Lifestyle vs studio newborn photography: what is the difference?

When you're searching for a newborn photographer there are tonnes of options out there. One question to consider is: studio vs. lifestyle? What is the best newborn photography style? The truth is, there is no right answer. Each style has it's unique benefits, and thankfully there are many talented photographers in Toronto and the GTA who specialize in these genres.

Here are a couple key differences between studio and lifestyle newborn photography: 

1. LOCATION:

Studio newborn photography takes place in you guessed it, a studio. The studio lighting is controlled and backdrops are neutral. All the supplies needed for the shoot are on hand and your photographer will usually keep the studio warm to encourage sleeping babies. On the other hand, lifestyle newborn photography takes place in the comfort of your home. Your house is an important part of your family's story and will be featured in your lifestyle session!  Your photographer will shoot in the rooms with the best natural light, such as the nursery, master bedroom and living room. Images will capture the small details that make your home yours. Favourite shots might include the new family snuggling together on the bed, the baby sleeping in the crib and mama siting in a nursery chair looking adoringly at her new baby. 

2. TIMING: 

Timing is critical for posed, studio portraits: most photographers prefer to photograph newborns at less than 2 weeks of age. Younger newborns are more likely to fall into deep sleeps necessary for the poses, and are more flexible to curl up into the desired positions.  Lifestyle newborn sessions have more flexibility when it comes to timing. Babies change so fast, so I tell my clients that it can be nice to capture them at this unique stage when they are only a couple weeks old. However, lifestyle newborn sessions with older newborns have some advantages:  it gives parents more time to adjust to life before stepping in front of the camera and babies who are little older make better eye contact when awake.  

3. LOOK AND FEEL:

Studio newborn photography features posed newborn and family shots, with adorable babies curled up in womblike poses (or propped up on hands, etc.). It often includes props, such as baskets, headbands, coloured wraps, etc. Lifestyle newborn photography focuses more on the interaction between the new family, with less importance placed on the perfect pose. It is typically more candid in nature, although your photographer will likely guide you and provide suggestions on how to get a natural look. Instead of using props, lifestyle newborn photography typically includes items you already have in your home, such as a favourite blanket or the child's nursery as the background. 

Hopefully now that you know some of the key differences you can decide for yourself what is the best choice for your family. My style of photography is lifestyle: I love to focus on connection and photograph the intimate environment of my client's home.  

Here are a couple of my favourite shots from a recent newborn shoot.