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

Identical twin newborn photos

Identical twin newborn photos are very similar to those in fraternal twin photo sessions, or single babies for that matter. We want to see their sweet faces, the soft skin, the way they curl and snuggle up, and all the little details that make them unique. The one big difference is that we’d love to know who is who in the photos, and when they’re identical, it’s not easy to tell! One of these little guys had his toenails painted so that his parents could tell them apart- great idea for when you can see toes, but they don’t always show in the picture. What I do is take an eyebrow pencil and draw a tiny dot on one twin’s face, then make a note of the one with the dot. I separate the photos into individual folders when I download them, and label the ones of them together in the order they appear in the photo. Then I edit out the dot as I go- an easy way to identify them! Here are Muhammed (L) & Azan snuggled up together:

identical newborn twin photo

Identical newborn twin photos also seem to be most successful when the twins are close together- the closer the touch, the happier they usually are. I guess they’ve already spent so much time together that that feels more familiar than being on their own. No matter the reason, it often seems to calm the babies down to be right where the other one is:

Identical twin newborn photos with babies holding each other

As cute and happy as they are together, twins need to be photographed on their own, too! I typically photograph one of the twins, add the other and do them together and then do the second twin. They were together in the bed above, and also alone in the bed for a picture on their own:

I’ll bet it won’t be long before their parents can tell them apart even without looking at their toes. But it will be nice that we know for sure who was who in their newborn pictures!

Sensational ideas for entertaining Kalamazoo kids during Spring Break 2024

Spring Break 2024 in Kalamazoo is only about a month away- March 24-29 this year. If you’re not traveling to a warm and sunny spot and still need ideas of things to do with your kids, I’m here to help. Here is a compilation of many of the fun activities planned in Kalamazoo just for Spring break, as well as entertaining activities to do around town or a short drive away. From field trips to art, sports to acting, there is such a wide variety of activities that you’re sure to find something that will be a perfect fit for your kids’ interests.

Spring Break Camps in Kalamazoo

The Spring Break Camps listed here are week long experiences unless otherwise noted. All require advance registration and may fill up before the end of March, so if you’re interested in any of them, I recommend signing up soon.

Spring Break Field Trip Fest

For kids from 1st-6th grade and put on by the City of Kalamazoo Parks department, the Field Trip Fest is held Mon-Fri from 8:45-5. Every day is a different field trip to some pretty amazing places, from Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth to Imagination Station in Toledo OH.

Air Zoo Day Camps

From Tuesday the 26th- Thursday the 28th, the Air Zoo will host exciting, interactive and science-based camps for kids in kindergarten- 5th grade.

Full Blast Camps

Full Blast in Battle Creek’s camp runs from Mon- Fri., 7:30-5, for kids ages 5-12. Camp activities will be a mix of sports, games, park visits and field trips.

Kalamazoo Civic Theatre Broadway Day Camp

Camps for Preschoolers- 9th graders, Mon-Fri, 9-4. There’s singing, dancing and acting to Broadway tunes, with a performance at the end of the week!

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Youth Art Camp

Full and half-day camps for 1st-5th graders where students will create their own works of art in the studio.

Kalamazoo Nature Center Spring Camps

Full and half day weeklong camps for preschoolers-5th graders. Stories, art, games, activities and hikes for indoor and outdoor fun.

Branch Gymnastics School Age Camp

Theme camps, clinics and open gym all week long.

Indoor play places in and near Kalamazoo

If you’re looking for a place for kids to move, have fun and burn off excess energy, any of the places below would thrill both you and your kids. These are places where kids can be exuberant and carefree!

Airway Fun Center

There are an endless number of ways to have fun here! There is an arcade, bowling, climbing wall, go karts, laser tag, ropes course, an escape room and much more.

Revel and Roll West

Bowling, laser tag, gellyball and an arcade

Craig’s Cruisers

A short drive away in Grand Rapids, they have go-karts, bumper cars, an arcade, and a frog hopper that looks like a lot of fun!

