Dressing your baby for family photos is a bit different then dressing for newborn photos. It’s also different then dressing older children for family photos. There are extra things to consider that will help your session go more smoothly, while loving the way your baby looks in his photos. Follow these tips and you can confidently dress your baby for your next family photo session. (Plus I’m sharing my favorite places to find photo friendly outfits for baby!)
First things first. As you’re selecting what to wear for your baby, you will still want to follow the same basic guidelines like, avoid large logos, bright colors, outfits with words etc. If you need a quick refresher, check out my What to Wear for Family Photos blog post.
Now for the dressing baby for photos tips!
Tip #1: We are photographing your baby not an outfit.
This is listed first because it is most important to keep in mind. Let’s say it again, we are photographing your baby not an outfit.
Your goal is to find something that highlights your baby while letting him shine. We aren’t creating a clothing catalog, we are capturing your baby right now.
Tip #2: Dress your baby in a well fitting, comfortable outfit.
Babies grow like weeds, so buying clothes with room to grow makes plenty of sense. However, family photos is not the time for growing room. That growing room can look sloppy or just leave your baby looking like he’s drowning in his outfit.
Instead, select a well fitting outfit in comfortable fabrics. There’s no need to dress your baby in stiff jeans and a polo (or a fancy, poofy dress) if that’s not what you normally dress them in.
My favorite thing to dress (and photograph) babies in is a romper. There are so many cute options – from long sleeved to short sleeved, frilly or simple, thick and warm, or short and cross backed letting all that baby goodness shine through. They are made for baby to move, cover that diaper in one piece so typically don’t ride up.
I will share a few favorite places to find outfits that photograph well for babies at the end of this post.
Tip #3: Consider baby’s age and stage when picking an outfit.
This may seem like an odd tip. But if baby is still young and cannot hold herself up on her own very well yet, a big dress is not your best option. Or if baby is crawling, ensure that baby is able to crawl comfortably and not frustrated by stiff fabrics or things that get in the way. Typically dresses work best for babies able to stand on their own.
Tip #4: Dress baby for the season.
This may seem like a no brainer, but consider if it will be hot or cold during your session. If we will be outdoors, you do not want a baby that is too cold or too hot. So think warm layers (including a hat) during cooler months, and light layers during warmer months.
For extra tips on keeping baby warm, I put together 3 Tips for Keeping Baby Warm During Family Photos.
Tip #5: Don’t forget baby’s feet!
Putting shoes on your baby that isn’t yet sitting up, let alone walking can feel silly. Plus, if you have tried putting shoes on your baby, you know they do not stay on. Yet feet matter. You don’t want to leave your baby bare foot in winter, nor do you want a pair of neon orange socks ruining your photos.
Either select a sock that goes well (i.e. not a neon green sock with your nice navy outfit) or find a bootie or shoe that fits well.
My favorite shoe for baby (newborn to toddler) is a moccasin. (See list below for specific recommendations)
Tip #6: Before your session, try my hold test for younger babies.
The best way to see if your baby’s outfit will work well is to try my hold test.
Dress baby in the outfit fully and stand in front of a mirror. Hold baby tummy to tummy (so their tummy to your tummy) and give baby 10 kisses and then spin around in a circle. Does baby’s outfit ride way up to cover his face?
Next, try holding baby facing outwards in your arms. How does that outfit look? Finally, if baby is old enough, raise baby into the air like you’re playing “flying high” with him. (See photo above for example)
Take note. Do you find yourself readjusting baby’s clothing constantly? Is his face covered a ton that you’re moving things down? A little adjusting is expected, but if you can hardly move baby without a collar blocking his face, or dress riding up too high, then consider something else.
Tip #7: Take a photo of your baby in the outfit and send it to me!
If you have hired me to capture your family, I expect to help you with outfits. In fact, I adore helping you ensure you will love what you’re wearing! So dress baby and snap a photo and send it to me. I can help make adjustments or reassure you that it will work well!
Hats or headbands should be well-fitted as well. You don’t want a hat to constantly be blocking baby’s eyes! (Avoid brimmed hats as they will put baby’s eyes in shadow).
If dressing baby in a dress, use tights or a diaper cover to cover up that diaper.
Small bows or hair clips are adorable, but ensure they stay in well. You don’t want to be spending your entire session worried about the hair bow and having to constantly replace it.
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As promised I wanted to share a few of my favorite places to find outfits for baby.
These are places that I have personally shopped for my own babies and loved, or that clients have used and suggested as options to me. Please note that a few of these contain links where I get a referral reward. Again, I only recommend places that I truly love. I appreciate your using the link so that I may get the small credit to use for my own family. Many of the links also give you a discount for shopping as well.
Primary – Plenty of classics and clean colors. Great for finding things that coordinate with older siblings too!
Lou Lou & Company – Beautiful for newborns but also classic for slightly older babies, too. Perfect for in-home sessions with baby.
Target – We all love Target, don’t we? They have adorable outfits for babies (and siblings), but watch those logos and graphic T’s.
Childhoods Clothing – From adorable (and cozy) rompers to cute gussets, crew necks and peplum sweatshirts, baby can look cute while being cozy. Also can coordinate well with older siblings (up to size 8/9)
Lulu & Roo – Plenty of cute options for baby (and younger kids) in several adorable styles.
Hanna Anderson – Beautiful basics for baby and options to coordinate with older siblings.
Freshly Picked – Baby Moccasins. These things stay on baby’s feet. They are also great as they provide protection for baby’s feet as she starts to walk, while allowing it to feel like walking barefoot.
Briar baby – The best bonnets for keeping baby’s head warm while adding a nice pop to your photos. (Ensure you’re selecting the right size, you want it to fit well and just cover the ears. They have a nice fit test on their website).
My list could go on of favorite places, but in the end, the more clean and simple you keep baby’s outfit the more baby can shine. Remember, the goal is not to photograph an outfit, but your baby at the stage he is in right now!