Don't wait until baby arrives to book your lifestyle newborn photoshoot

Your newborn is finally here! Planning last minute for photos is generally not on the forefront of your mind as you navigate frequent feedings, achy breasts, and postpartum healing.

Book your newborn session well before your due date to make sure all the details can be planned before baby makes their arrival. That will give you plenty of time to choose outfits, complete your session questionnaire, and put together any last special touches in your home.

With that done, you can enjoy soaking up that wonderful newborn scent and scrunchy snuggles between feedings and diaper changes without stressing about ordering a new dress or making sure everyone has coordinating outfits.

family sits on couch and dotes on newborn baby girl during in home newborn pictures in saint cloud minnesota

Choose outfits ahead of time and set them aside somewhere that you'll remember

With my second baby, I had picked out my family's outfits weeks before our little newborn arrived - I had two different outfits for my newborn (because I wasn't sure which size he would fit into) plus, if his first outfit got dirty, I could change him into something else.

My toddler was on the cusp of moving into the next size up, so I had two different shirts picked out for him - I tend to over prepare though, so that may not have been necessary. Nevertheless, I had outfits chosen for all of us well in advance of our baby boy being born. I made sure that those outfits were clean and set aside so that I didn't have to think about it again until the day of the session when we could easily take them out and put them on.

Postpartum can be such a haze, I wanted to make sure that I had what I wanted before postpartum emotions took over and made it harder for me to make decisions.

Make sure that everyone in the family knows about the photo session

As a disclaimer, let me just say, you know your children best. Maybe your child is anxiety prone and needs to NOT know very far in advance because that will give them too much time to worry. (Please let me know if your child struggles with anxiety so that I can be better prepared to engage them in a way that is helpful to them!)

In general, it is best to let your older children (and dad) know that you are booking an in home newborn session. No one wants to have it announced day-of-the-session that they are going to be in photos in an hour.

Include dad in the planning process and make sure he knows what to expect in the newborn session

I always ask that both dad and mom read through their welcome guide - It is not a long guide, but it does help prep you to know what to expect at your session!

Often, dads are stressed at the idea of photo session because they don't know how they are supposed to act, what they are supposed to do, and if their kids are going to "act right"

I will guide you through the entire process, you don't have to stress about what to do or whether you're doing it "right"

Let me reassure you, I am not going to leave you on your own to figure out posing, and I am not going to be bothered if your kids don't respond immediately to my suggestions. I like to chat during the session and get to know you and your family a bit.

Newborn sessions are super laidback - I will pose your family gently and give prompts and suggestions for how you can interact, or sometimes we chat during the session while you snuggle your little baby.

I do the work by capturing different angles and perspectives. Newborns are perfect, and the way your family interacts with one another is beautiful, I just get to help you see that by capturing it for you!

mom and dad stand holding their newborn in saint cloud mn during their in home newborn session

Tips for including siblings in newborn photos

Let go of expectations and engage in the moment

Having a new baby in the house is a HUGE change for any sibling, but toddlers can have a particularly hard time because they are not always able to understand what is happening and why mom can't hold them as much anymore. I'll be watching for this so that I can make suggestions, but you know your child best and will likely notice it sooner than I do - If your kiddo is struggling and not wanting to interact with their new baby brother or sister, maybe try having dad take the baby and let mom have some one on one cuddles with your sweet firstborn. This gives a great opportunity for me to capture mom and her first baby together, while also helping your child possibly be more open to playing some of my little games that will create those opportunities to capture those cute moments I know you are hoping for.

The biggest thing is not even directly related to the child themselves but actually to mom and dad - Let go of expectations for your toddler/older child. They will be able to tell if you are stressed and kids tend to react poorly to that! Don't try and force them to smile at the camera or to kiss the baby - Suggestions are fine, but don't worry about pushing it (that usually makes it worse!)

I have little tricks up my sleeve to get young toddlers to engage with their new brother or sister (my kids are 18 months apart and I was obsessed with capturing them together, so these are well tested tricks and games!) but give yourself (and them) permission to embrace what their relationship looks like at this stage.

Kids move fast and are unpredictable, I don't force them to participate but I am strategic in how I prepare parents and set up the session to have the best experience

Lifestyle newborn sessions are more about capturing what is truly happening than about creating lots of posed pictures of your family sitting on the couch smiling at the camera (though I do try and get one of those so that grandma is happy!) - Just because I give your child a prompt or suggestion does NOT mean that I want you to try and force them to do it, lots of times my prompts are designed to be flexible so that your child's personality gets to show through.

