Newborn Lifestyle Sessions

July 30, 2021

Studio or Lifestyle Newborn Session; which one is right for you? | Ellicott City, MD

Here’s a few things to consider when choosing between a studio session and a lifestyle session for your newborn photos.  Both types include family photos, sibling photos with the newborn, and solo newborn portraits. Rebecca Leigh Photography explains what to think about for a studio or lifestyle newborn session.

family with newborn
This family’s bedroom was perfect for a lifestyle newborn session; lots of natural light and neutral colors. The headboard and bedspread complement their outfits, and had a nice balance of neutral colors, pattern, and texture without it being too busy.
newborn smiling with parents
A posed studio session with a white backdrop – this portrait also has that nice family connection we want in our photos. Family connections can be achieved in studio or in your home.

Studio or Lifestyle Newborn Session

The primary difference is that studio sessions will include posed, curled up newborn photos, like the ones you see on my website home page. In studio, you have access to all of baskets, buckets, wraps, blankets, and fabrics for various set-ups. The lifestyle portraits are more environmental in nature and capture family connections and interactions with your baby.  Yes, there will also be some solo newborn portraits of your baby in the crib and on your bed.  During a lifestyle session, the parents will be in many of the photos, whereas, in a studio session, the parent photos are in front of a backdrop for a portion of the time.  We still capture you looking at your baby and each other for that family connection in the studio. And sibling photos can be taken at both session types, but in the studio I have a posing bean bag covered with a flokati rug.

Studio Session Length and Posing

I allow for up to 3 hours at a studio session because you may need time to feed your newborn once or twice throughout the session. We spend more time soothing and posing the baby, than actually taking photos. Once I gently and safely pose your baby, I may spend time settling him or her if he or she is awake. If baby is sleeping, the posing goes quicker. There is not constant photographing for 3 hours.

So don’t be surprised by the number of images offered in the digital collections. The largest collection contains 25 images, although you certainly can select more images from your proofing gallery to purchase. Each pose takes time and patience as well as artistic editing to create the final image.

Every studio session is a little different, but in general there are up to 4 prop poses, up to 2 decoratively wrapped poses, and approximately 5 poses on the fabric covered bean bag posing stand. Each of the aforementioned poses are taken from different angles, with pulled back shots and close-ups. And we can also do a few detail shots of feet, hands, and facial features. Then you may have 2 sibling poses, and several family poses. So you are looking at a nice variety for your gallery.

newborn girl posed in peach and pink
newborn in wrap
By the way, did you know that I sell handmade headbands for newborn photography? Check out my shop HERE!
parents holding newborn
See more from this studio session HERE

Lifestyle Session Length and Natural Light

Lifestyle newborn sessions take 1 hour. It doesn’t matter if your baby is awake or asleep because it doesn’t change how we photograph during the session. Newborns are sleepiest during the first two weeks of life, so studio sessions are best during this timeframe. Lifestyle sessions, however, can be done at any time. Newborns up to 4 weeks can still have a posed newborn studio session, just keep in mind they may be awake for much of the session. Although, my wrapping techniques are pretty good at lulling older babies to sleep.

I use many materials and posers in the studio that I need to create those super cute curled-up baby images. This is why I only offer those in the studio. But, at your home, I can easily bring a wrap to swaddle your baby for some poses.

In studio, I use professional lighting which allows a consistent workflow during the session. Lifestyle sessions use natural light only, and this works best with homes that have ample window light. We turn off all of the artificial lights so you don’t have mixed lighting in the photos (i.e. – weird orange/yellow color casts and inaccurate skin tones). Wall colors matter too, as certain colors create a color cast on you in photos. Neutral color walls work best. If you’ll be having portraits on your bed, use a white bedspread or duvet.

Preparing for your Lifestyle Session

Before I arrive at your home before a lifestyle session, I ask that you open all of the curtains and blinds in your home. I also ask that you declutter end tables and bedside tables. If you don’t want something in the photos, then remove it. Often we will photograph in the family room, the master bedroom, and the nursery, but it may be different in your home depending on what rooms have the best sunlight. If you finish feeding before I arrive, I can begin photographing right away. However, if you’d like me to capture nursing or bottle feeding during your session, I can. I would just suggest to time it for towards the end of the session, so I will finish up and you can continue feeding after I leave.

family with newborn
big brother hugging newborn and mom holding newborn by window
family with newborn

In summary, studio sessions last 2-3 hours, include posed newborn portraits, family portraits with a backdrop, and perfect studio lighting every time. Lifestyle sessions last 1 hour, are environmental in nature, require rooms with ample sunlight, and include family portraits interacting with the baby. Although the lifestyle session is unposed, I still provide you with guidance on where to sit or stand and where to place your gaze during the photo session, so you don’t have to worry about what to do.

Which session type is best for you?