Posed vs. Lifestyle Newborn Photography

Oct 19, 2022

The Difference Between Lifestyle Newborn Photography and Posed Newborn Photography

When you hear the phrase ‘newborn photography’, you may automatically think of those adorable newborn photos of sleepy little ones posed in those sweet positions, photographed in a prop or on a soft blanket.  Yep!  That’s newborn photography!  However, there is another type of newborn photography that is equally beautiful, called ‘lifestyle newborn photography’.  So which style is best for you and your newborn?  Let’s discuss the difference between posed vs. lifestyle newborn photography!

When to Take Newborn Photos

What is Posed Newborn Photography?

Posed newborn photography refers to those newborn photos of your infant intricately posed in a prop or a blanket with coordinating headbands, bonnets, accessories, etc.  These types of newborn photography sessions are generally held in the photography studio and your baby photographer should be properly trained in newborn safety and proper posing.  Posed newborn photography is safely and artistically achieved when (in most cases), baby is comfortably asleep.  The reason why these poses are done when baby is asleep is because newborns tend to naturally flail their arms and legs when they’re awake that can easily startle a newborn.  When baby is asleep, we can work on getting those posed shots, really focusing on perfecting those details such as making sure baby’s fingers are relaxed and positioned properly, using perfectly matched accessories and swapping them out while baby is asleep, making minor tweaks to baby’s pose all while keeping baby comfortable, warm and asleep.  Posed newborn photographs are beautiful and really turns photos into art.  My newborn photography clients always say things like ‘I can’t believe baby X was so tiny she used to fit inside that little bucket’.  This type of newborn photography is very specialized and should only be done with licensed, experienced newborn photographers.  As your photographer will have full control over handling your baby during the session, it is essential to make sure you are trusting that your baby is in safe hands.  Here’s a list of the most popular newborn photography poses.

lifestyle newborn photography vs.posed newborn photography

What is Lifestyle Newborn Photography?

The difference between posed vs. lifestyle newborn photography is that lifestyle newborn photography is much more candid, casual and natural.  This beautiful type of newborn photography focuses more on the emotion and bond between baby and family, without the use of any props or posing.  Generally, the lifestyle photographer is hands-off with your baby, allowing you to handle your newborn for most of the session.  Your newborn photographer might help adjust a thing here or there to make the photograph more visually appealing, but most likely, your newborn photographer won’t be handling your baby as much as a posed newborn photographer.  These sessions are typically held in the comfort of your own home.  Typically, your newborn photographer will arrive at your home at the time of your session, and before beginning, will ask to take a quick tour of your home to find the rooms and areas that not only have the best light, but that also may be meaningful (such as the nursery, family room couch or parent’s bed) and will also be on the lookout for any great or unique things in your home that could make those photos pop, such as shooting in front of a large, victorian window or a background of dad’s hobby collection of airplane memorabilia.  The most popular shots with lifestyle newborn photography are:
– Baby in crib
– Family holding baby on the family couch
– Mom holding baby in rocking chair
– Dad holding baby in front of window
– Baby on changing table
– Family holding baby on family bed
– Siblings reading baby a story in play room
– Close ups of baby’s details (fingers, baby hair, lips, etc)
– Outdoors, candid shot of baby resting on mom’s shoulder

candid lifestyle newborn photoshoot on the beach in la jolla ca

Which Style of Newborn Photography Should I Choose?

That’s really a personal preference!  Both types of newborn photography are so beautiful, so it comes down to what type of art best fits YOUR vision.  Are you more of a casual person, or maybe you just bought your forever home and want to display wall art from your newborn session that showcases your home in addition to baby?  Lifestyle is the way to go!  Do you prefer the most posed look, with baby intricately posed with color coordinated props and accessories?  Do you find these types of photos to be more artistic and would work better to be displayed as art on your walls?  Posed is the right style for you!  Posed vs.lifestyle newborn photography can be a toughie – they’re both beautiful!

outdoor newborn photographer in Santee, CA

Can I do Lifestyle and Posed Newborn Photos at the Same Time?

That’s a great question for your newborn photographer!  Often times, your newborn photographer will be willing to make both styles work in one (or more) sessions for you.  Decide which style is MORE important to you, and discuss this option with your photographer. For me, I have a few ways I go about handling these two styles together.  One option I have is that we begin with the lifestyle photography session in the client’s home, then halfway though, we leave (in separate cars or course) and head to the studio where we continue the session with those posed photographs.  Another option is to hold the lifestyle session in their home to start, then have a couple of props packed and ready, and either find a spot inside the home with perfect light, or even outside in their front or back yard (check out these beautiful outdoor newborn photography images that can easily be done in your own backyard).  Finally, if the goal is to focus on posed shots in the studio of just the baby, but the family shots are preferred to be more candid and lifestyle, I may suggest we hold an outdoor newborn photoshoot to get both those posed newborn shots using props and accessories as well as more candid poses of the family outdoors. Posed vs. Lifestyle Newborn Photography

How to Pick the Best Lifestyle and Best Posed Newborn Photographer?

Posed Newborn Photographers:

Hands down, the most important thing you need to look for in finding the best posed newborn photographer for you is to make sure that photographer is properly licensed, insured, runs a legitimate business and has LOTS of experience with newborn safety and handling.  I highly recommend that you search for someone who specializes in posed newborn photography rather than a photographer who dabbles in many types of photography.  Photographers who specialize in posed newborn photography will focus on making sure they are up to date on safety, the latest trends in newborn photography, the best newborn posing tools and guides, etc.

It’s also equally important to make sure that you are selecting your posed newborn photographer based on their style and portfolio versus their cost.  Make sure their work is visually pleasing to you.  Does their art fit your vision?  You will notice that generally, posed newborn photography is much more costly than lifestyle newborn photography.  Why is that?  The cost of newborn photography for a posed newborn photographer is greater than any other because we are handling the most precious of beings, and spending lots and lots of time making sure we are fully trained in newborn safety, which takes time, money and skill on the photographer’s side.  We also spend quite a bit on safe and current newborn props and outfits, which are generally hand knit or created specifically for newborn photographers.  Price is often an indicator as to how good your posed newborn photographer is.  If the price is low, chances are, the photographer may be just starting out or is running an unlicensed photography business.  If the investment is higher, your photographer very likely is fully vetted, trusted and knows what they’re doing.  Remember, these moments are fleeting, and you can’t go back and do newborn photos over again.  Make sure you go for quality!

Lifestyle Newborn Photographers:

In researching your lifestyle newborn photographer, I recommend always looking through their work.  Does their portfolio show a variety of lighting conditions, different angles and details?  I recommend looking at how they use the light.  Most lifestyle newborn photographers will work with natural light, meaning they don’t bring along any artificial lighting and rely on the use of that natural light peeking through the windows.  Look at those shots – do you like how that photographer plays with the light?  How about the different ways they’re capturing the connection between baby and family?  Do you feel the emotion in their art?

Lifestyle newborn photography tends to have a smaller investment price as their style is more candid and does not rely on the use of props or accessories.  Generally, the lifestyle photographer will minimally handle your baby, so although newborn safety training is always recommended, it’s not exactly necessary for these types of newborn sessions.