Updated: Sep 16, 2020
What Does a Lifestyle Newborn Session Look Like With Sweetest Moments Photography?
Yay! You may be thinking, "Woohoo! I've booked my lifestyle newborn session, now how what do I do?" Or you may be thinking, "What in the world is a lifestyle newborn session??" All great questions for which I have great answers for!
First, let me tell you a little bit about what a lifestyle newborn session is. When I describe lifestyle newborn photography, I tend to always come back to a few specific words; documentary, relaxed, and mildly posed. Lifestyle newborn sessions are meant to have a documentary approach for capturing your family being just that, a family. There are so many new things that bringing home a new baby entails and I feel being able to have that beauty documented through photography is a part of your life that deserves to be captured. The first-time dad diaper changes, spending time with your little in the nursery you worked so hard on, the special bond between a mom as she feeds her child, the sleepy yawns and family snuggles, your dog following you around wondering who came along and booted them to second place, list goes on and on! All of these moments only happen for such a short period of time and being able to relive them over again through pictures are timeless!
Often times I will get a question that goes a lot like this..."Hey Hannah! Just curious to see if you had any tips on how to make us feel a little more comfortable in front of the camera..." and so on. Y'all, just being yourselves is enough! I honestly don't have a much better answer than that! Yes, being comfortable in what you are wearing is definitely a plus, especially moms because let's face it, these pictures are for us, but just loving on each other and allowing me to capture your interactions will truly make you feel so much more at ease. Other than getting the cookie cutter "cheese" pose, I will very rarely have anyone, especially parents, looking at my camera so I feel like that helps you feel more comfortable looking into your kids or spouse's eyes rather than looking at me and my camera! I don't just come to your house to take pictures, I come because I am genuinely excited to get to know you and your family and taking pictures is a plus! There will be a lot of time in between shots that we will literally just be having a conversation because I truly care about who you are! My goal for our session is to walk in as strangers and walk out as friends, and I honestly mean that.
My approach to lifestyle newborn photography sessions are a bit different from others. I love how other photographers can swaddle in different knots, put babies in baskets, etc. My oldest two have galleries like that and I love them and those photographers are so talented in that aspect, BUT, I look back at them and miss seeing pictures us in their nursery that we worked tirelessly on, snuggling up together in our new home as a new family, and mostly pictures of our animals embracing the newborn love with us. It's funny how much animals sense the new baby in the house.
Tangent: At the time when we first had little Mason (he is 4) our golden retriever, Bo was still living, that dog was more loyal than the royal guards at Buckingham Palace. Starting when I was pregnant he would follow me around the house, if I left to run an errand he would cry as he waited for me at the door (videos to prove it), and when Mason was born he woke up with me at every feeding through the night and slept with me countless hours in Mason's nursery with me while I fed him. I think we have one family photo of all of us together with Bo (iphone quality) and it makes me so sad because he was the first baby that daddy Mason (my husband) and I had. These animals deserve it and your kids deserve it too! [Had to put one of my favorite pictures of Bo below.]
Anyways, what I was getting to is that I don't do a lot of posing, wrapping, and basketing. I will give your family a direction (you can think of it more as like a game of Simon Says) and then you interpret it and pose it naturally. Also, I usually have parents swaddle their own babies unless they absolutely want me to, and I don't bring any baskets, bowls, or anything other props to put baby in. To me, I want to use what you have put the time and effort into buying for your baby, not things that I have that aren't meaningful to your family. I don't do any of the pretzel or frog posing as some call it. All my "posing" is baby-led. This means your baby is the boss. If baby cries, that's fine. If baby is awake the whole time, that's fine too! I will literally just go with the flow and let your baby do the leading. Most of the time I will lay your baby on a bed and let them relax and get all the detail shots of them being themselves instead of squishing them up in unnatural poses. Again, the photographers who can do this have major skill but it's just not my thing!
