6 Tips for Lifestyle Newborn Photography – Digital Photography School

6 Tips for Lifestyle Newborn Photography







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A Post By: Annie Tao

Newborn Photographers fall somewhere on a spectrum between producing posed, styled imagery and natural, lifestyle imagery.

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While I enjoy looking at styled images of sleeping newborns in costume or appearing as though they are holding their own head up with the use of proficient Photoshop work, the emotions and stories captured in Lifestyle Photography images are what make my heart sing! So I stand comfortably and proudly on “side B” of the spectrum.

After following the rules outlined in The Sensitive Side of Newborn Photography, I follow these six tips for Newborn Photography:

1. Capture every detail

Whether the baby is crying heartily, yawning, or sleeping peacefully, they are all important and precious because the newborn stage is so brief. A yawn of a 4-day new infant, for example, looks different than a yawn of a 4-year old child, so photograph it all!

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Memorialize the details, including items in the nursery. Talk to the parents and find out what baby items are meaningful to them. Maybe the grandparent knit the blanket or the dog is considered the first-born!

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2.  Photograph them at home

Capturing images of the baby in his or her very first home means every backdrop and furniture will be meaningful in the photos. It also means every session will be unique since every home looks different than the other.

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3.  Do the newborn photography session within the first 10 days

Annie-Tao-Photography-Lifestyle-Newborn-Photography-article-8Technically, babies are considered “newborns” the first 3 months of birth. However, in the first 10 days, babies sleep most of the day and can more easily handle noises and movement. Though in Lifestyle Photography, newborns do not need to sleep the entire time, the session will run smoother if the baby is calm.

They also have a better chance of not having skin issues, like newborn acne, which will save you time in post-processing after the session.

4. Be well-equipped

Most of the time, I confidently tell other photographers that their equipment is NOT as important as the person behind the camera when it comes to good imagery. This is still true with photographing newborns, however, you do need to have equipment that performs well in various indoor conditions, such as tight spaces and low light, A wide angle prime lens and a reflector are key. You should also have a macro lens to capture detail shots of the baby.

When I arrive at a client’s home, it usually looks like I’m staying overnight because I have a roller bag and carrying case!

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5. Use natural light

Flash can startle newborns.

Also, when you are photographing new parents with their baby, using flash or other lighting equipment can take away from the spontaneity and natural tone of the shoot.

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6. Be flexible

A lot can happen when you’re photographing a newborn, like having unexpected baby visitors looking over your shoulder or being spit on, pooped on, vomited on! (that has all happened to me.) Just remember, you can’t always prepare for what happens at a newborn shoot, so stay calm and take everything in stride.

The first few days of a newborn’s life can be a hazy memory for new parents who are often sleep-deprived and running on adrenalin. Know that you are capturing a magical time for the family, and your photos of their life in that narrow slice of time will be treasured.

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Have you photographed any newborns or small babies? Do you have any additional tips or comments to add?

For more information on photographing babies and kids read these:

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Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page

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  • Cyprien

    Thanks for your inspiring pictures and advices.
    A friend of mine will have a baby in the next few months, you made me want to give her an as nice as possible souvenir of that moment :)


  • Annie Tao Photography

    That sounds great, Cyprien! Hope you do it. Your friend will appreciate it, I’m sure. :)

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