In today's world of photography, the options are endless when it comes to choosing which type of session is right for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, photographers often use terminology that clients don't understand and only wish they had understood prior to making a portrait appointment. Choosing the perfect newborn photography session begins with understanding basic terms that photographers often use.
While photographers mix various genres of photography to create their own style, there are two main types of newborn photography sessions that can be produced both in a client's home or at a photographer's studio:
Fine-Art Portrait vs. Lifestyle Sessions
Is a fine-art newborn portrait session right for you?
Fine-Art Portrait/Studio Session - Fine-art portraiture (in terms of newborn photography) denotes photographers who use studio lighting and artistically pose infants to create heirloom art. Fine-art is intentional, both in creation and completion. Newborn fine-art photography is all about technically perfect composition and execution. The use of professional lighting, angles, props and poses are carefully planned and thought out prior to a fine-art portrait session.
While fine-art photography can be produced in an outdoor setting, it is typically photographed indoors when in relationship to newborns. Fine-art newborn photographers usually offer indoor studio sessions that are newborn only or a combination of both newborn and family portraits.
Newborn fine-art sessions can include one or all of the following options when executing posed, studio-style images:
Fabric backdrops - Fabric backdrops are, literally, fabric backdrops. Fabric can vary in color and texture to integrate cohesively with additional gallery images.
Safely posing newborns takes patience, time, training, and experience. Poses that look difficult are, in fact, difficult and should not be executed by amateurs.
Depending on your photographers preference, newborns are posed on either a bean bag, dog bed (yes, dog bed) or table-style set-up with posers hidden underneath the fabric to assist in positioning the baby safely.
Certain newborn images require professional photographers to utilize image composites to create final portraits.
What is a composite image?
A composite image is multiple photographs combined to create one, final portrait.
2. Props - Fine-art newborn photographers should have a variety of props for their clients to choose from that create additional artistic flair and gallery cohesion.
The 4 B's of Props are: Buckets, Bowls, Baskets and Beds.
Occasionally, fine-art newborn photographers will use additional props such as chairs...
Shelves (don't worry, the shelves are not actually suspended in the air)...
The creative elements added to your prop-styled images depend on the photographers' style and client requests.
Prop-styled portraits can be both simplistic or highly-styled portrait art.
While composite images are used to aid the posing of newborns safely on fabric backdrops, they are also used to create artistically-styled prop portraits. Prop composites are time-consuming and require photographers to have high-level editing skills.
What a fine-art photographer envisions the final product to be can be very different from what the client actually witnesses during a session.
Ultimately, a highly-skilled artist's goal is to cause the viewer to question the reality of the image. Is the image true-to-life or computer-enhanced?
3. Flokati - A flokati is a soft, sheep-skin fur. The wool yarn is soaked in a water bath and woven into a resilient cushion. Fine-art newborn photographers often use flokati furs when posing newborns because of the beautifully-detailed texture that flokatis add to portraits.
Is a lifestyle newborn portrait session right for you?
Lifestyle Session - Lifestyle sessions aim to capture real-life events in everyday environments. These candid, documentary-style sessions aim to capture life as-it-is with a photographer prompting clients to pose as-if-naturally-interacting. A large proportion of images within a lifestyle gallery will include clients not looking directly at the camera. Lifestyle sessions artistically capture everyday life activities to ultimately tell a story and represent reality.
Hi-end lifestyle photographers, such as Lluvia Phillips, may combine lifestyle portraits with newborn props to create realistic, documentary-style galleries.
Professional lifestyle photographers are able to produce images using only natural light or by combining both strobe/on-camera flash and natural light.
The following lifestyle gallery has been graciously provided by Lluvia Phillips. Enjoy the full gallery of images at: https://www.lphillipsphoto.com/blog/lenas-beautiful-in-home-newborn-session/
The addition of various styled prop portraits, to an ultimately lifestyle-type gallery, artistically tell a story, both candid and simplistically beautiful in nature.
Whether choosing gallery colors, poses, outfits or locations, communication with your photographer is the key factor to a successful session.
Ultimately, the information provided should aid parents in making an educated decision on which type of newborn portrait session is right for them.
Images have been provided by: Alisha Cory and Lluvia Phillips
Alisha Cory is a photographer based in Mount Pleasant, SC who specializes in fine-art portrait photography, as well as a variety of other portrait specialities. Alisha is passionate about capturing the delicate details of a newborn, along with their beautiful families.
View Alisha's portfolio at: https://www.alishacoryphoto.com/
Additional newborn images at: https://www.alishacoryphoto.com/newborn
Lluvia Phillips is a photographer based in Goldsboro, NC who is obsessed with film inspired, true to life photos capturing simplistic beauty.
View Lluvia's portfolio at: https://www.lphillipsphoto.com/
Additional session images at: https://www.lphillipsphoto.com/blog/lenas-beautiful-in-home-newborn-session/
Additional Credits: June Bug Photography, Love Struck Productions, Epingle sur Accessoires, Amy McDaniel, & Krystal Sandefur