Lifestyle Newborn Photography : What to Expect at your Session - Rochester, Michigan Photographer

You’re in full blown nesting mode.  You’ve put the finishing touches on the nursery, and put away all those adorable, newborn-sized onesies. Getting out of bed feels like an Olympic event.  You’ve packed the hospital bag.  You’ve booked your in-home newborn session (high five!). You’re bringing a new human into the world!!  (double high five!!)

And just like that, you are a new mom. That photo session you booked 2 or 3 months ago kinda sneaks up on you after you do that miraculous childbirth thing.  You might feel a little unprepared!  Totally understandable, Mama. You’ve got a lot going on!

But fear not!  This blog post is here to help answer any questions you might have about what to expect for your Lifestyle Newborn Session. 

Metro Detroit Newborn Photographer

What is Lifestyle Newborn Photography anyway?

It’s different than traditional/posed photography where a lot of the focus is on intricate baby posing and props.  It’s also different from documentary photography which takes a “fly-on-the-wall” approach with the photographer giving no direction to their subject. 

Lifestyle newborn photography falls somewhere in the middle.  It’s all about capturing real connection and the everyday moments that happen when you have a newborn.

Now, if you’re like me, you might feel a little awkward in front of the camera at first, so getting some direction from your photographer can really help achieve a relaxed look. Worry not…I do provide guidance to my clients on where to sit, how to position yourselves, where to look, what to do with your hands, etc. If there are small siblings involved, we will play some silly games to make them forget they are even having their picture taken.  Your photos will look effortlessly candid, but there is some guidance provided behind the scenes.

It’s all about setting the scene and then letting the moments unfold. 

And yes, if you’re wondering, I do also take portraits that lean a bit towards “traditional,” focusing solely on that sweet baby.  After all, I know you have a baby announcement to put together and prints to make for the grandparents.  For baby’s individual portraits, I pose them in a way you would find them naturally, usually on a blanket or a bed, or in your arms if that’s where they want to be. I usually do this when baby is sleepiest, but sometimes they are awake, and that’s OK too. 

I feel that babies are perfect just the way they are, and there is no need for complex posing or elaborate props. However, if you have a special item or family heirloom that you would like incorporated, please let me know. This family had a blue, vintage pin that had been passed down generations. Other families have had special booties or handmade blankets that were gifted or passed down from family members.

Now that you have an idea of my approach to newborn photography, let’s talk about wardrobe. 

What should we wear for our newborn session?

This is a very common question that I get asked, and my motto is: the simpler the better. 

Any of the following are great options for baby:  swaddled in a neutral blanket, wearing a plain onesie, undressed/diaper-only.  (Newborn outfits never seem fit right anyway!) 

For mom, dad, and siblings, I also recommend keeping it simple and comfortable.  Light, neutral colors (creams, whites, grays, pastels) work best as they don’t take away from the natural beauty of your baby.

There is no need to get dressed up or fancy…this isn’t a business headshot or a wedding. I’m all for keeping things casual. Kick your shoes off, and let’s take some cozy images in your home with your new baby.

Where will we shoot?

When I arrive at your home, I will ask you to show me around your house so I can find the best light.  Typically, I like to focus in the nursery, the master bedroom and the living room.  This varies for each client depending on the amount and direction of light in your home.  For the particular shoot I am featuring here today, the most amazing light was in the parents bedroom and the living room, but I did make a point to capture some detail shots in the nursery. There have been other times I’ve ended up in a random guest bedroom because there was awesome light. Sometimes I mostly shoot in the nursery. I do aim for variety when possible, but it’s really all about that light!

Also, do not worry about cleaning your house beforehand.  Girl, you just had a baby!  The only thing I will ask is to have your bed made…bonus points if you have a neutral comforter or quilt that you can throw on top.  Your bed makes a great spot for cuddly, family photos.  It’s also a great backdrop for some individual portraits of baby.  

How should we prepare for a newborn shoot? 

My newborn shoots are very laid back, so I don’t have a lot of “rules” when it comes to preparation.  My best advice is to relax, pretend I’m not even there, and enjoy some snuggles with the newest member of your family. 

Heat/warmth and a full tummy tend to help keep baby content, so set your house temperature accordingly (slightly/uncomfortably warm for us adults) and plan to feed just before or just after I arrive. 

While I typically plan about 2 hours for my sessions, it’s a good idea to block out at least 3 hours just in case we run long. After all, the baby is totally in charge, and I never rush things. 

We can take as many breaks as needed for feedings and diaper changes.  These breaks are a great time for me to focus on nursery details and to give any other siblings some time in front of the camera. So don’t worry if a lot of breaks are needed…this is standard for newborn shoots.

Now your ready for your in-home lifestyle newborn session! That is, unless you haven’t booked yours yet…

When should I schedule my newborn photography session?

