You might be here because you’re expecting a new baby! Congratulations! If you’re like most parents, you’ll want to have memories of your baby during this fleeting time. Let the search for a newborn photographer begin! One of the first things to think about when booking a session is do you prefer a more traditional studio session or a less posed in-home lifestyle session? Both can be beautiful when done by a seasoned professional. You might even be able to get some gorgeous outdoor shots as well. That’s where I come in! I’ve been an Encinitas newborn photographer for well over 10 years specializing in posed, lifestyle and outdoor newborn sessions.
The general rule of thumb especially when it comes to photography is the newborn stage consists of roughly the first 2-3 weeks of life. The little ones then graduate to infant or baby until around age one, and a toddler up to about age three. While these designations are somewhat subjective, it can’t be denied that the “newborn” stage is the briefest and most fleeting. Parents who seek out newborn photography only have a small window of time in which to capture this precious stage in their child’s history. I honestly still have a hard time referring to my 16 month old as a toddler. To me he is still my tiny little baby…that now talks, walks and hides when he poops.
With such a small window of time, it’s best to plan out the details as soon as possible, preferably in the last few months leading up to the birth. I will go over the three options below.
Posed or studio newborn photography is probably what most people think of when they think of newborn photographs. Sleepy babies, naked or with cute little outfits on, or perhaps wrapped up in blankets. Babies may be photographed on blankets, or in props such as bowls, baskets, tiny little beds or styled boxes. They may be swaddled up nice and snug almost feeling like they are in the comfort of their mama’s womb again. In my Encinitas studio, I typically do a nice mix of posed shots, prop shots, family shots and my recent favorite, the “unposed posed” shots. This basically consists of your precious baby in a plain white onesie or wrap posed in a super natural way allowing them to stretch and move into natural positions like you see below.
Lifestyle newborn photography takes place in the comfort of your home. It tends to be more candid than a studio session and focuses on more of the family connection. Some moms love getting breastfeeding images, shots of nursery details, and shots in a special area in the home. I shoot from many different perspectives and will usually spend the majority of the shoot focusing on the connection between you and your baby, and photographing your baby within their new surroundings. The photographs are generally more natural, less posed and your baby may be awake or asleep when they are photographed. I still like to get a few posed shots as well. An example are the “unposed posed” shots I mentioned above, but I might bring a prop or two for some extra variety.
There are so many differences between posed and lifestyle photography for newborns. Lifestyle sessions sometimes feel more natural and intimate than studio sessions, but keep in mind I offer family and sibling shots in all of my Classic newborn sessions. Lifestyle sessions do allow for tiny details in the nursery to be recorded. They also allow you all to snuggle up as a family on the couch or possibly show your curious puppy sniffing out their new future playmate. The studio, on the other hand, allows for optimal lighting, a larger variety of poses, props and more traditional artwork for your walls. It can be hard to beat a picture of your adorable newborn all curled up and posed perfectly while sleeping peacefully. It all depends on what you looking to accomplish and what kinds of memories you want to hang on your walls.
For either session, it’s best to schedule the session within the little one’s first two weeks of life. During the first 14 days, they are still usually very sleepy and should be able to be positioned and “molded” into traditional poses. They are also very flexible at this age and usually enjoy being curled up and cozy just as they were in the womb. The lifestyle newborn shoot focuses primarily on the interaction between the new baby and his family and surroundings and is much less centered around obtaining the perfect pose. That can mean having a baby under two weeks of age becomes less important, but it’s still a good guideline. You still want to capture them in this tiny stage. That being said, I’ve worked with plenty of “older newborns” in my studio and they have been amazing sleepers!
In my studio, I am able to control all of the light. If’ you’ve had a chance to look at my work, it’s very light, neutral and airy. If your home doesn’t get a lot of bright, natural light, we still can make it work with a little know-how. You also don’t have to worry about cleaning the nursery or moving all of the pumping supplies off of the coffee table.
I’m a mom of 6. Trust me. Seeing your kid’s clothes all over the floor and a half-eaten sandwich on top of the TV will not phase me! Lifestyle photography will use your home as the backdrop to the photographs. This can be a wonderful way to capture your family in your own space. On the other hand, you may have just moved in, not gotten around to decorating the house to your liking just yet, or perhaps you just don’t want to worry about picking up your husband’s socks again. In these cases, a studio session could be way less stressful. There are pros and cons to both!
Being an Encinitas newborn photographer means I have access to some of the best weather and beaches on the planet. Within a short distance, we have everything from world-class surf breaks, trails, deserts, mountains, you name it. After working with a surf-obsessed family over 5 years ago, my outdoor newborn sessions were born. Here is a shot from one of my very first beach sessions. I offer these as an add-on to a studio or lifestyle session. The sessions are short and sweet to make sure your bundle of joy doesn’t get too warm or cold depending on the season. My personal favorites are surf-inspired shots at sunset or a sweet little one amongst a field of gorgeous tall grasses safely tucked inside a prop. These will definitely be statement pieces on your walls!
I hope this information was helpful! There are so many options we can discuss for your newborn photography session. I can’t wait to create gorgeous, timeless art for your family!
Take a look at my recent post on maternity sessions as well. This post has all of the information. I offer all of my maternity clients a discount on their newborn sessions as well!
Tristan Quigley Photography is based in San Diego and travels to surrounding areas including Encinitas, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Del Mar, Rancho Sante Fe, Cardiff, San Marcos, Oceanside, Carmel Valley, Coronado and other surrounding San Diego areas.
Please contact me if you’re interested in booking your photography session with Tristan Quigley Photography.