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Studio vs Lifestyle Newborn Photography

There are two main styles of newborn photography: lifestyle and studio. Neither is better, but one or the other is likely a better fit for you depending on what you want from your session.  I specialize in studio newborn sessions, but I also love the aesthetic of an at-home lifestyle session.  Here are 10 key differences between the two styles to help you decide which one is right for you.  

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Timeframe

Lifestyle newborn photography is a little more flexible on the “when.”  Sessions can take place anytime within the first few weeks of your baby’s life, since the baby will not be “posed” on it’s own, but held or swaddled for most of the images. 

Studio newborn sessions are ideally done within the first two weeks.  I have photographed beautiful newborn sessions with babies as old as 4 months, but to get the most of your session you should plan to have it done when your baby is around 7-14 days old.  But never say never… If you love this style but missed the ideal window, read all about what to expect with an “older” newborn in this blog post.

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Poses

Lifestyle newborn photography focuses on capturing natural, candid moments, while studio newborn photography includes posing your newborn in a variety of adorable positions to showcase their unique features.  This is the biggest difference in the finished product.  Lifestyle captures your life with a newborn, and studio creates more formal art of the same stage.

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Location

Studio sessions are held at the photographer’s dedicated studio. This is great for having control of the environment, lighting, and being able to create consist style of images regardless of anything else.  Of course this means the stress of getting out of the house with a newborn. Lifestyle sessions are held in your home.  Being in your own natural environment can be more comfortable for some, and for others it adds the stress of having your home “picture-ready.”  

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Environment

Lifestyle newborn photography captures the natural environment of your home.  Some families like having their home documented as part of their session, since that is where they love and care for their baby.  Studio newborn photography eliminates the distractions of home life and allows everyone to stay focused and in the moment. A studio session can be carefully regulated to ensure that your baby is comfortable and cozy throughout the shoot, including the temperature, noise, and other environmental elements.

Lifestyle picture of a baby in a crib in front of studio newborn pictures on the wall
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Family Images

Studio newborn photography captures more curated shots of the family posed together, while lifestyle newborn photography can include more journalistic shots of the family interacting together.   My personal style is to pose families together and then have them focus on each other for images that are more about the connections between family members. but we also capture more dramatic studio-style images like the one below.

Family photo with brand new baby boy. Newborn session with Colleen Hight in Suwanee Georgia newborn studio.
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Props

From adorable hats and headbands to baskets and blankets, a studio session provides access to a wide range of props to enhance your baby’s photos, while lifestyle newborn photography tends to be more minimalist. With a variety of backdrops available, a studio session offers endless possibilities for creating a beautiful, timeless portrait.  Props play less of a role in lifestyle sessions, which focus on the more organic surroundings of your own home environment.

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lighting

Lifestyle newborn photography uses natural light, while studio newborn photography usually uses professional lighting that can be carefully controlled. A studio session gives greater flexibility and control, and you can choose the best time of day for your baby’s schedule, without worrying about the lighting or other factors.

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image style

To keep it short and sweet, studio newborn sessions create a stylized gallery of  images with careful positioning that highlight your baby and all the tiny details that are distinct to the newborn stage.  Lifestyle sessions create a more documentary-style gallery of images that highlight your family connections and the place that is home to your family.

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Erin flett

Collect things you love, that are authentic to you, and your house becomes your story.

Beautiful Either Way…

No matter which style of newborn photography you choose, the most important thing is to find a photographer who makes you feel comfortable and captures the essence of your family in a way that feels authentic to you.

I’ve had the pleasure of capturing precious moments for countless families (literally… I lost count years ago after 200 sweet babies!). While both studio and lifestyle newborn sessions have their merits, I’ve found that studio sessions are what make my heart happy, and if this is the style you lean toward, I would love to chat with you and help design a session with your family in mind. 

If you think Lifestyle is the right choice for you, I enthusiastically recommend Stefanie Jayne Photography, who’s lifestyle work can be found on her website, linked here.  A talented photographer and a wonderful person, she is my go-to for lifestyle newborn photography.

“Creating artwork of your most precious people.”

COLLEEN HIGHT

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Mother holds her baby son in Alpharetta newborn session
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