When you first find out you're pregnant it feels like you have all the time in the world. You're careful not to start buying things too early (you know, apart from that little outfit that you just couldn't leave behind) and you wait longingly for each scan to see that little face one more time and the reassurance that everything is a-ok.
And then, in a flash, 9 months has passed and your baby is here. Life will never be the same - and you wouldn't have it any other way.
Those long sleepless days and nights pass in a blur of feeding, cuddles and love and before you know it those tiny toes aren't so tiny anymore and those eyes are a little more alert. Those newborn wrinkles have started to disappear and the milk spots have faded.
A great way of capturing those early moments to remember forever is with a Newborn Photo Shoot.
There are two main types of newborn photography; Studio and Lifestyle.
Ask different people which type of newborn baby photos they like and everyone will have their own opinion. Some people love the artistry of a posed, studio newborn photo shoot and others love the unposed, real life interaction of a lifestyle newborn photo shoot.
I hope by reading through the below, I can help you decide which style is best for you, to get you images you love.
Posing vs Natural Interaction
Studio newborn photo shoots (also called Posed Newborn Photo Shoots) are those classic images of sleeping babies curled up into little poses or in props such as baskets or bowls. They range from elaborate and intricate set ups to a more simplistic approach on blankets with hats, headbands and wraps.
The main focus of the shoot is on your baby and you can choose colour schemes or themes to fit your home and include sentimental items such as blankets and teddies.
Family photos are simple and timeless, generally taken in front of a plain coloured background, leaving all the focus on you and your new arrival.
The images are created in a way to make you and your new baby look their best, with light skin retouching if needed to reduce redness or remove flakey skin.
Lifestyle photography is more about capturing that moment in time of your families life. It takes real moments and turns them into art for you to look back on forever.
Unlike posed newborn photo shoots, these images are all about interaction and natural moments; those cuddles and loving looks and the way your baby grabs your finger as you feed them.
Taking place in your own home, there is a much stronger focus on the whole family and capturing your life as a whole at that time.
As there is no posing, it doesn't matter if your baby sleeps or is awake the entire shoot.
Some photographers still involve a few posed details such as wrapping the baby and simple poses but in a natural environment, such as on a bed.
Studio vs Home Life
There is usually A LOT of equipment involved in posed newborn photography, which is why many photographers work out of a studio or their own home.
Your photographer will have a large selection of blankets, wraps, headbands and accessories for you to choose from as well as larger props such as bowls and baskets. Working out of a space they know, gives them the room to be creative without the restrictions of not knowing what lighting or space they will have if they travel.
A studio photo shoot gives you a great opportunity to relax for a few hours!
There is no need to worry whether your home is tidy, you just need to get yourself to the photographer's house or studio and remember to take anything you'd like to include in your images.
Parents that come to me for a posed newborn shoot can relax in my living room with TV & snacks, while I photograph their little one close by (you can see me from the sofa!) Some parents don't want to miss a thing and watch the entire shoot and others just rest their eyes for a few minutes...
Having the photo shoot in your own home makes your final images a lot more personal.
You do not need a big fancy home or lots of locations, just one or two areas like a living space and a big bed. If your nursery is finished - great! But don't panic if not. You are not the only parent still using it as a storage room until it is needed in a few months time.
Your photographer will look round your house and find the areas with the best lighting. They might not always be the places you expect but trust their judgement as the light can make or break an image.
Being surrounded by your own possessions in your images will bring back memories of that time of your life. That artwork that took mum ages to pick out and dad even longer to hang, the nursery furniture you fell in love with and all the cards and balloons you received when your baby was born.
Another big plus is that you don't have to leave your house. Whether you are still recovering, really tired or just simply not ready to venture out, stay at home surrounded by everything you need and let your photographer come to you.
Posed newborn shoots take place when your baby is 5-10 days old (although some photographers offer them a little later) so that they are still nice and sleepy and comfortable in all of those curled up poses.
The aim is to use warmth and comfort to ease the baby into a deep sleep so they can be posed. There is no rush and we are on your babies schedule (which changes daily!) so it can take time.
My posed shoots start at 10:30am and take 3-4 hours depending on how settled your little one is. As I mentioned before, there is no rush, we can take as make feeding and cuddle breaks as they need.
Lifestyle shoots can take place at any time after your baby is born but it is still recommended to arrange it within their first three weeks to capture them in all their newness.
The shoot is generally shorter because it doesn't matter if your baby is awake or asleep and it is a very relaxed experience.
My Lifestyle photo shoots can take place at any time between 10:30 & 3. Just as with posed shoots, I work to your little ones schedule and we can have as many feed and cuddle breaks as they need.
Lighting - Natural Vs Studio
Although some studio photographers use natural light, most use either a constant light or a flash with a large soft box or umbrella.
Using artificial light lets them be much more creative and not having to rely on the english weather generally makes for higher quality images.
Most lifestyle shoots use only 'available' light. This means light coming in through a window or door or even bouncing off of a mirror or white wall. Household lights can be harsh and add an orange colour to your images so they will all need to be turned off unless they add something to the image.
A simple 10 degree turn can make all the difference when it comes to light so don't be surprised if your photographer moves the odd chair or table to get you the best images.
If you're really concerned about having a dark house, don't rule out a lifestyle shoot - talk to your photographer about your concerns.
Clients are more than welcome send me photos of rooms they'd like to use so we can discuss how to get the most from them. If you get lovely light first thing at the morning - i'll be there at nine. If it's better in the afternoon - i'll see you after lunch. I'm flexible to whatever gets you photos you'll love.
I hope this has helped you decide whether a Studio or Lifestyle Photo Shoot is right for you. These precious moments pass so quickly so don't miss out on the opportunity to be able to look back on this special time.
Wether you choose me to photograph your family or someone else, I hope you get images you can treasure for a lifetime.