy background can distract focus from the most important person in the photo. Plain clothing is perfect, and small prints work well. A large floral or bright plaid doesn’t make the best canvas for your baby.

The mama above is wearing one of the gowns I have that’s designed for maternity photos. I have a closet full of these gowns in various sizes, and you’re welcome to use one of them for your photos if you’d like. One plus is that they’re very stretchy and are maternity wear, so they will fit well, unlike lots of your pre-pregnancy outfits.

You only have to choose clothing for your top half for newborn family photos

What should parents wear for newborn family photos

No one wants their waistline photographed right after having a baby, so I make sure to pose you and to compose the photo so that nothing below your chest shows. That means you only have to find a top that works- that helps, right? No shoes, and pants can be maternity pants- just your top half will show. This mama wore a simple shift dress that works perfectly- it makes a great background for her son.

To make your family newborn photos look pulled together, keep everyone’s outfits in the same tones

newborn pictures with family

White is classic (and bonus- something you usually have in your closet already), and makes for a beautiful, cohesive family picture. My recommendation is not that you match, but that you keep everyone in similar tones- all light tones, all medium tones or all dark tones. If one person is wearing white and one is wearing black, your eye doesn’t flow over the picture quite as well- it can be a bit jarring.

new baby with parents portage mi

This family is a perfect example of everyone in midtones- grey and blue, in this case. They don’t match, but they do go together perfectly.


Here mom and dad are both in black, and they make a perfect, simple background to show off their new baby daughters. As you can see, not much of what you’re wearing ends up showing in the final picture, so staying simple is a great way to go.

What should parents avoid wearing in newborn family photos?

The general rule here is to avoid wearing anything that will overwhelm your baby. Large prints, combinations of bright colors, loud plaids and large floppy collars will all take attention away from your tiny new baby. Other than that, whatever colors, sleeve length and style are your choice. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and looking good on top will make for a great picture.

What should parents wear for a newborn photo session in a nutshell:

-simple styles with no large prints or details that will overwhelm the baby

-clothing that’s in the same color tones- you don’t have to match, you just have to go together

-dress your top half and don’t worry about the rest

Here are some examples of beautifully pulled-together families in a variety of colors:

what should parents wear for a newborn photo session- examples
what should parents wear for a newborn photo session- more examples

Don’t they all look great?! They’re in a variety of colors, but the tones match or are similar enough to go really well together. Some are in prints, but they are small scale ones that don’t overpower the image.

If you have questions about what to wear or would like a second opinion, I’m happy to help you decide. And if you’d like to use something from my maternity closet, that’s an option too. Just email me at ellendykstraphotography@gmail.com and I’m happy to help!

For more answers to frequently asked questions about photo sessions, see here

Serving Kalamazoo & Portage Mi
will travel throughout southwest Michigan
1920 Brentwood Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49008
Phone: (269) 267 - 7083Email: ellendykstraphotography@gmail.com

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