You have probably heard many times already that lifestyle newborn photography is THE new way to photograph newborns if you are a modern photographer.
Let’s face it: lifestyle is a trend, and as any new trend it might last… or not. And even if it lasts, it doesn’t mean that the market for other types of newborn photography will disappear. The variety of tastes and styles will remain!
So today I’m not here to explain why lifestyle newborn photography is the IT thing. I’m just trying to offer a new perspective, based on several years of practice, which might convince you to embrace this shooting style just because it feels right for YOU, and not because it’s what the cool girls are doing.
Let’s consider a few things you might not have heard yet about shooting newborns in a lifestyle way:
It’s all about the family
Even though I photograph newborns very often, I still don’t consider myself a newborn photographer. I have always been (and probably always will be) a family photographer.
This is the main reason I embrace lifestyle in my newborn work: because it allows me to approach these sessions exactly as the other ones. When I enter a client’s home or welcome them in my little natural light studio, my goal is not to photograph a baby. I’m there, first and foremost, to photograph a growing family. Every single person in that house, in that room, is as important to me as this tiny new baby.
It opens the doors to a whole new world, one of connections and interactions. I’m capturing the birth of a brand new love!
Lifestyle is freeing
There are so many things that a newborn photographer is scared of before a session: what if my client’s house is not properly lit? Or awfully cluttered? What if the baby doesn’t want to sleep at all? What if the baby is fussy or in a bad mood?
If you want these perfectly posed images of those beautiful sleepy newborns… Yes, this list is something to be scared of. However, if you fully embrace the lifestyle philosophy, then there is a solution for all these worst-case scenario.
The following images were all taken in the exact same corner of the house because it was the only one with enough natural light to take good images. The baby was crying unless he was held by Mom or Dad at all times, and didn’t sleep more than one minute. Nevertheless, it’s one of my favorite newborn sessions ever!
How old the baby is doesn’t really matter
You know how we all tend to believe that newborns should be photographed under 10 days of life to get perfect results? The truth is that it really doesn’t matter anymore if you are embracing a lifestyle approach. My personal preference is to photograph 1-month-olds, or even 2-month-olds.
The connections are stronger when the baby is awake and able to look at Mom and Dad in the eyes. The parents are more rested and less stressed out when they have had some time to settle at home and adjust to their new life. Mom is usually more comfortable with her body than she was right after birth… I could go on and on. Which also means that you don’t have to wait until birth to schedule the session, you can plan it months in advance, which makes my agenda so much easier to deal with!
It can be a wise business choice, too
In a market still dominated by posed newborn photography, taking the plunge and going fully lifestyle may sound dangerous. But it could also be a wise business choice, at least it was for me!
Offering a new perspective on newborn photography is a great way to stand out from the crowd. When I got rid of my beanbag to fully embrace a lifestyle approach, I suddenly started to attract more clients, and better clients too (the kind of clients who don’t want “images”, but want “MY images”). Suddenly I was offering something really unique, and even if it was cutting me from the newborn clients who want posed images and hats and props and everything, it opened the doors of the clients who were searching for natural, real images of their family. And they were ready to pay my price to have that.
Again, embracing lifestyle is something that you should have a strong desire for. Don’t do it because it’s “the thing to do”, do it because you feel deep down inside that it speaks to your artistic vision. There is no one-size-fits-all lifestyle way of shooting newborns. It has to match your voice, your needs, your loves and fears.
As long as it allows you to build a strong cohesive voice, there will be clients out there ready to fall in love with your personal approach.