Newborn Photography: Lifestyle vs. Posed

A sweet, nude little babe all sleepy and curled up on a soft blanket wearing an adorable bow or knit cap or swaddled in an adorable wrap. These kinds of posed newborn photographs have become synonymous with the term “newborn photography” over the past five years or so. I love them. We all love them. There is something so serene and pleasing about a brand new life. A baby only days old sleeping peacefully, all curled up and comfy just as they were recently in utero.

Of course, as a newborn photographer, I offer this style of newborn photography to my clients in the Central Illinois area and beyond. I do however also offer an alternative type of newborn photo session, which is slightly less common but equally as beautiful and amazing as an in studio newborn session. Lifestyle newborn photography is becoming one of my favorite sessions that I offer to my clients.

I just wanted to take the time to explain the differences between the two.

1.) Time: Timing is everything when it comes to newborn photography. For an in studio newborn baby photo session I try to get the baby’s in my studio before they are two weeks old. When you are looking for those sleepy, posed shots… the younger the baby, the better! Sleepy, posed shots are not always a guarantee at lifestyle sessions for a variety of reasons. However, if baby does sleep, I can still get those ADORABLE posed shots anywhere!

Time is also important for a posed newborn session because it takes time for me to get them settled into that nice, deep sleep before I start to work with them. Typically the posed newborn sessions take around 3 hours while the lifestyle newborn sessions take around 1-2 hours. The lifestyle newborn session doesn’t take as long simply because it focuses primarily on the interaction between the new baby and his/her family and surroundings and is less centered on obtaining the perfect pose. Therefore, having the baby be under two weeks old is less important. This is particularly helpful for mothers who contact me once the newborn baby is over that magic age for the traditional posed session.

2.) Location: the location for your upcoming newborn session might have you thinking about whether a studio photo session or a lifestyle session is the choice for you. My posed sessions typically take place in my studio, however, I can travel to your home for an additional fee. I will say my studio has everything you needed to provide you with the best experience. I have toys for older siblings, live within walking distance of many local attractions and parks, I have all the equipment and lighting I need to provide you with the images you know and love, all my backdrops, and posing tools are within arms reach. Plus, parents have a nice cozy spot to relax, grab some coffee and a refreshment and watch tv, take a nap, scroll facebook, or whatever you want to do on your little break.

However, I know the thought of traveling with a newborn can be daunting for some parents. Lifestyle newborn sessions can be conducted in the studio, your home, or even outdoor. Whether its images of you snuggling your baby in their nursery or big brother peeking over the crib at his new little sister, these images provide a level of intimacy that you just don’t get during studio sessions.

3.) Connection: Of course all of my clients want to capture some darling images of the newest baby with different family members during the session. Whether its photos with mom & dad or siblings, these treasured images can be obtained at both the lifestyle session AND posed session. However the resulting look is completely different. Whichever you prefer is entirely up to you!

4.) Light: It is true that during a studio session the light is controlled. I know what to expect in my studio and I know when the light comes in big and beautiful at a certain time of day. An in-home lifestyle session obviously cannot offer the same type of assurance. Clients often come to me concerned that their home will not be bright and airy or even pretty enough.

When I walk into a clients home, I’m not looking for the most beautiful room. That is the least of my concerns. Haha! I’m looking for LIGHT! Whether its a screened in front porch (if the weather is nice enough) or the master bedroom…. I’m looking for large windows that provide me with beautiful soft light. The other thing I look for is NEUTRAL rooms. White bedding or walls gives us a gorgeous, non-distracting backdrop to work with while making the baby and their family the focus of the session. The fact of the matter is, if you have one or two bright rooms that I can use to my advantage to provide you with gorgeous images, you will be overjoyed with the personalized newborn photos and treasure them for years to come.


So there you have it! A little 4-1-1 with me to help you decide on which newborn session is right for you!