Preparing for your Baby Session

Maternity, Newborn and Milestone sessions are all about capturing the sweet milestones that happen in the beginning of your baby's life! The information on this page has been put together to help you prepare for your upcoming session with Liz as best as you can. Please feel free at any time to email or text Liz with questions, or to schedule a consultation either over the phone or at the studio. A consultation is included for each and every session you book with Liz, so don't hesitate to ask for help in any way that you need!

Newborn Session Preparation Guide

This guide was prepared for you to help make your Newborn Session as easy and stress-free as possible. Inside you will find information about what to expect, what to wear, and how to prepare yourself, your baby, and the rest of your family members for our time together. 


Maternity & Family Preparation Guide

This guide was prepared for you to help make your Maternity Session as easy and stress-free as possible. Inside you will find information about what to expect, what to wear, and how to prepare yourself, as well as the rest of your family members for our time together. 


Baby Milestone Session Preparation Guide

Baby Milestone Sessions are quick, easy, and fun! We will capture memories like them grabbing their toes, giggling, putting anything and everything in their mouths, tummy time, sitting up, crawling, and more! Our goal is to capture those precious details for you so that you have them for a lifetime, because babies change so quickly!

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Tips for Your Perfect Photo Session


Baby Milestone sessions are scheduled on weekdays between 9am and 2pm at the studio located in Forest, VA

These sessions usually last around 25-45 mins, depending on baby. We can take time to feed and snuggle as well as get them used to me!

These sessions do not have to be scheduled exactly at the 3-6-9-12 month marks. They can be whenever you feel like you want to capture a season of your baby's life. Some parents schedule just a 6 month and first birthday session. Some want the birthday session photographed a little early so pictures can be ready for display at the first birthday party. It is completely up to you as the client when you want to schedule these sessions.

I recommend securing a session date on the calendar as soon as possible (some clients secure a year ahead of time!) and waiting until the month of the session to finalize a specific time for the session. This way you can arrange the session time around nap schedules to help ensure the best mood for your little one.

Tips For Your Best Session

Feel free to bring along to all sessions:

1. Any outfits or special sentimental items you would like to include. For example: baby's favorite toy or lovey. We can photograph baby with these items or use them behind the camera to get baby's attention. They are great to have on hand for both purposes. (Feel free to text me photos of these items ahead of time so that I can best prepare: 540-455-1795.) 

2. If possible, bring baby fully fed as that will give us more time for pictures! 

3. Text me if you have any questions! I am happy to help! (540-455-1795)

4. One photo-ready parent. It is always a good idea to have one parent present who is ready to step in for pictures should we need some help or extra comfort for the baby during the session.

During the Session:

During these sessions, a lot of clients want to be of help during their children's solo portraits.

Oftentimes it looks something like this: A parent (or both) standing behind me and jumping up and down calling their child's name at a very high pitch, clapping, whistling, and/or waving like a windmill. I love that my clients are so invested in their session and want to help! are the two main problems that this presents.

1. Your child doesn't know where they should look. They see me, this lady with a camera and right above me, their favorite person. Where do you think they're going to look?

2. They get overwhelmed and they shut down. Why is mommy acting crazy right now and working so hard to get my attention? Wait, why are they selling this whole thing so hard? I don't like all this pressure. Ok, that's it, I refuse to cooperate or look at this lady anymore. Game over.

The BEST way you can help?

1. Greet me with enthusiasm and give me a hug if you are comfortable doing so. SHOW your child that you trust me and that I am a friend of yours and a safe person. I will not bombard your child as soon as you arrive to your session and this is purposeful. I have found that when you don't pay attention to little ones, it's not long before they are trying to get your attention. :) 

2. Before we begin, tell me about your child and their favorite things: toys, characters, etc. If they have a favorite rattle or lovey, bring it along and let me hold it, etc.

3. Don't push your child to cooperate or force them to smile and look at the camera. Allow your child to approach me and interact with me at their own pace. When they do, step back at a distance and stay quiet and unnoticed.

4. Speak up if you think they aren't giving me their best smiles and you want me to wait a little longer for it. Or ask to interrupt me and show me how you get your child to smile, then take a step back and let me try. I may ask you to step in and help - but please wait for my request. 

5. Let me interact with your child and have fun with them and watch their natural personality unfold from a distance while I capture them just as they are. Your child (and you!) will have a much more enjoyable experience!