You’ll want to reach out 2 to 3 months before your estimated due date, to ensure photographer availability (especially if you are due in summer or fall when photographer's calendars tend to book up quickly). I typically like to schedule newborn clients within the first two to three weeks of life.

If you are expecting and in need of a photographer, I’d love to hear from you! My sessions are all-inclusive, which means you receive all of your final, hi-res digital files with printing rights. I also have an affordable option to add a maternity session to your package, and I highly recommend capturing that beautiful baby bump! You can check out my current pricing or drop me a note using the buttons below. And be sure to check out the rest of this post for some more of my favorite images from this lovely session! Thanks for stopping by!

Denise Button is a Rochester, Michigan based photographer specializing in Lifestyle Newborn Photography, Child Photography, Family Photo Sessions, Extended Family Photos (“Generations”), and High School Seniors. Photographing families and children of all ages: from baby to toddler to teens. Serving Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Clarkston, Waterford, Lake Orion, Troy, Birmingham, Royal Oak, Shelby Township, and all of Metro Detroit - Michigan.

Now There Are 3 // Newborn and Family Photographer - Rochester, MI

I see you, Mama, from behind my lens.

Beautiful, a bit tired, and simply overjoyed.

I see you, Daddy, smiling with pride,

At the girl you hold so delicately in your hands,

While Mama finds a new outfit…because…spit-up happens.

I see you Doggy, a little confused.

But adjusting and learning your new role,

And loving your people…now there are 3.

I see you, Baby.

Lighting up their world.

With your smile, or a toot, or a yawn.

Because you are pure magic.


Why I Fell in Love with Lifestyle Newborn Photography - Rochester Hills, Michigan, Family Photographer

Newborn sessions are one of my favorite types of sessions.  There is so much joy buzzing through a family’s home when there is a new baby.  Being a mom myself, I know just how amazing the newborn stage can be, but I also know how overwhelming it can feel, and how quickly it flies by.  So, I always consider it a huge honor to be invited into your home to document this special (and a little bit crazy!) stage of your lives.

Rochester Michigan Newborn Photographer

But there was a time when I used to get a bit anxious about newborn shoots.  When I was first starting out as a photographer, I really wanted to create those perfectly posed newborn portraits.  You know the ones…where a naked baby is fast asleep on a perfectly smooth backdrop, flawless skin, chin resting in hands.  Because all the research I had done told me…that’s what client’s want, and that’s how you photograph a newborn!

In my head, the session was all about nailing those poses…poses which, quite frankly, do not occur naturally in the real world!  I never got great at the posing, and I started to realize that I just wasn’t cut out for this type of photography.  

But there was something else that I realized.  At every session, there were unscripted moments unfolding that I loved to capture.  Mom holding and just LOVING ON baby.  Dad’s face LIGHTING UP when baby cracks a smile, yawns, or does something else utterly adorable.  The somewhat clumsy yet careful kiss from a proud big brother or sister.  Real, truthful, unposed moments.  Honestly, these are the types of images that I wish I had more of when I was a new mom.     

Oakland Township newborn photography

Eventually, I learned that this type of photography has a name:  Lifestyle Newborn Photography.  It doesn’t look at all like traditional newborn photography.  There are no complicated poses.  No props.  No extensive photoshopping.  Lifestyle newborn photography is real, uncomplicated, and true.  It’s about capturing the raw beauty of your new, precious baby.  It’s about capturing the joy and connection shared between you and this tiny person you have waited 9 months to meet. 

Father and Newborn Photography

And here is what I love most about lifestyle newborn photography.  Every photo session is different and unique to YOU.  It’s not the same pose recreated over and over again.  It’s about who you are as a family, how you interact, how you love.   

newborn family photo session
Newborn Baby Photographer in Rochester Hills
Family Newborn photographer Oakland County MI

{I feel the need to point out that I have absolutely nothing against traditional / posed newborn photography.  I have huge respect for photographers who pull it off beautifully.  I am honestly in awe of anyone who can impeccably swaddle a newborn, mold them into interesting positions, keep the baby sound asleep, safely spot and support the baby, sometimes get pooped on, and by the way, also concentrate on lighting, aperture, shutter speed, etc. in order to create amazing, artistic images. It is no small feat.}   

Today, I approach newborn sessions very similar to how I approach all my family sessions…which is to focus on connection, joy, and authentic moments in a relaxed and laid-back setting.  This is what inspires me. And these days, when I get an email inquiry for a newborn session, instead of getting a little bit anxious, I get giddy excited for the meaningful images we get to create together.

Newborn Baby Photos - Rochester Michigan
Lifestyle Newborn Photography Michigan

If you are expecting or know someone who is, and if Lifestyle Newborn Photography sounds like your cup of tea, then I would LOVE to hear from you.  Shoot me a message right here.  But first, check out a few more photos of this adorable baby…just look at that face! :)