I started doing newborn photography back in November of 2015. With being new to the industry, I just followed suit; putting babies in buckets and bowls, shaping them like clay into different positions, pulling out my hair as I tried to get them to sleep...
It's not that I didn't know how to do this type of newborn photography (see below), it's that it was stressful, and I was never happy with the outcome - inevitably leading me to falling out of love with photography.
As of October 2017, I started to make the transition over to lifestyle photography, and I fell in love with the art all over again. Here are my 5 reasons why I switched to lifestyle photography:
1. Reigniting My Passion
As previously stated, I ended up falling out of love with newborn photography. None of the images spoke to me, and they all started looking the same. I am very particular with the way I dress, how I decorate my home, etc. so why didn't my photography reflect that? I tried new ways of editing, which brought me more joy, but still didn't seem to be what I was looking for. I took some time off, rebranded almost entirely (my business USED to be called 'Glass Fawns Photo'), and was excited to shoot again.
2. Better Understanding of My Clientele
Often times, when I would show up to a clients home for their newborn photos, they'd want to dress their baby in hot pink with big bows on their heads, sparkles, flowers, you name it. This carried over to family and maternity shoots as well. Neon colours, bedazzled belly-bands...you get the idea. Not that there's anything wrong with this, just something that did not align with my creative vision. Of course, I always obliged but never added them to my website.
Now that I've curated my portfolio to suit my own taste; I find many of my clients share that same vision. If you wanted bright & airy images with princess gowns, etc. you would not be coming to me to take your family photos. I am now able to better connect with my clients, and deliver exactly what it is that they're looking for.
3. Less Stress to Both Parties
Newborn posing is probably the number one way to test your patience as a photographer. I give some serious credit to the photographers who DO spend their time perfectly placing babies hands under their chins, or wrapping them like little potatoes. The best newborn poses only work if baby is sleeping - but what happens if that baby won't sleep for two hours? Or is cluster-feeding? Sometimes baby sleeps just fine; but startles every time you touch them. Often, I'd find myself at a clients home for two hours, to only to have to reschedule because the baby was awake the whole time.
This also causes stress to the parents. You can perfectly prepare for a photo shoot; feeding the baby, keeping the house warm, using a sound machine - but the baby just refuses to go to sleep. As Murphy's Law would have it, the more you try to get a baby to sleep, the less likely it will happen. I can see the desperation in the parents eyes as they plead "he usually sleeps all the time! This is the most awake he's ever been!"
I swear newborns can sense the camera in the room. Without fail they always go to sleep the second I pack-up.
4. Saving Time
On that note, with lifestyle photography, I don't have to wait for baby to fall asleep before I can begin. Mind you, I still would prefer a sleeping baby, as they're generally more cooperative...but I can still take photos of parents and children interacting with their new bundle of joy while he or she is awake. I live for the moments in between - as dad practices swaddling his new babe, or as mom caresses baby's cheek while she feeds. Back when I did posed newborn photography I was once at a clients house for five hours because the baby wouldn't sleep...or his siblings would wake him once he did. FIVE HOURS. Can you imagine how unfair it would be to bill a client for that amount of time?
5. It's More Personal
Lastly, I find lifestyle photography to add a unique touch to your newborn session - no two homes alike. It captures you in that 'new-baby-bliss', as you get to know all their details and quirks. It gives me a chance to capture that moment of your partner looking at you in adoration, as they think "I can't believe we created this." It also allows my clients to bring their own ideas to the table. Some of my favourite personal touches have included:
- the mobile in the nursery, hand-made by the mother
- a crib, built by scratch by the father & his dad
- wrapping the baby in a blanket that has been passed down for generations
- a mural in the nursery that was painted by the parents
- a beautiful flower crown, plucked from the garden of the family
Will I ever switch back to posed photography? Maybe - I'm not completely closed off to the idea. I think it won't be until the day I have my very own studio, where I can really control the atmosphere, and don't have pack my car to the roof with props.