Not only are these lifestyle newborn session interactions beautiful, they are also pretty convenient! You literally stay at home and I come to you! These can totally be done outside the home as well if you feel more comfortable doing that with what's taking place in the world right now, plus babies love warmth and Knoxville, TN has plenty of that! Whether it be in your home or in your yard/porch, we can make it work! Again, these days don't last long and it's not worth postponing them because before you know it you will blink and they are walking!
I know with COVID-19 going on I feel some people are a little nervous about having newborn pictures done and I totally understand! However, I always want you to know that the safety of your family is of my utmost importance. I will wear a mask throughout the whole session, I sanitize my gear between each session, I don't bring props so you can use your own swaddles, etc., I sanitize my hands before I enter your home and then wash my hands upon entry, and I will touch your baby as minimally as possible! Yeah, you heard me, me touching your baby is MINIMAL! That is what lifestyle photography is! Our jobs are easy! For you, you just do what you do and love on your family, and I will just do what I do and capture it! It's a WIN-WIN!
I hope that this information has been enlightening for you as to what a lifestyle newborn session looks like with me! Now, I will give you some advice and tips for what you can do after you book your lifestyle newborn photography session with Sweetest Moments Photography and how to best prepare for our session together!!
How to Prepare for a Lifestyle Newborn Session With Sweetest Moments Photography
Preparing Your Home the Day of the Session
I kindly ask that before I arrive, if you could open all blinds/curtains in the home so when I get to your home, I can evaluate where we can utilize the best source of natural light. I often use the couch, master bed (sometimes guest room), and nursery for photos. I know what it’s like having a newborn (I have three littles myself), so please don't feel like you have to clean the house before I arrive! We can easily clean up an area that we want to use for your photos so please don't stress if things aren't "picture perfect."
Your baby can’t regulate their own body temperature when they are this young, so it is helpful if you can turn up your heat/adjust the AC accordingly about thirty minutes before our session to a warmer temperature than usual so your little one stays comfortable since they will have just a diaper, small outfit, or swaddle on.
I DON'T have to have baby sleeping to capture sweet poses of them! I keep my posing very basic and natural so if your baby is awake when I get there that is totally fine! Traditional newborn pictures (what I call pretzel posing) is not my style. I let the baby lead the session and comfort and safety is my number one priority.
Over time I have found it easier to start with the baby in their diaper wrapped in a swaddle just to keep them warm and comfortable until I get there; I find it easier to get all those beautiful detail shots before they actually get clothes on so that we don't make baby fussy from the outfit change!
Please have your newborn in a simple form fitting onesie (neutral colored) without graphics or words. Depending on your babies size, it may need to be a preemie or a newborn size. If you have a specific outfit that you want to put them in that is fine as well!
Please have a few favorite swaddle blankets for baby to be wrapped in because I don't bring any with me! I like to use what you have invested in buying for your baby, not things that I have:)
I recommend feeding your baby about 15 minutes before I arrive. I will text you when I am on my way to your home and this would be a good time for you to get baby’s belly nice and full. We can stop as many times as we need to so that baby can eat. This gives us a great opportunity to capture that special bond between mom and baby or dad and baby during feedings!
Preparing Yourself and Siblings
Again, I know exactly what it is like having a newborn with other children and I know how big of a change it can be for siblings. I find that if we start with the sibling shots first we can get them out of the way that way if the siblings lose interest, we will still have captured some great sibling shots. I do believe that you should let the siblings know that I will be coming to visit and take some pictures of your family. I find it works better if I don’t show up and surprise them:)
Having a newborn comes with exhaust and joy. As a nurse and a mom of three, I know what you are going through. My job is not to make your life look perfect but instead capture the beauty and newness of your family.
For this type of session, I recommend choosing neutral colors and comfort. I am happy to discuss wardrobe with you further if you would like. Just let me know!
Lastly, I encourage you to check out my FAQ page on my website (https://www.sweetestmomentsphotos.com/faqs). There you will find more info/tips on how to best prepare for your session. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions or any last minute changes regarding our session!