With the many, many talented newborn photographers out there, it’s easy to feel like you need to do exactly what they’re doing. You think you should have a ton of props, several available hours to shoot, and the ability to pose babies in very difficult positions! Thankfully, there’s a much less-stressful way to photograph newborns: in a ‘lifestyle’ manner. It’s incredibly relaxed and casual, which I believe new parents very much appreciate. Here are a few tips to get you started!
1 – Look for the light. This is always my main goal when shooting indoors – shoot where you find the best natural lighting! It’s not a bad idea to ask the parents to pay attention to when the window light is best in the nursery, their bedroom, and the living room before the session. This will give you a better idea of when to schedule your session, and you can create a game plan ahead of time.
2 – My favorite part about the lifestyle sessions is that I don’t have to get the baby to sleep! As long as they are content, I can photograph them easily in a variety of locations. Their crib or floor of their nursery (on top of colorful blankets) are popular spots, and I sometimes bring a posing pillow (aka $15 beanbag from Walmart!) to put next to a window if I know the lighting won’t be ideal. Most parents I’ve photographed haven’t minded if the baby doesn’t sleep – in fact, many prefer to see their pretty eyes in the photos!
3 – Capture the details. Think toes, nose, hands! The parents are loving every single bit of that baby, and we all know how quickly babies grow. Document their small features – the parents will swoon!
4 – Everyone together. Once you’ve photographed the baby alone, make sure to photograph each parent with the child, as well as the family together. Have the parents snuggle and kiss the baby (I’m sure they won’t mind); this is great for those tight shots that show a lot of emotion. I love doing these pictures close to a window, in the nursery, or on the master bed. The parents may have some ideas as well – be sure to listen and try to incorporate those if the lighting and background allows.
5 – Siblings. Speaking of photographing the whole family, many of these newborns will have older siblings! I’ll be honest – trying to get a toddler and a newborn happy, settled, and glancing somewhere near the camera in more than one picture can be a major challenge. This is where the beauty of lifestyle shoots is apparent! Depending on the age of the sibling(s), ask them a series of questions to get them to look at the baby: how many toes the baby has, what color the baby’s eyes are, is the baby making a funny face at them? The key is to keep them entertained with the newborn long enough to get a series of sweet, loving shots…sometimes it works better than others, but that’s what makes it fun! I’ve learned that the best locations for these photos is usually on a bed (so the kids don’t have to hold the baby – that tends to go south quickly) or on the floor. Good luck with these shots!
6 – Keep things casual. The newborn stage flies by, and the parents will love having pictures of their daily life during this time. Take pictures of them feeding the baby (if mom is ok with that), changing a diaper, putting on a new outfit, gazing at the baby on their bed or couch, etc. They don’t even have to look at the camera; just have them look at each other and the child. So many possibilities!
I highly recommend trying the lifestyle approach to your next newborn session. You’ll do a great job!
See these fabulous posts by our Guest Blogger as well: