If there’s one thing I’ve found while doing lifestyle photography is that “lifestyle” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. “Lifestyle” for me is capturing you as you are, where you are. That means we’ll work through poses to get both posed and candid shots. It also means the images that I capture reflect you in your most genuine form. Nowhere is this truer or more evident than in newborn sessions.
Time with a newborn, whether they’re your first or your fifth, is a period of adjustment. Everything is still new, everything is in flux. This time period is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful times. The emotions one captures in a session here are honestly some of the purest and most genuine.
So how does one prepare for a session like this? Well, one answer is, you don’t. At the same time, you do. This guide is here to help guide you through what to do to prepare for your session, what you can expect (and how to handle the unexpected), what we’ll do, and to get us all on the same page. In the course of preparing for our session (or even during!), if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message or a text. But hopefully this guide answers most of your questions (and questions you might not have even thought to ask!)
(Prepping for your family session or need to know how to dress the siblings for your newborn session? Head on over to my family session style guide!)
Before Your Session
Preparing Your Home: The last thing anyone wants to do with a newborn is clean. I’ve been there twice; I get it. There’s very little you have to do to prepare your house for a session with me. What you’ll want to do is think about where you might want to be as we take photos; usually a living room, a nursery, and/or a bedroom are usually where we’ll spend most of our time. If you have a room or three in mind, you might spend a few minutes tossing some things in another room or a closet. I’m also happy to help tidy up a bit day-of, move some chairs or help hide some messes.
Preparing The Adults: Wear something comfortable. I say this for all my guides but it’s especially true here. Especially for the birthing parent — you’re still healing from the birth. Feel free to dress as comfortably as you want. A nice, open, flowy shirt or loose dress is a great way to dress up and maintain a level of comfort commensurate with having just gone through something as major as giving birth. For partners, you’re also welcome to dress in a similar fashion. Don’t feel like you have to do a full face of makeup, but feel free to throw on some foundation and a little eye makeup if you want to look a little more made up but not like you just spent two hours in the bathroom. All that being said, if you want to get all dressed up for our session, that’s great, too! Again, the key to lifestyle photography for me is reflecting you as you. If you’re the type to get up early and do your makeup all the time, friend, you do you.
If you’re having trouble coming up with outfits, I have a big Pinterest board full of clothes of every colour and style that can help spark some inspiration.
Preparing Baby: The best part about lifestyle photography is there’s very little prep that goes in to getting baby ready for our session. Unlike super posed newborn studio photography, lifestyle sessions involve me basically popping in, capturing things as they are, and popping back out. If baby needs to feed, that gives us time to get shots of you feeding them. If they need a diaper change (or three), then we get diaper changing shots. If they’re asleep, we get shots of their sweet sleepy selves. If they’re awake, even better! These types of sessions are as lowkey and low-pressure for everyone involved, but especially for baby. They’re welcome to do any number of outfit changes (up to 3 is usually good; any more than that and it gets a little unruly). If they need to be swaddled, we’ll keep them swaddled.
During Your Session
Before We Begin: Like I said, I’m happy to help clean up any messes or shove things in closets. I may also do some light furniture rearranging if it’s necessary (and, of course, put everything back when I’m done!). When I come in, I’ll get some test shots and we’ll ease very slowly into photos.
General Session Flow: This is a little more dependent on how baby is doing. If they’re feeding, we’ll start with feeding shots. If they’re asleep, we’ll start with solo shots of them to capture those precious details (especially the toes. Love those little baby toes). Generally, I like to start with one person, usually baby, and then add everyone in one at a time to get shots of them and baby, then everyone all together. This means that while we’re doing shots of baby, you’re welcome to hang out and chat, but you’re just as welcome to go have a snack or wash your face or anything else you need to do that you might not have had the hands or time to do. Heck, take a power nap if you want. Also during those solo shots, I’ll have some white noise going on my phone to help them sleep (if that’s a thing that helps them sleep).
Expecting The Unexpected: Doing lifestyle photography means sometimes you have to go with the flow. If baby is fussy and just not into it, we’ll take a break. My sessions are scheduled for 2 hours to give us plenty of time to account for any fussing, crying, or screaming bloody murder that may happen. I know how stressful it can be when your baby (of any age!) just isn’t into it and making a fuss, but don’t feel bad at all. I’m also happy to help bounce and calm baby down to help give you a rest.
After Our Session
Once we’ve gotten all the photos we want to get or at around the 2-hour mark, we’ll wind our session down. I’ll help move back anything that was moved, and be on my way.
Photo Delivery: I usually take about 1-2 weeks to deliver photos. This gives me time to select the best images, edit them accordingly, and get them back to you. I deliver all my images digitally, though you’re welcome to buy prints from your gallery.
Using Our Images: After I’ve sent our images, they’re yours to do whatever you’d like with. Use them for birth announcements. Frame them in the nursery. Keep them on your phone and flip back to them when you need reminding later of how tiny they once were. My only request is that if you post them on social media that you give me a shoutout: @lifeasavoyagerphotography on Facebook, @lifeasavoyager on Instagram.