What to Expect for Your Newborn Lifestyle Session

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What is a newborn lifestyle session?

A newborn lifestyle session is a blend of documentary photography and a simple portrait session with parents and their newborn with the intent of telling a story. Unlike posed or fine art Anne Geddes-like images, a lifestyle session is a photographic glimpse of a moment frozen in time with you and your new baby. I provide guidance and work through some poses but mostly let the session unfold naturally. 

Newborn lifestyle sessions are typically done in a client’s home, where you are most comfortable and relaxed.  We typically use 1-2 living spaces that have ample natural light. Most parents love the nursery and a living room, but we’ll work through those details as we plan your session.

When to Schedule Your Newborn Session

A newborn session should take place within the first 2 weeks after birth. However, if you’re having a c-section, it’s even more important for you to recover. Newborn lifestyle sessions can be scheduled anywhere from one week to two months out so allow yourself flexibility if you need it.

What to Expect

Your newborn will determine the flow of the session. We’ll start in the types of images based on how your newborn is doing. We may kick off the session with him or her sleeping in the crib or feeding.

Although this is a lifestyle session, I do offer gentle guidance for posing to get the ball rolling and help clients settle in. I may need to move some things around or take a frame off the wall, but promise to move everything back. It’s really about getting THE shot and avoiding distractions in the images.

Prepping Your Home:

Study Natural Light

Look at your space at all times of the day and study the light. Exposure direction matters when shooting in the AM and PM and should be communicated prior to the session. I have a pre-consultation call scheduled with each client to ensure I know what I am walking into, and to set expectations for both the parents and me, the photographer. I also ask clients to send iPhone pictures of both their wardrobe and home.

Declutter Your Shooting Spaces

The goal is to make your home look tidy, not sterile. A picture frame, lamp, etc. is ok. Move baby bottles, empty glasses — anything that looks messy and out of place.

Feel free to include personal items, such as a stuffed animal, a cherished baby blanket or anything else that feels uniquely you.

Collect any items you want to be used in the session such as blankets or stuffed animals.  We’ll go through these together to determine what and how we can use them in your session.
 

Check the Thermostat

Crank the heat (or turn off the air conditioning). The adults may feel slightly hot and uncomfortable, but the baby will be warm and happy.

Prepping Baby

If your newborn is awake, give him or her a good feeding when I arrive and keep your baby swaddled. If your baby’s skin is a little dry or flaky, try applying a small bit of baby lotion to those spots the day before and of our session.
 

I photograph a good portion of the session in the nursery so please have the curtains and shades open to let in lots of natural light. I also love to photograph newborns with mom and dad in their bed, on the couch, anywhere comfy and snuggly. We’ll identify those rooms ahead of time.

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What to Wear to A Newborn Lifestyle Session

Keep in mind that I'm documenting a day in your life, so keep it real by wearing what you’re most comfortable in and by being yourself.  I encourage neutral colors, steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns.  Casual clothing is ok and bare feet look most natural in a home setting. 

Moms, if you want to look dressy, consider a light flowy shirty, maxi dress or a pretty cotton gown that will be both comfortable and soft while you are cuddling with your new baby.


NOTE: The house will be warmer than usual so dress appropriately for the temperature.


For newborns, I recommend swaddled, in just a diaper or in just a neutral colored onesie. I realize there are tons of really cute baby clothes but it’s rare to find any that fit properly or that won’t be distracting in photos.




Feels Like Chaos. Looks Great.

Deep breath. Relax. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. It’s typical and we often “work through the cry”. I’ll let you know when you need to take a break and check the diaper or give another feeding.

A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. I schedule session time understanding that all newborns need to feed, get changed and repeat. I will not bail if your newborn isn’t sleeping or cooperating. We’ll get plenty of great photos.

Michelle Loufman