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What Are The Differences in Newborn Photography Styles| Tips For Hiring A Bay Area Newborn Photographer

What Are The Differences in Newborn Photography Styles?

tips for hiring newborn photographer styles


This series has been mulling over in my mind for quite some time. After being in this industry for awhile, common questions, concerns, etc come up a lot. I’m always so happy to hear when clients have questions about their session, what to expect, and share more about their vision for our time together. For example, I strongly encourage parents to get into the frame. Specifically, Mamas. I know it’s super hard. I’ve been there. I felt so swollen after all three of my births. That jelly belly is no joke and you just DO NOT feel like yourself. I totally get it. But you know what? Your kiddos– they don’t care about all of that. They care about wanting to see YOU. You as you are, all up in your postpartum business and holding them as babes. That’s what they care about. And it’s good. So good for you to be present and accounted for during those first few weeks. But, I digress.

So you’ve finally decided to research newborn photography. Maybe you just found out you are pregnant. Maybe you’re in your third trimester and watching the days tick slowly by. Or, maybe, your sweet baby is already here and now that you’ve met them, you reeeeally want to have this time photographed.

I’ve put together a little series about the ins and outs of booking/researching/approaching newborn photography! And this applies to parents waiting on their babe or just meeting their babe. Today we’ll start at the beginning by discussing the various styles of newborn photography. By first identifying what style you would like in your newborn images, you’ll be able to navigate a bit easier through your newborn photographer search!

Newborn Photography Styles

1) Posed Newborn


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This type is very stylized with props, headbands, hats, little outfits, and wraps. Baby is posed in adorable positions within different ‘set-ups’. These sessions can happen either at a client’s home or in the photographer’s studio. This style typically has an expiration date– and it’s best done within the first two weeks or so after birth. Babies are smaller {and can fit into photographer’s props}, easily posed, clear skinned, and can be handled while sleeping without being awoken by the changing and moving of their bodies. Babies are posed both on a blanket backdrop and within props during this session. And they are also posed with parents and siblings. Session are typically pre-planned and parents receive directions about how to hold baby and pose. They also can last longer {up t0 2-3 hours} depending on how experienced the photographers are and how babe behaves.

This is the ‘hardest’ of the styles and to create artful images, most photographers either need extensive time to gain experience or intensive workshops to learn proper handling/poses. Image galleries typically include the blanket backdrop, props, parents, siblings, and whole family. They also include macro details like feet, fingers, eye lashing, etc. Make sure to ask your photographer that these are standard inclusions in their gallery offerings if those are important to you.

2) Semi-Posed Lifestyle Newborn


Semi-Posed Lifestyle is somewhat similar posed newborn. But it’s more relaxed. Typically this type of session happens at the client’s home. The time window for this is obviously more open-ended as baby can be wide wake,  or asleep and content. Images can be taken regardless of babe’s disposition. Baby can also be older as there are no props used here. Photographers like to use living spaces including nurseries, living room sofas, master bedrooms for this session. So clients should be comfortable with these spaces as backdrops to their images. Image galleries include parents, solo baby, and maybe some realistic/natural interactions like soothing cries, an awake baby, etc. Photographer typically just shows up with a camera and will capture what he/she sees during the session. Direction is still given for baby and parents. And these sessions typically last about 1-2 hours.

3) Documentary

This style is quite the opposite from the above types. Typically this is also done as an in-home session, but little to no direction is given. The photographer wants to capture the most natural and realistic you whether baby is awake, asleep, crying/unhappy, etc. This is as if the photographer is a fly-on-the-wall as you go about your activity and interaction as a family. Since this also takes place at clients’ homes, the decor and light are big considerations when deciding where to photograph. These galleries tend to tell a story with many images. They make for great albums because of this. On the flip side, since it’s not standard portraits, you may not be finding your typical Holiday Card image among your gallery of images if that makes sense.

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It’s best to approach photographers who’s style is what you’re looking for. Most experienced newborn photographers may be aware or offer multiple types, but will have more expertise in one area. What you see on their website is what they’re showing as their best work.

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