Jungle Joe’s Family Fun Center

The area’s largest indoor inflatable fun park with lots of things to climb, bounce. slide and jump on.

Allegan Event

A family adventure center with climbing walls, rope courses, mazes and more. There are even areas where you must be under 48″, so there are things to do for all ages here.

Indoor pools with swimming hours during Spring Break

If you aren’t going to be at a beach for spring break, this may be the next best thing. Warm water and warm indoor temperatures to enjoy it in!

Allegan Aquatic Center

They have open swim hours and family fun times with a leisure pool, warm lap pool and a lazy river.

Otsego Aquatic Center

Open swim hours complete with pool toys, water basketball equipment and life jackets and goggles available to borrow.

Holland Aquatic Center

Open hours are available with lap swim, splash zone and a lazy river perfect for kids

Museums for kids near Kalamazoo

Museums can provide memorable experiences, spark interest in subjects like science, technology and history, and nurture kids’ imaginations. The museums below are skilled at appealing to kids of all ages.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Located in Ann Arbor, this museum is a colorful, 4-story space invites children to play & learn through 250+ exhibits focused on science.

Impression 5 Science Center

Impression 5 is located in downtown Lansing in a former wagon works factory. It’s designed for kids to explore and learn about science in a hands-on way and using all 5 senses. They call themselves a ‘choose your own adventure’ museum, and encourage touching things and exploring. One of the current traveling exhibits is the ‘Scooby Doo Mansion Mayhem’, and it sounds very fun!

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

This museum focuses on science, technology and local history, and is perfect for families. They have everything from a mummy exhibit to the ‘Kalamazoo Direct to You’ exhibit that explores things that made our city famous.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

This museum has something for everyone in the family, and is perfect to enjoy together. There’s a ‘Building Buddies’ exhibit for younger kids, and arcade game area where kids can learn about ‘vintage’ arcade games (bring your quarters!), and the ‘Streets of Old Grand Rapids’ with 3/4 recreations of turn-of-the-last-century businesses and buildings. While you’re there, take in a show at the adjacent Roger B Chaffee Planetarium and view galaxies from a comfy chair.

Arts & Crafts ideas

If your kids love to express themselves through art, there is a wide variety of art experiences around town. Consider the KIA art camps or the Civic Theater weeklong camps (listed above). For a shorter or an at-home experience, try one of these unique options.

Spring Break Extravaganza at KPL

The Kalamazoo Public Library has creating activities all week for kids of all ages. For the littles, there is Playdough Playtime and Preschool Science. Older kids can make a llama pillow, a kaleidiscope and do a paint pour.

At the Oshtemo Branch of KPL, they’re having a Dino Dig. Enjoy dinosaur related crafts and activities, including digging up dinosaur ‘fossils’!

Candle making at Kalamazoo Candle Co.

Younger kids can make a sand castle at either the downtown Kalamazoo or the Portage location, while older kids and adults can make soy candles. Choose your own scent and then take your candle home to enjoy!

Art Bayou

Art Bayou has pottery kits ready to take home and DIY. There’s a special area with a variety of kits for kids.

Colors and Cocktails

This doesn’t sound like a kid-friendly activity : ), but they have take home kits for kids with painting activities. This would be an ideal rainy day non-screen activity.

Glass Art Kalamazoo

Beautiful take and make kits with fused glass- different and special.

Activities for kids with animals near Kalamazoo during Spring Break

Animal activities near Kalamazoo during Spring break

Critter Barn

Visit the Critter Barn in Zeeland to see rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs! Bring a lunch or a snack and eat in the big red barn. You’re free to roam the paths at your own pace here.

John Ball Zoo

Home to more than 2000 animals, the zoo is located on the west side of Grand Rapids. Highlights include the Budgie Aviary (where you can feed the parakeets), camel rides and penguin feeding. Ride the funicular, weather permitting.

Potter Park Zoo

Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is the oldest zoo in Michigan and is home to over 160 species of animals. There are Farmyard ‘Edventures’, a Reptile House, a Feline & Primate House and camel rides.

