Newborn photography has seen a tremendous rise in popularity since the '90's when Anne Geddes pioneered the genre with swoon-worthy images of little babes floating on clouds and wrapped up in pea pods. Today, newborn photography has become something that's almost a given-- like wedding photography, many never think twice about the value of hiring a professional to capture the milestone of a new child.
The genre itself, however, has evolved as the demand for newborn photographers rose and artists began to craft their own looks.
A large departure from scrunched baby balls in baskets, "lifestyle" sessions often take place right in the client's home and capture peek into life with a new little one. They are more focussed on connection between the baby and his/her natural surroundings.
Most newborn photographers fall into either one or the other style -- lifestyle or posed -- and often feel strongly about their personal approach. Both styles can lend themselves to beautiful and moving mementos of your little one. However, as a client in search of a newborn photographer, you should be educated about your options, the differences between each style, and form your own preferences in order to make sure you hire the right choice for your family.
1. Team Posed / Studio
If you favor this style, you probably love everything Anne Geddes has ever done. You get butterflies from the Pinterest pics of little ones wrapped in linens and donning different hats, crowns, and flowers on their heads. You love the idea of a controlled studio environment and the variety of different cute props and backdrops. You don't mind a higher level of photoshopping applied to your images if it gets you those sleepy, blissful baby pics of your own sweet child. Your personal style is more traditional, clean, and classic.
2. Team Lifestyle / In- Home Sessions
You like the convenience of a photographer coming to your home and are likely easy-going in nature. You're a big fan of personal touches and want to capture not only baby, but the season of life surrounding him/her including the home, pets, nursery, siblings, etc. You think props are kind-of cheesy and would prefer to capture your baby in natural positions rather than staged scenes and poses. If you favor this style, your personal style is probably a little more modern and/or moody.
If you've seen any of my work with newborns in my portfolio or blog, you'll quickly see I belong to Team Lifestyle.
I believe photography should be an expression of reality and the techniques, time, and posing involved in a studio-type shoot just do not do justice to the real beauty at hand.
That doesn't mean the studio approach is bad or wrong, just that I prefer to shoot more organically-- keep it simple, fresh, and natural.
If/when you go looking for a newborn photographer, I definitely encourage you to do your research. Browse around on Pinterest and take note of which images really strike you. Are they babies curled up in baskets and blankets, or snuggling in daddy's arms while rocking in the new nursery? Talk to several photographers about their approach and overall experience to see if it will fit with your needs.
If you love props and hire a lifestyle photographer, you're going to be disappointed and vise versa.
Be sure you know your personal preferences and find the right fit to capture this milestone, because not only is photography an investment of time and money, your little one will never be that tiny again and you only have one opportunity to capture it.