Little kids move fast, so expect that they may be popping in and out of the photos. I usually start newborn photoshoots with the whole family together and then some siblings shots, that way, your older child(ren) can go and play or eat a snack while I am finishing the session. If they decide they are interested again, they can pop back in for a few more photos.

Sometimes, if baby needs an outfit change, I'll go see what your older child is doing and capture some photos of them in their own little world to add to your newborn's gallery - It all tells the story to help you remember what this stage of life was like!

toddler kisses his newborn sister as she cries in dad's arms during newborn pictures saint cloud mn

Preparing your home for lifestyle newborn photos

You'll receive some guidance from me via email shortly before your session. In a nutshell, DON'T STRESS. You don't have to clean your house for me! I just ask that you clear off clutter like, tissue boxes, phone charges, breast pump supplies , etc., and maybe shove the laundry basket into the bathroom so that it isn't in the background of your photos.

A few other suggestions that I make (but I can totally do them when I arrive)

  • Turn off overhead lights (natural window light is the BEST for newborn pictures, or I also bring my flash if I need additional light. Indoor lighting tends to create unflattering shadows unless it is strategically being used.)
  • Put a clean neutral colored bedspread on your master bed
  • Turn on some quiet background music that your family enjoys, I find that this helps everyone feel more relaxed during photos
  • Turn off the television or sports reports and set aside cell phones

When I arrive for a session, I like to look around to see which areas of your home have the best lighting in order to determine which rooms we will use for your session. Some common rooms that I use are the living room, baby's nursery, and the master bedroom. If the light is better in the guest room though, I would probably use that - Or if your hallway has a pretty mirror, you better believe I am going to utilize that cozy little nook as well!

Know that baby may need to eat or be fussy- And that is okay!

This is a huge time of change for your whole family - I am completely expecting that baby will need to be fed or changed, and maybe even big brother or sister too - I am not in a rush! Lots of times I like to keep photographing all those little "mundane" moments (those will probably end up being some of your favorite photos anyway when you are looking back at them!) If we get that chance, I'd love if you'd tell me your birth story while you feed your baby.

If baby is fussy and doesn't want to be put down, that is also so completely okay - That little one has been cozy and warm inside mama for the last 9 months, I am not going to force them to have to be separated from you if they don't want to be on their own. We can capture so many sweet details while they are secure in your arms.

The newborn stage can be hard, I've been through it twice so far with my own babies, but it truly does go by so fast and it can be easy to forget those hazy, chaotic, beautiful newborn days.

If you're a client of mine, please know that you can reach out at any time with any questions (or just to chat) I am honored to be invited into this special time to document these memories for your family. It truly means the world to me!

See you at the session!







work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

A meaningful and fun photo experience with your spouse and kiddos in one of the beautiful outdoor locations near St. Cloud, MN: Whether it is a field, lake-side beach, or wooded area, I am always on the search for more beautiful places to recommend for my clients.




work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

Intentional photos of the expectant mother in a beautiful outdoor location. Her significant other and other children are included in the session as well. Flowy dresses to highlight your beautiful bump and make you feel as stunning as you are highly recommended!




work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

Intentional and stress-free photos of your beautiful newborn (and his or her immediate family) in either the comfort of your own home where baby's memories begin, or in a beautiful outdoor location near St. Cloud.

St. Cloud, MN
family + newborn photographer

Hi, my name is


St. Cloud MN family and newborn photographer

On a mission to create and capture poetic + love-filled moments for ordinary families.

I am wife to my hardworking hubby, mama to two sweet little boys, lover of photographs, and family photographer in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

Photos have always been important to me, but especially since starting my own little family. When my first child was born, I wanted desperately to have photos documenting everything: every finger hold, baby yawn, and embrace from my hubby. Every moment I have with them is such a gift!

Holding my newborn son, I realized that motherhood and family life is too precious to let it fly past without being documented, and I felt an ache in my heart to tell the beautiful story of family for other moms.


Mama, you deserve to have heartfelt and joyful photos with your family that bring memories to your mind and tears to your eyes that you cherish forever.

I create a comfortable space for you to intentionally step away from the endless piles of laundry and be present with your family. With fun games for your children and laidback posing and prompts to illicit natural reactions and sweet interactions, your session is designed to be relaxed and enjoyable for children and parents alike to create lasting memories for your heart and home.