Horseback riding at Eastfork Ranch

For an even more up close and personal animal adventure, schedule a horseback ride at Eastfork Ranch in Augusta Mi. The one time ride includes a lesson and tips on horse riding safety.

a tiny newborn Disney princess

Her mom loves Disney princesses, so she asked for some of her photos to have newborn Disney princess theme. She provided the beautiful Cinderella dress. I had such fun creating a set perfect for a newborn Disney princess.  I think we made a great team- here are some of the results of our collaboration-

newborn baby girl in Disney princess dress

Isn’t she the cutest Disney princess?!

Her patient furry ‘sibling’ had to be in one too, of course! You can really see how tiny she is here-

Of course, Disney isn’t all we did- here are a few more from her session-

Thanks for being such a beautiful Cinderella, little one!

Photo sessions for sitting babies- a stage not to miss!

Two of the biggest milestones in a baby’s first year are sitting and standing. The sitter stage at about 6-9 months is one of my favorites, and I know you won’t regret scheduling a session to capture this remarkable new skill. Here are just a few of the reasons a photo session for a sitting baby is a can’t miss event!

Your baby is so proud of their new sitting skills

Mastering the new skill of sitting and having a new way of looking at the world seems to make babies so proud and happy. It’s fun to be able to photograph them in a new position, too. Before they can sit, they can be photographed lying down or propped up with something. It’s amazing how different it looks to have them be upright, and you can see they feel it, too.

indoor sitting baby photo session Kalamazoo

Photographing babies at the sitting stage also opens up the possibility of moving outdoors for pictures. When a baby is lying down, there’s not much opportunity to get outdoor scenery in the background. A sitting pose is perfect for that.

outdoor sitting baby photo session Kalamazoo

Another new skill babies may have at this age is bearing some weight on their legs when you hold their hands. One of my favorite things to do is to have the parents hold their baby’s hands but keep the rest of their body outside the frame. It almost always brings a big grin to a baby’s face!

Babies at the sitting stage are generally cheerful and don’t have stranger anxiety yet

In a month or two, many babies will develop some stranger anxiety- being fearful of or shy around unfamiliar people. This can cause babies to give their photographer the ‘thousand mile stare’, since they’re learning to sort between familiar and unfamiliar things. At its peak, babies will look very frightened of the new person or start to cry- not the expressions you want in pictures!

At this golden age when they’re first sitting, though, they are usually happy to see anyone, and it’s easy to get smiles from them just by smiling or talking to them. And there’s nothing cuter than a joyous baby smile!

Accessories are still tolerated

This isn’t universally true, but I know they are tolerated better at this age than at a year. Hats, headbands, barrettes, socks, etc. stay on better now than when babies are older. At a year, it’s often a game of ‘try to quickly get the picture before the cute item gets ripped off’- and we’re talking in nanoseconds. Accessories aren’t necessary, but they can add a certain something and variety is always a good thing.

Sitting babies are adorable in many ways

From their silky hair to round cheeks to deliciously chubby thighs, babies are adorable at this age. They can show a lot of skin and many rolls, and it’s blissful. They’re remarkably flexible and can often get their toes in their mouths. They put their whole bodies into everything they do, and that eagerness and commitment to each move shows. They’re innocent and enthusiastic about the world around them. I sincerely believe it’s one of the most fun ages to capture!

If you have a baby who’s near or at the sitter stage, I highly recommend scheduling a photo session. I find it’s easier on your baby to wait to do the pictures until they are sitting fairly confidently. Before then, they will tire quickly and may get frustrated, so it’s better to follow their timeline and do it when they’re ready.

For these sessions, I come to your home and bring lights, backgrounds and props. Your home doesn’t need to be a perfect photo studio- I can set up pretty much anywhere. We can usually fit in up to 3 outfits. I have some accessories and am happy to bring them if you’d like to use them.

If you have more questions or would like to schedule a session, send me an email at ellendykstraphotography@gmail.com or give me a call at 269-267-7083. I’d love to work with you and your baby to capture pictures of the sitting stage!

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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