Updated: Apr 29
Let's start with the most important fact about newborn photos - it's important to do them. Whatever your preference for the style of photos, that's great, but just make sure you have documentation of your baby as a newborn. But if you're not sure whether you want posed studio photos or lifestyle photos in your home, then here are some things to consider about both to help you make your decision! (Also, to be clear, there are photographers who offer studio sessions that are shot in a lifestyle manner and photographers who offer in-home sessions in a posed style, so let's focus on posed or lifestyle.)
Oftentimes posed newborn photos take place in studios, but not always! So regardless of the setting, let's look at things to consider about truly posed newborn photos.
Perfectly posed photos of the baby in a basket on a blanket, asleep, chin on top of two fists, their little legs tucked under them - beautiful, lovely photo. Also, a composite. That means it's photoshopped from two or three or four or five or six different photos to get that one photo to look perfect. There's nothing wrong with composites. And if you want that posed photo, find a photographer who specializes in this kind of posing. But also don't expect it to be a photo that reflects reality.
Often true studio/posed newborn photographers don't include family members in the photos. So if mom(s)/dad(s)/sibling(s) want to be in the photos, you need to make sure you clarify that with your photographer before the session, because you might not be accounted for.
Posed photos are perfected to a T, so if you are looking for smooth newborn skin, a beautiful pose, a slight smile, eyes closed, then posed photos are for you!
If you are not wanting to be in photos yourself as a parent, posed photos are great because the focus is all on the baby, and the photographer does all the work to get the baby situated.
Posed photos often take place in studios, so that means you do not have to make sure your house is photo ready before your newborn session, when you're already in the middle of caring for a newborn, yourself, and potentially other children as well.
This style of newborn photos is often taken in the home of the family, but there are also photographers who take lifestyle photos in their studios. Just make sure you know which is being offered by your photographer of choice. I'm focusing on in-home photos.
Lifestyle photos show real life, so if your newborn is asleep, awake, fussy, happy, all of that will be shown in the photos.
You can include ALL family members in lifestyle photos - parents, siblings, pets, etc.
These photos are not perfectly polished, but they are beautiful reminders of what newborn life is like as a parent, but through a beautiful lens.
The focus of the photos is interaction with the newborn - mom/dad/both parents loving on the baby, sibling interacting with the baby, baby in their crib, baby with the family pet(s), baby in their nursery, details of the actual nursery, etc. Nothing in an in-home session isn't authentic because it's all your own home.
You might feel the need to clean up certain parts of your home for in-home sessions. Some photographers request this, some don't. But it's good to know whether or not this will be an added task for your session before you book it.
There's no right or wrong answer. Whatever style you prefer, find a photographer that fits that style. But these photos are important, so don't compromise what you want. Look at a photographer's portfolio, email them with questions, and if they don't answer your questions readily and happily, they're not the one. Make sure you know whether or not you want to be in the photos, whether or not you want composite photos, whether or not you want candids, whether or not you want family members, whether or not you want photos in your own home. If you communicate well, you and your photographer will know how to make the best photos for you.