Newborn posed on creamy neutral setup during her Newborn Photography Session in Howard County

Styling A Newborn Photography Session

Newborn Photography Sessions in Columbia, Clarksville, and Ellicott City, MD by Melissa Porta Portraits


You’re probably here because you are expecting a baby, and maybe you’ve already booked your newborn photography session! That is a huge step and I am so excited for you! Your photographer may have asked you if you have any requests for your session or would like to be involved in the planning process, but sometimes expecting parents need help knowing where to start with this question, and I want to help! I’ve compiled some different examples from newborn sessions I’ve held in Columbia, Clarksville, and Ellicott City, MD to give you a variety of ideas and inspiration while going through ideas you can think about to help your baby’s future first Photographer know just what you envision!

You are giving yourself a rare opportunity to participate in the artist’s vision before the artwork is created. Not only that, it is going to feature your soon-to-be favorite person in their most innocent and beautiful state – before they become a one-year-old who can’t sit still for a camera, then a toddler with a snack in their hand and food on their face at all times, a kid with messy hair who won’t let you style it and refuses to wear the outfit you’ve picked out….you get the idea. I want you to TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE of this amazing opportunity you have given yourself! These images will likely turn out to be your favorites, and it is a great idea to spend time thinking about ways your photographer can really customize the styling for you!

Here are the 4 things I ask my clients to think about

Newborn expression image from a photography session in Columbia, MD

Home Decor

Think about the rooms in your home where you plan to display your custom artwork (because these days, why even invest in professional photography only to add to your collection of images on your devices and social media pages?) I bring my studio to my clients’ homes, so I have the benefit of actually witnessing everyones’ decorating style – even if you ACTUALLY hope your home is going to look completely different in the near future (I feel that). But that is why this information is super important!

Like most Newborn Photographers, I plan my sets in advance, so arriving at your doorstep is not the best time for me to realize you have very modern taste, or lots of bright white walls, or lots of rustic accents. And maybe you no longer love your decor – that’s good to know too! It may be as simple as taking a look through some home decor blogs – what style resonates with you? At a minimum, I always ask how you are decorating your nursery, or, what would a dream nursery look like for you? Any particular colors you love to decorate with, and any you’d like to avoid?

Seasonal Colors and Themes

Here in Maryland, my clients and I are fortunate (I guess) to experience all four seasons. So in the spring, soft pastels feel most appropriate (bonus guest blog below for some spring inspiration!) In the fall, rich earthy colors speak to us more. Using the season as inspiration will transport you to that moment in time when you look back on your precious photos.


If it is left up to me, I use one bed and two buckets, baskets or bowls in every session. I do this to give variety, not just in the style of props but also in the poses used in each. But, my clients often have fallen in love with specific images and may not be as interested in the variety. Some people like no props or maybe just one, some people want mostly images with props. Don’t like babies in bonnets? That’s allowed! Again, preference is just that – we need to know yours to make sure you love YOUR images.

Don’t ever feel afraid to point out the things you love or don’t love to your photographer – it does not hurt our feelings! It is so great to know things like that ahead of time, before planning setups around certain items that you may actually not love.

Personal Taste

Of course, you’ve hired your Photographer because you absolutely love their style and their portfolio. Maybe you would rather tell them “I trust your talents, I don’t need to be involved in the planning”. Photographers are artists, so I don’t know one who doesn’t love to hear that! For me though, client satisfaction is always a top priority. You can always simply look through your photographer’s portfolio to pick out the images you like best!

Maybe you are drawn to images of a baby on all-white, or you really love the dramatic black-and-white images. You may prefer a variety of colors, just one small pop of color, or all neutrals. And if you want to include color, would you prefer a traditionally gender-specific color palette? Maybe you’d like to branch out from pink for girls and go with purple, or even blue or green! Do you like lots of wood accents or to keep things more white and bright? Do lots of textures make you feel cozy, or do you prefer the smooth and simple? There is no wrong answer to any of these – it is a preference, and everyone has one!

most importantly, just remember…

Your custom art is made to pass on through your family – and not in the way that your grandma may have handed you a box of old deteriorating photos because she just couldn’t bring herself to throw them away. Professional print labs now provide MUSEUM QUALITY PRINTS, so photographers have a responsibility to create TIMELESS images for their clients. My mindset when styling my images is to keep trends and anything “Pinterest worthy” to a minimum…the people should be the focus of every image, and you should still appreciate the style in 50 years. Keep this in mind as you scroll through the millions of images out there of newborn babies, and ask yourself the questions on each topic listed above – your family will be sure to absolutely love your customized newborn photos for generations!

Featured Family Photographer:

As we’re gearing up for outdoor family sessions to return as the weather starts improving (soon, hopefully!), I’m excited to share this inspiring post from Minneapolis Family Photographer Michele Quattrin of mQn Photography, Family Photos in the Spring, with 5 great location suggestions for your springtime outdoor family photos! And for those families who are expecting in the next few months, Michele’s images are the perfect inspiration when thinking about colors for your Newborn Session, since it can be hard to really envision springtime when it’s so cold and gloomy out!

Baltimore Newborn Photographer Melissa Porta at her home studio in Maryland

Hi, I’m Melissa

An Ellicott City, Clarksville, and Columbia, MD Newborn Photographer.

I bring my studio to my clients’ homes throughout central Maryland. I specialize in a subtle and simplistic style using earthy neutrals and muted accent colors, and for providing an exceptional client experience. Interested in learning more about my in-home sessions?

Visit My Website

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