Updated: Mar 28, 2022
Q. WHAT STYLE OF NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY DO YOU PREFER?
There are three basic types of newborn photography: lifestyle, documentary, and studio. Lifestyle gives minimal directional “posing” with the elements of your baby's home life and connections to the family. Documentary newborn photography uses no posing directions but just shows your life as it is with the moments as they come. Studio photography is highly posed. It is more about what the baby has on, the backgrounds, blankets, etc, in a controlled lighting area. Each type of photography has positives and negatives to them. It just depends on what your style preference is and what you are looking to get out of your session. Which leads me to my next question!
Q. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO TAKE THE PHOTOGRAPHS?
Location! Location! Location! Lifestyle photography is typically in the family home. Photos can be taken in a nursery, a living room, a bedroom, a porch, in front of windows, a kitchen or the back yard. Documentary photography is just wherever and whenever your life is happening. The photographer may follow you around while you go walking in a park, play in your home or maybe document a life event, like a baptism. Studio photographers are in a controlled environment at a specific location. Which location resonates the most with who you are and what type of environments you want?
Q. DO YOU LIKE THEIR PORTFOLIO?
You often hear the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words". So you need to figure out what words your potential photographer is trying to say! Go to the photographer's website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter feed. This will help you discover the type and style of photography they post. Each photographer has a unique editing style too. Maybe dark and moody photos are your jam! Maybe your preferences are for more of a classic look but with deepened contrast and colors. Maybe light and airy photos speak to you the most. If the photographer is consistent and their portfolio, you love their editing style and their photos match the ideas you have in your head, then that is the photographer for you. Go book that photographer!
Q. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT EXPOSING THEM TO GERMS?
With lifestyle and documentary photography you have more control over where the baby is, who touches them and the environment around them. Some people say to keep them at home for the first 1 to 2 weeks of their life or longer. Others say it is good for newborns to have that exposure and that will help them build up an immunity against what they have been exposed to. In the studio, you have no idea when the blankets or the areas they photograph have been cleaned. I am not saying they don't clean it, only that you have no control over that. If this might be an issue for you, consider the possibilities.
Q. WHAT STORY DO YOU WANT OR DON'T WANT TO TELL?
Do you want a story of your life told in an album or by these portraits? Maybe lifestyle or documentary is more for you then. Do you want to send birth announcements with posed and cute backgrounds and headbands? Maybe then studio photography is a better fit for you. Studio photography tends to be more of a controlled representation of the newborn where lifestyle and documentary are more the stories of your life and surroundings.
SO WHICH STYLE SPEAKS TO YOUR HEART?
BY NOW you should have a distinct draw towards which type of photography that you want for your little one. None of these is the wrong choice. It is a personal preference. If you want more of a story but need to hear feedback and directions in your newborn baby's story, pick lifestyle photography. If just a person following your day or blending into the background showing just your life sounds more your style then documentary is more for you. If having entire poses and direction completely controlled with lighting is your thing then, by all means, get into a studio. If you want that baby in a basket, with the hearts all around them and you choose a documentary photographer, then there's going to be a ginormous disappointment in your photo delivery! Just educate yourself first to know if the photographer you use is portraying that in their photography.
In my opinion, I love different aspects of all three forms of newborn photography. I love cute backgrounds and outfits of studio photography. Also, the idea of someone just getting my life unscripted completely is a draw for me with documentary photography. Art is life. OR is it LIFE imitates ART? Either way, I believe in a little of both. I love that lifestyle is giving a little direction and then artistically photographing life but naturally. By knowing ideal poses and lighting is what makes a mom only 1 week postpartum feel relaxed in her environment but with posing direction so she feels confident about her body and what to do.
There was this one beautiful mom who told me that she appreciated the posing suggestions I gave her. She told me that she doesn't usually know which way to turn or feels awkward not knowing what to do. I gave her that confidence in my posing direction. That's HUGE! What mamas go through in childbirth takes so much strength, courage and pain to get through. I just don't want her to worry about her baby, the way she looks or about being anyone but herself. That's why I love in-home lifestyle newborn photography so much. It's just a good mix of both studio and documentary photography.
Now tell me what is your preference in newborn styles of photography and why?
Thanks for reading, Shanon Tessier Photography