Lifestyle newborn photography can be both rewarding and challenging. It is one of the few genres of photography that allows you to capture truly precious moments that will never be repeated.
However, newborns are also unpredictable creatures, which can make getting that perfect shot challenging. But with a little preparation and some patience, you can get some amazing shots of your new little bundle of joy.
What is Lifestyle Newborn Photography?
Lifestyle newborn photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing images of newborns in their natural environment. This can include shots of the baby in their crib, with their parents, or in any other place where they feel comfortable and relaxed.
What Time is Best for Lifestyle Newborn Photoshoot?
The best time for a lifestyle newborn photography session is when your baby is 5-10 days old. Babies are still relatively sleepy at this age and can be easily positioned. They also tend to be less cranky and more content than they are in the first few weeks after birth.
Photo by kevin liang on Unsplash
If you cannot schedule your shoot during this window, don't worry. Newborns can be challenging at any age, and each stage has unique challenges and rewards. Just be prepared to work a little harder to get those perfect shots.
How to Prepare Well for a Lifestyle Newborn Session?
1. The Baby
Before your family's newborn photoshoot, it is important to ensure your baby is well-fed and has a clean diaper. A full tummy and a clean bottom will help keep your baby comfortable and content during the shoot.
It is also a good idea to dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes that can easily be removed for the shoot. You don't want to be fumbling with buttons or snaps in the middle of a shoot. For slightly older kids, it is also a good idea to have a few props on hand, such as a stuffed animal or blanket. These can help to keep your baby entertained and engaged during the shoot.
2. The House
Take some time to prepare your house for the family newborn photoshoot. If you have pets, make sure they are out of the way and will not be a distraction. If the pets are going to be part of the shoot, make sure they are well-groomed, and the house is clean.
You will also want to ensure the room you are shooting in has plenty of natural light. If possible, shoot near a window or an open door. If not, you may need to use a flash.
Pick up any toys or clutter that might be lying around. And if you have hardwood floors, throw down a blanket or rug to help keep your baby warm. The cradle or bed you will be using for the shoot should also be near the light source.
3. The Family
For the parents, it is important to make sure you are well-rested and relaxed before your shoot. This can be difficult with a new baby in the house, but trying to get some sleep is important. You will also want to eat a healthy meal an hour or so before the shoot.
Photo by Peter Dlhy on Unsplash
You will be doing a lot of moving and bending during the shoot, so it is also important to wear comfortable clothes. And if you are nursing, make sure you have a nursing cover or shirt that you can easily remove.
If you are including other family members in the shoot, ensure they are also prepared. Have them dress in comfortable clothes that coordinate with the colors in the room.
Pro-tips for Memorable Newborn Photos
1. Be Punctual to the Shoot
This is important because you don't want to keep the parents waiting. They may be tired from caring for the baby, and you don't want to add any unnecessary stress. Arrive a few minutes early so you can chat with the parents and get a feel for the family dynamic. This will help you take better photos capturing the family's personality.
2. Continuous Shooting Mode
Continuous shooting mode is a great way to capture many images in a short time, which is perfect for capturing those fleeting newborn moments. By holding down the shutter button, you can take a rapid succession of photos, giving you plenty of chances to get that perfect shot.
3. Dress for the Mess
Although babies are small, they can make quite a mess. Be sure to dress in clothes that you wouldn't mind getting dirty. This way, if the baby spits up or has a diaper blowout, you won't have to worry about ruining your clothes.
Photo by Peter Dlhy on Unsplash
4. Incorporate the Parents' Ideas into the Photoshoot
If the parents have any specific ideas or requests for the newborn shoot, be sure to incorporate them into the shoot. They are the experts on their new baby and will know what they want captured in the photos. By accommodating their wishes, you will surely create a set of photos they will treasure forever.
5. Dress the Baby Up
If you have a specific theme or style in mind, dressing the baby up can help bring your vision to life. Keep in mind that it’s important to use clothing that is comfortable and will not irritate the baby’s skin.
Naked newborns can also make for some very cute photos, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
6. Ask to Scout the Location in Advance
If you are unfamiliar with the location of the shoot, be sure to ask to scout it in advance. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the space and find the best places to take newborn photos. Scouting the location beforehand will also help you plan for any potential problems that might arise on the day of the shoot.
7. Make Sure the Baby Was Attended To
In order to get the best possible shots, it is important to ensure the baby is well-fed and has a clean diaper. A full tummy and a clean bottom will help keep your baby comfortable and content during the shoot.
8. Carry a Sanitizer
Using a sanitizer before a family newborn photoshoot will help keep the baby safe from any germs that you may have on your hands. Carrying a sanitizer shows that you are professional and care about the safety of your clients and their new baby. This small act can go a long way in building trust with your clients.
Photo by Hollie Santos on Unsplash
9. Get Down on Their Level
Photographing a newborn at eye level will create much more intimacy and connection in portraits. It allows you to capture all the details of their tiny features. Close-ups of their face, hands, and feet are always cherished by parents. Plus, it’s way cuter than looking down at a baby from above.
10. Create Symmetry
Symmetry can be a very powerful compositional tool, especially in lifestyle newborn photography. Try to find ways to create symmetrical compositions by placing your subject in the center of the frame. If you are working with twins, this can be a great way to create stunning images. You can also use other elements in the scene to create symmetry, such as furniture placement or other props.
Another way to create symmetry is to use reflection. This can be done by photographing your subject in front of a mirror or using a reflective surface such as a body of water.
11. Shoot in Raw Format
When you're ready to start shooting, do it in RAW, you'll need to change the file format in your camera's menu. Doing so will give you much more control over your photos when editing them later. Shooting in RAW also allows you to produce higher quality images, as it captures more data than shooting in JPEG format.
12. Capture Unaware Photos
It would also be nice to capture some shots of the parents holding and interacting with the baby without them being aware of the camera. These shots tend to be more natural and candid and can be some of the most beautiful ones from the session.
To capture unaware photos, act like you're not taking pictures. Be casual and let the parents interact with their baby as they normally would. Once in a while, snap a photo without them knowing. These types of shots often turn out beautifully and are cherished by parents.
13. Use Safe Baby Poses
Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash
This means avoiding positions that could potentially put stress on their necks or backs. Instead, opt for positions that keep them well-supported and comfortable. Some great ideas include lying them down on their tummies, propping them up on pillows, the froggy pose, or having them sit in someone's lap.
14. Use a Good Backdrop
Using a good backdrop is vital if you want your newborn photos to look professional and polished. You don't need an expensive backdrop, but something that looks clean and tidy. A simple white sheet or cloth hung up can make a big difference. If you're shooting outdoors, find a pretty spot with some greenery or flowers. The background should be simple and not too busy so that the focus is on your newborn.
A lifestyle newborn photoshoot is a great way to capture those first few weeks with your new baby. By following these tips, you can be sure to get the most out of your shoot. And don’t forget to have fun. Newborns grow so fast, so savor every moment.
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