with Courtney Slazinik
How to Take Creative Lifestyle Newborn Photography Photos
How to Take Creative Lifestyle Newborn Photography Photos

Part of the reason I love in-home lifestyle newborn photography sessions so much is because each session presents new opportunities to make unique images. Yes, I go into the session with a general idea of the shots I hope to get. I like the unexpected shots that parents are surprised you took.

Just like any session you want to prepare the newborn parents prior to your arrival. This makes sure you have answered all their questions and set expectations.

This is your chance to shine and show off how good you are at reflecting the family’s life back at them. Don’t forget to always think about the newborn’s safety when taking photos.

Read more: 10 Tips to help dramatically improve your newborn photography

The Crib from Overhead

This is always one of my favourite shots to take during an in-home lifestyle newborn photography session. It shows how small the baby.

It’s also an easy shot to replicate during milestone sessions if you offer baby plans throughout the first year.

newborn asleep in crib during a lifestyle newborn photography session

Pro-Tip for Overhead Newborn Crib Photos:

I bring a sturdy step stool with me to each photo session. Then I climb to the very top and then use my 24 mm lens. This is just one of the best lenses for lifestyle newborn photography. I flip out the screen so I can hold the camera out from my face directly over the crib. Plus, while you are taking this shot here are 5 more shots you can take without moving the baby from the crib.

Trouble shooting: If the crib is set up in a dark corner, don’t be afraid to ask if you can move it near a window for this shot.

baby in crib with mobile next to window during lifestyle newborn photography session

The Nursery During a Lifestyle Newborn Photography Session

Parents-to-be often spend countless hours preparing the baby’s room. You want to make sure to grab a few photos of it. I know from first hand experience how important this can be. If you make slideshows, nursery images are also a great place to start the slideshow to provide context.

newborn nursery with framed photos and geometric shapes

Pro Tip for Taking a Newborn Nursery Photo:

Start outside the nursery door showing a peek into the room. Then move in for a wide room shot from all corners. Next, move in closer to capture small decor details. I often take these shots when Mom is feeding or during a diaper change.

Trouble shooting: If the space is really tight consider using a stool and getting overhead.

newborn nursery with orange walls and wooden growth chart

The Phone During the Lifestyle Newborn Photography Session

This might seem like a really weird shot to take, but I’ve had quite a few parents over the years tell me that the image of their phone is one of their favourites.

I have yet to find a phone that doesn’t have a picture of the baby on it, and I love that it shows the time and date on it. Plus, this is a great way to show one of Mom’s favorite photos. I have found these are typically photos of their baby just a few hours old.

Many new parents track feedings and diaper changes on an app and will have it open and timing during the session. I always try and get at least one image of the app screen. Tracking feedings is generally front of mind in those first few weeks and months. However, when they look at these images years down the road, they’ll may have forgotten all the time they spent logging things.

newborn photo on lock iphone screen during lifestyle newborn photography session

Pro Tip for Taking a Photo of the Phone:

If the phone is accessible, quickly hit the home button to turn the screen on, grab the shot and move on.

Trouble shooting: If you are trying to be sneaky but there are a bunch of notifications blocking the home screen, explain to Mom what you’re doing and ask if she’ll clear them. Reflections can also be tricky, so you’ll have to adjust your angle.

Getting dressed

Dressing a newborn can often get overlooked as an opportunity for worthwhile photos. The transitions can result in some really beautiful moments. Often parents work together to dress the baby before a possible meltdown.

When I’m in the middle of a newborn session I rarely let the parents out of my sight. This allows me to always have my camera to my face, ready to go for both diaper and clothes changes.

See more- 8 Ways to Weave Intentional Design Into Documentary Photography

Pro Tip for Getting the Newborn Dressed Photo:

Be sure to stay out of the way as getting tiny fingers and toes into clothes with buttons and snaps can be a challenging task. Let them do the work and compose your shot accordingly. I usually default to overhead (again, that step stool comes in handy), or a wide shot eye level with the changing table. If you want to get creative you can try and sneak a shot of the baby through the parents’ elbows.

Trouble shooting: The baby will probably cry and the parents might start trying to go faster for your sake. Ease their fears by telling them crying is normal and to take their time.

Family heirlooms

I ask the family before every lifestyle newborn photography session if there are any special family mementos they’d like to have included. It can be a quilt Great Grandma made or a bassinet Dad slept in as a baby. The possibilities are endless and will be unique to each family. I ask the parents to have the object out and ready so we don’t forget about it. Then I make sure to naturally include it at some point during the session.

The goal is to make these images meaningful for the parents, but not feel forced or out of style with the rest of the session.

Pro Tip for How to Include Family Heirloom in Newborn Photography:

Prepare the parents for this ahead of time otherwise they’ll be scrambling the day of the session. Some families won’t have anything they want to include, and that’s totally fine. If you’re doing a clean shot of just the baby and the object, try to move close to a window so you can have lots of natural light to use.

I usually try to do this shot close to the start of the session so I don’t forget about it later on.

Trouble-shooting: There’s not much that can go wrong here except that the baby wants nothing to do with whatever you’re trying to set up. If that’s the case, let it go and try again later in the session.

These are just a handful of the images you can take during a lifestyle newborn photography session. Have you given it a try? Here are 5 reasons it is worth trying this lifestyle approach to your next newborn photography session.

If you love newborn pictures then you are sure to also love birth photography come see my 8 Best Tips for Beautiful Birth Photography.

These are fantastic! I love how she gave tips and troubleshooting ideas as well! Read - "5 Unexpected Lifestyle Newborn Photos"
  • Kara
    July 2, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    These are awesome tips Kelly. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tabitha @ Tabitha Maegan Photography
    May 23, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    I love detailed shots ideas such as the nursery details and the image of the parents cell phone/background. I would have never thought of that!

  • EVE
    June 24, 2019 at 1:59 AM

    Thanks for sharing Kelly, This is fun and a life long treasure

  • Janet Neris
    July 17, 2019 at 5:24 PM

    I am interested in newborn photography

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