Who is this type of photography session for?
Lifestyle photography with a newborn is for the family that wants to remember the details of your little one and also the love and connection between each family member. It's for that mom who wants to look back and remember what it was like to stay up late nursing in the rocking chair in the corner of the nursery, struggling to reach for a late night snack and your phone that dropped on the floor. It's for the dad who wants to remember all the bottle feeds and diaper changes and sweet skin to skin time that you share with your baby. It's for the big siblings who might someday love to see how much they doted on their new baby. It's also for the sibling who was too busy trying to play or read or eat rather than hang out with this brand new stranger in the family. Lifestyle photography is for the grandparents to be able to see how full of love your home has become. Lifestyle photography is for families who aren't too enthused with super posed photographs and are looking for something that feels a bit more casual, lighthearted, fun, and more "us". It's for the new parents that are too worried about disrupting babies sleep or too anxious and stressed thinking of trying to A) get out of the house at a certain time B) have to figure out the timing of diaper changes and feedings to match up to a certain window in a styled photo session and C) want to include everyone. A lifestyle photographer adapts to a family's needs and lets baby take the lead.
How does a lifestyle newborn session begin?
A lifestyle newborn session actually begins before the photographer even arrives. I send you a session preparation email which includes tips and tricks and also addresses any worries you may have. I ask you to open windows and shades for the session, which allows for the best natural lighting (I do not bring any artificial lighting or use any on camera flash). I also ask you to turn up the heat a bit prior to the session in order to ensure a comfortable baby if we do any naked photos or any clothing changes. Before the session even starts, I also send you information about Style and Select, an amazing personal styling service I am able to offer for my clients! We confirm logistics about our session and I answer any questions you may have.
What is it like on the day of the session?
When I first arrive at your home for a newborn session, I want to begin connecting with you, the family, especially any older siblings. I am also trying to scope out where the best natural lighting is located. While doing this, I casually ask to show me which room or rooms you have in mind for our session. I've had families that have wanted to contain the session to just one room and so we find multiple settings within the room. I've also had families that have been totally open to shooting in whichever room has the best lighting, giving us a variety of rooms throughout the session. For newborn sessions, I typically aim for showing off baby's nursery (if there is one), the parents bedroom, and possibly one other location (this might be a playroom or a living room or even outside in the yard).
Next, I am flexible and follow babies lead
With outdoor family sessions, my goal is to get the traditional posed photos done right away when everyone is fresh, yet with newborns, they are not always ready for that. When I arrive, sometimes baby is feeding or having a diaper change. Sometimes I start by diving right in and documenting those moments and other times I will warm up with any big siblings. The whole time I am just chatting with parents about baby's personality and their birth story and learning what I can about life with this precious new little one.
What happens during the rest of the session?
Depending on what is going on with baby, I try to get all the combinations of family photos. The whole family, just mom and babe, just dad and babe, and just big sibling(s) and babe. During each family combination, I will get everyone smiling at me, then engage them with each other in a variety of ways. Sometimes the family will sit on a couch or a bed together, sometimes they will sit or walk on the stairs, or stand against a wall or a window. Maybe I'll have everyone lie on the bed together or snuggle in a blanket. Some of my favorite photos involve parents or big siblings reading to the newborn (must be the Kindergarten teacher in me!). Often times the best images are of the family doing normal tasks and the newborn is just along for the ride, always included in the action of the day.
But if you don't do styled baby images, will you capture my baby alone?
Absolutely! Sometimes we will place baby alone on a bed, a crib, a bassinet, or propped up on a couch. It is during this part of the session that I aim to capture close ups of those sweet baby details; little hands, little mouth, little feet, or little ears. It is during this time that big siblings and parents get to take a little break from being in the spotlight. Each baby is unique and I just love seeing the little differences in personalities already! Maybe you have a fussy baby...that is totally ok! Even fussy babies have moments of calm within a session. I like to capture some of that fussiness too because as hard as it is to believe that some day you might not remember the sleepless nights and all that fussing...some day you might not remember it and will appreciate the sweet photographs especially of those moments.
What is your favorite part of a lifestyle newborn session?
Being a mom of two children myself, I have a very special place in my heart for the bond between a mother and her baby. Becoming a mom was not something that came naturally to me. It was hard. It really took me the first two or more years before I could confidently understand who I had become and what it meant to be able to call myself a mom. I have watched my friends and cousins each go through their own struggles and journeys with connecting to their baby and helping that baby grow. That is why it is so important for me to ensure a little time during the session for just mama and baby to bond. Moms and babes have a special bond whether breast feeding or bottle feeding. I fully believe "fed is best" so if you are feeling self conscious or nervous that you will be judged during your newborn session, rest assured there is no judgement from me. I love capturing it all and shining a light on the mirror of you two together in this phase (I mean, we all know it's a rare opportunity to even get to look in an actual mirror when caring for a newborn, right?!).
What can I expect towards the end of the session?
Once we have captured all of the essential combinations of family members and types of photos (traditional and lifestyle), I usually move into more of a documentary style. I let you know that I've got everything and that I will just stick around for five to ten more minutes to just capture you doing your thing, whatever that may be. Often some of the best photos come out of this part of the session because everyone relaxes just a little bit more.
Looking for a lifestyle newborn photographer?
If you happen to be in the Seattle, Burien, or Puget Sound area, I am happy to connect with you and engage in meaningful conversation regarding your specific family needs. And congrats on your upcoming new arrival! Please reach out with a quick message in the space below.