What is a Lifestyle Newborn Session?
The goal of lifestyle photography is to show people in real-life settings and share the beauty of the everyday. So newborn lifestyle photography is all about photographing a baby in their natural environment, usually at home, with minimal posing and including their family in the newborn photos. That may sound a little vague so let me walk you through a few things I keep in mind during my lifestyle newborn photos.
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Keep Baby Comfortable
Remember, if you're a 90s kid like me, when newborn photography was all about dressing baby's up in costumes? The flower baby in a pot, the star baby on the moon, etc. etc. The thing that always rubbed me wrong about that was how does the baby feel about that photo session? Was that serenely sleeping baby screaming minutes earlier because she didn't want to be squeezed into a terracotta pot, or because that costume was itchy against her delicate skin? I'm sure those photos can be taken in a way that is gentle and respects the baby but it would be a complicated business.
Even though they can't tell us what they want, a baby's needs should ALWAYS take priority over specific photo ideas. They are tiny, beautiful little people and photographers should be as respectful of their comfort as they are of their older clients'. That said, babies do cry a lot so there are things you can do to help them settle down. Gently patting them, keeping them warm, having them in a swaddle, playing womb noises (look it up on Spotify. It's a thing.) or taking a break for a feeding or diaper change.
Have Your Newborn Photography Session at Home
One of the trademarks of lifestyle newborn photography is in home sessions. Nothing is more natural for your baby than snuggling with you at home. You can take photos by a window or in a bedroom or nursery with plenty of natural light. That way you can even include your new baby's hairy siblings (i.e. the family pet) in the family portraits too.
All of that might sound great but if you live in a big city with tight spaces like Toronto, an in home newborn session might not be the best fit. Thankfully, there are so many beautiful photo studios with natural lighting, even a big bed, that can recreate the gentle, cozy feeling of home.
Instead of creating fantasy backdrops and costumes, lifestyle sessions focus on taking newborn photos in a more natural way. This could be snuggled up in a beautiful, comfy blanket, or gently resting on a bed, or my personal favorite, being held by mom. It is SO unnatural for a newborn baby to be alone. They need physical touch so much so I always keep photos of them alone to a minimum.
Go Easy on the Props
Rather than using lots of props to add interest to newborn photos, let the photos be all about that precious new baby. Detail shots of adorable little toes, rosy cheeks, sweet tiny eyelashes, tiny hands holding a parent's finger are so meaningful and special. Plus, your lifestyle newborn session will be much more timeless if you don't use a lot of trendy props.
Tender Moments With Mom
The most natural place for a new baby to be is in their mother's arms so beautiful lifestyle newborn photography focuses a lot on that relationship. There are so many sweet moments that can be captured as a mom holds their baby, sweetly kissing their head, letting them squeeze their tiny hand around her finger, just sitting in the joy of being together. Some of my most precious photos are of me with my baby boys, and as they've grown, they always love looking at those photos too. Because in those moments, they can see so clearly how much I love them, fiercely protect them, and treasure them always.
Include the Whole Family
The whole point of lifestyle newborn photography is to focus in on the beautiful real life for that baby and their family members. So including both parents and siblings in newborn sessions shows a beautiful slice of what that season of life was like, everyone in awe and in love with that tiny little baby. (I'm genuinely making myself cry as I write this, remembering how sweet my big boys were with their baby brother.) And if big sister or brother is a toddler, they may not want to be in all the photos but there are plenty of ways to help them feel included in those special family moments, and to feel their importance as the older sibling.
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