Because of the nature of my job, and the exposure I have to brand new babies, I ask that if ANYONE in your family is sick, that you not bring them to your session. I work extremely hard to ensure that my home and studio remain free of germs and sickness, and take very seriously the health and safety of the newborns & babies that arrive in my studio. 

What to Wear

Choosing your Portrait Session clothing is one of the key elements to creating great imagery, and I want to do everything in my ability to help guide you in this process.

avoid black & white

If possible, avoid wearing solid black or solid white tops in your portraits, especially together. They don’t photograph well and can come across outdated.

neutral tones are best

I personally recommend looking for pieces that are in a neutral color palette. This helps keep your images timeless and classic to last for many years on your wall without being aged by outdated trends. The studio is most welcoming for soft color tones such as cream, gray, and blush. If you are choosing a darker color, look for deeper neutral tones such as navy, hunter green, or burgandy.

I highly advise staying away from brighter colors, such as those in the bright red & orange range (like bright pink, salmon, or bright peach) as they reflect intense color casts that can affect the color tones in your images and on your skin.

add dimension with layers

The most important thing that you can do is select solid colors that layer well, such as knits and linens. Shawls and cardigans are great for this, and you may even consider including a lacey piece. Layering clothing can add texture to your images which brings in a timeless and classy feel to your portraits.ic

careful with patterns

Any chosen prints, such as small polkadots or thin stripes, should be minimal and soft. I recommend staying away from clothing with any logos or words on them, as they can be very distracting in the photographs.

Studio Wardrobe

All clients are welcome to use any piece from the studio wardrobe for any session with Liz Cook Photography. Please express your desire to do so as soon as possible so we can schedule a wardrobe consultation ahead of time. You are welcome to peruse the wardrobe upon your arrival for your session, however, if you wait until the day of your session, please also bring a back-up clothing option for yourself or your children in the case that you don't find a perfect piece for your session.

3 or 4 Month Session


For this session, you can expect about a 30 minute mini session.

Feel free to bring an outfit or two along with you. I have a few studio clothing options for this age but I also recommend a bare belly/blanket set as well. I will aim to do 2-3 different clothing sets for this age, depending on how baby responds.

Please note it is pretty common to not get a lot of smiles at this age. The goal is to capture how much they’ve already changed in such a short time and I’ll definitely do my best to capture a few smiles! Some babies at this age are great at holding their heads up, and some area not. And that's okay!

I plan to do a few pictures of baby laying on their back, on their belly, and sometimes in the arms of a parent (if the parent wishes to be in photographs). This session is a great time to capture a few Mommy & Me and Daddy & Me pictures.

6 Month Session


This is such a fun session! Again, you can expect this session to last for about 30 minutes, sometimes a little longer.

Feel free to bring along 1-3 favorite outfits from home, but know I do have a few great studio outfits for this age so there is no reason to stress about clothing.

If you are comfortable, this is a great milestone for a few bare-bottom sitting pictures (from behind). This is not required, of course. I will plan to do a lot of sitting pictures during this session: sitting on the bed, on the chair, and on the hardwood floor. We can bring in a variety of blankets and textures for baby to touch and feel that can also change the look of the set ups as well. 

8 or 9 Month Session


Just like all milestone sessions, this session will focus on all of the changes your baby has made since the last time they were photographed!

This is another great session for sitting pictures. However, if your little one has started scooting and crawling, we will spend most of the session focused on all of his or her new abilities! We will try to get a handful of sitting pictures but we will also allow them to get their wiggles out as they wish. 

Again, feel free to bring along 1-3 favorite outfits from home, but know I do have a number of great studio outfits for this age so there is no reason to stress about clothing.

This session will last about 35-45 minutes, depending on baby. We will aim for 2-3 outfits/sets.

First Birthday Session


You made it! Hard to believe your baby is already one! Similar to your previous sessions, I’ll have some clothing options available, depending how much your baby has grown. 

We will spend most of this session allowing your toddling baby the chance to walk around and explore. It is possible to schedule this session outdoors, but the flexibility in scheduling times is very limited due to available light limitations. Please let me know if this is an interest of yours ahead of time and we can discuss it more in detail. 

This session will last about 35-45 minutes and family members are welcome to join in near the end of a few full-family portraits. We will plan to do 2-3 outfit sets (this includes the set with the whole family).

If you are opting to have a cake smash, we will finish the session with this activity. Please know that not all babies enjoy cake or the cake smash experience, but we make it as fun as we possibly can!

*If your child has food allergies, you are welcome to provide your own allergen-free cake and avoid the $20 additional fee.

Further questions?

Email or call Liz: | (540) 455-1795