January 4, 2022

“What Do I Even Wear for Our Newborn Session?!”

A few weeks ago I made space for questions on Instagram, and the most interacted-with response was the following:

“What do I even wear for a newborn session?! I’ve had two babies and still don’t have a clue!”

OOF. I’m so glad for this question, as it’s made me realize a HUGE need for more education on the overall newborn experience!

Because yes, my main goal is for you to have incredible images that document this season of life in the most simple + natural + REAL way possible….but right up there with that is my desire for your experience to be incredible, too. I know how stressful and all-consuming those first weeks of newborn life are…so it’s my hope to bring a little bit of peace and calm however I can. :)

And if you’re like me, the last thing on your mind is what you’re going to WEAR when you’re figuring out how this brand new little person you’ve made and birthed into the world even works. Ya know?!

First and foremost, know that SIMPLE is more than enough.

Please don’t feel like you need to go buy new outfits for every single person in your family. Dress the way *you* dress — you’ll see a lot of earthy neutral colors throughout this blog post, but if you’re a bold + bright dresser, go bold still, please! Wear a top or dress that you feel comfortable in — loose and flowy is always a win for postpartum days. I wore my maternity jeans for all three of our newborn shoots — so any pressure you’re feeling to squeeze back into pre-pregnancy pants…just let it roll off your shoulders and take a deep breath. You just made a HUMAN. You are perfect & beautiful & wonderful in every single way.

So. Keeping all of that in mind, here is my advice for what to wear to your newborn session:

When choosing your outfits, think about mixing solids with patterns and incorporating TEXTURE whenever you can! 

And honestly, I think it’s the texture piece that’s key to nailing your outfit choices. When I say texture, I mean adding dimension and FEELING to your clothes.

Here are some examples to help you visualize what I mean:

If babe is in a patterned swaddle or outfit, shoot for a soft solid top for mom and dad. This creates a softness and rest in the photos as opposed to overwhelming the eye!

If babe is in a solid swaddle or outfit, make sure mom’s top isn’t the same exact color to avoid blending in. Here’s an example with a similar color but solid/pattern mixing:

And here’s an example with both mom and babe in solids…but since they’re different textures (one cotton, one linen), it works!

And here’s one with the same color to mom’s top, but since the swaddle is so textured, it works!!

Another great example of mixing textures and patterns. Cotton shirt for one brother, striped jammies for baby, button up shirt for third brother!

When using a white swaddle, try to have either a significantly different textured white shirt (sweater, linen, etc), or a different neutral color. I loved this contrast!

This is a great example of different textures/shades in the same color palette. Everyone’s in grey – but Dad has a dark grey vest, mom a light grey sweater, and babe a blue-ish grey striped outfit!

Lots of textures in this one! Love the unifying green to pull all the patterns and textures together — it’s perfect!

Perfect example of mixing textures! Loved this dress for a summer newborn session for mom!

Similar colors…but the texture to mom’s top with the softness of babe’s outfit is perfect.

This is a great example of texture! Three white outfits — but mom’s is a textured dress, brother’s is a linen button up, baby’s is a cotton swaddle. Perfect!

Colorful + patterned swaddle paired with neutral white dress.

Plain white swaddle + textured top + button up for Dad. A win!

More great texture — I loved dad’s neutral shirt, mom’s cozy sweater, and babe’s patterned swaddle!

And, because you know I always love to teach from a place of experience: here are our photos from all three of our newborn sessions! Fun fact: I didn’t buy ANYTHING for any of these sessions outside of a special swaddle for the newest little person each time. We shopped our closets + dressers and made it work!

For Ryan’s session, I borrowed my sisters sweater, Chris wore a textured waffle button up, and we had Ry in a plain white swaddle. And of course, Graham joined a few photos….and was banished from the rest of our sessions. Haha!

For Adam’s, I wore the textured button up this time, Chris wore a solid forest green top, Adam was in heather grey jammies (because he refused to be swaddled…what a life prediction haha!), and Ry wore a darker grey button up with lighter wash jeans to contrast our dark jeans. If I could redo, I would have tried to avoid both of us in dark jeans…but it’s okay!

And then for the Noah Bear, we had tans and varying shades of greys + maroon and a mix of jeans and khakis. In hindsight, I wish I had put a different shirt on Ryan so he didn’t have the same color as Noah and I…but if I remember correctly, he was very adamant about wearing that specific top…and it’s 100% NOT worth the fight. :) Happy kids > perfect outfits. Can I get an amen?!

And I think our most recent family session might be my best texture mixing yet! I added the jean jacket to Adam’s outfit last minute (my Aunt had gifted it to Ryan when he was born and I love it so much!), and it was the perfect piece to compliment the rest of us! I had light wash jeans, Ry was in green denim, Chris and Adam were in black denim, and Noah was in corduroy.


And that’s about it! PHEW! If you stuck in there for all of this, you should hopefully feel so prepped and ready to choose outfits for your next family session!

Okay, in review:

When choosing your outfits, think about mixing solids with patterns and incorporating TEXTURE whenever you can! 

I hope this is helpful, friend!




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Sami Orndorff is a Wedding Photographer & Lifestyle Newborn Photographer located in the greater Indianapolis area.