Simply Heaven BLOG


Lifestyle or Traditional Newborn Session: Which is Right for You?

three pictures of different newborn sessions


You’re pregnant? Congratulations!!! There’s something special about brand new life. From baby animals to newborns, that new freshness is something that melts just about everyone’s heart. Newborn sessions are one of my favorite things to photograph!


redheaded mom wearing a blue shirt and holding newborn baby boy


With so many options for newborn photography available to choose from, how do you know which to choose? There are lifestyle newborn sessions in your home, studio newborn sessions, Fresh48, mini newborn sessions, baby milestones, combination maternity and newborn, birth photography… So many choices can leave your head spinning!

Are you unsure which is the best fit for your family? Read on! I’ll explain all these session types further so you can feel better informed about which to choose.


newborn baby boy in a bucket with sunflowers

When to Photograph Your Newborn Session


True newborn portraits are photographed when baby is under two weeks of age. Around two weeks baby goes through a bunch of changes and their first growth spurt, and they phase out of the super squishy and flexible “newborn” stage. I know this may seem super short (“Hey, my one month old is still in newborn diapers!”) but the timing of your photography session is important. Let’s start at the top, where you’d ideally want to start documenting your sweet new babe’s life.


mom, brother, and new sister sitting on a white couch, brother kissing sister


Adding Maternity Pictures


Maternity pictures are an important part of your baby’s story. Sometimes it’s overlooked if mom isn’t feeling her best, but a professional photographer will always pose you in flattering positions and make clothing and hair/makeup recommendations so that your pregnancy is remembered in a beautiful way.


studio pregnancy picture


They are best photographed between 32-35 weeks (28-32 if twins) so that you’re still comfortable but not at risk of delivering early. Look for a photographer who can document both your maternity and newborn portraits to give you some continuity in your photograph’s style.


You’ll want to schedule your maternity portraits during the beginning of your second semester. Many photographer’s schedules fill up several months in advance, so be sure to schedule early to ensure you get the pictures you want.


maternity pictures with husband

More information on maternity portraits is located HERE

Birth Photography


These have recently taken off in popularity. A photographer is essentially on-call for your birth, and will meet you at the hospital, birthing center, or home, to photograph your new little one coming into the world.

I don’t have any example pictures to show since this isn’t something I photograph. If you’re looking for a birth photographer, I’d recommend searching the database at: Birth Photographers




Fresh48 sessions are held within the first 24-48 hours of your baby’s life. They are also called hospital newborn sessions or first day photos, and are for families who want the first few hours of their newborn’s life captured without having the entire labor or birth documented.  These lifestyle sessions are perfect for remembering that first day forever.


family meeting a new baby in the hospital


Everyone knows newborns come on their own timing. Its rare that they arrive when expected! Since timing is super important with Fresh48 sessions, be sure to choose a photographer who is reliable and has a good reputation. Check reviews, ask friends for recommendations if you liked their hospital newborn pictures, and choose your photographer wisely. Just like a wedding, you can’t redo these precious pictures.


moore regional hospital newborn session


I’ve photographed babies at Cape Fear Valley, Moore County Regional, and Womack Army Medical Center. Delivering at one of these hospitals? Great!  I already know the layout of the rooms and best times to photograph at each.  More information about my Fresh 48 sessions are located here.

Studio Newborn Sessions


The crème de la crème! A newborn session in a professional photographer’s studio is what most people think of when they hear “newborn pictures”. It’s perfect for families who don’t want to worry about cleaning their home for a lifestyle session. You just get to show up to the studio with a well-fed baby, and let the photographer do the work. Plus, having a studio session also gives your photographer quick and easy access to their newborn prop stash.

Our studio is located in historic, downtown Southern Pines. More about the studio is located HERE 

newborn photography studio in fayetteville
Studio newborn sessions can include a range of people who are welcoming baby into the family. Sometimes we include grandparents, sometimes older siblings, and sometimes parents just want baby to be photographed by themselves. A studio session gives maximum flexibility as far as who you’d like to be included in your portraits.


fayetteville photography studio


You will want to get on the photographer’s schedule sometime in your second trimester. Your actual session date is usually photographed when baby is between 6-10 days old, but can’t be scheduled until baby is born. It’s important to book your session well before your due date to make sure the photographer has space available for your session.


Choosing your Studio Newborn Photographer


When searching for a newborn photographer, be sure to find someone who has training in working with these little ones. This is the one session where the photographer will be handling your baby, A LOT! So you want to make sure you trust this person . Do they have training? How long have they worked with newborns? Are they patient enough to work with your toddler and new baby? Are they experienced enough to know when baby needs a break? Will they force baby into a pose that baby isn’t willing or flexible enough to do? Working safely with our littlest clients is an important skill that can take years to master. And a cute picture isn’t worth the health of your baby.


newborn photographer in raeford


Much goes into the back end of newborn photography. Posing, lighting, working with families, and editing images can take years to perfect. Keep in mind that experienced photographers will charge more for their time and experience than photographers just starting out. It’s important to remember that a photographer’s prices are generally linked to the quality of the end product and the photographer’s experience level. A bargain photographer may not turn out to be such a bargain when you receive your baby’s first pictures and they aren’t the quality expected.


mother and father holding newborn baby boy


More newborn session information is located here.


Lifestyle Newborn Sessions


Lifestyle sessions are a relaxed, intimate peek into the first few weeks at home with your new baby. They are unposed, documenting your family just as you are in your home. We will photograph in any rooms with great light. The most popular are the living room, master bedroom and nursery!


lifestyle session in fayetteville


These are the most forgiving sessions as far as timing goes, since we don’t do the posed newborn photographs traditionally seen in a studio newborn session. Babies can be up to a month old, which offers much more scheduling flexibility.


newborn lifestyle session


More lifestyle newborn session information can be found here.


Which to choose?


So many options, but which one should you choose??  First, think about your preferences.  If you’re looking to document the entire story of your little one, you should look into a maternity, Fresh48/birth photographer, and a newborn session. Or would you rather photograph your newest addition after you’ve had a bit to recover from delivery? Maybe a single newborn session is more your style.


two images of newborn baby twins laying in a bed and parent maternity pictures


Whichever route you decide to go, it’s important to reach out to prospective photographers and talk to them about your options. Asking them questions can further help clarify your goals and help you to make the right choice for your family. Every photographer offers a different experience, so be sure to look further than pricing. A photographer does much more than push a button on a camera, especially someone who specializes in newborn portraits!

Be sure to get in touch with your photographer while you’re still pregnant to schedule your newborn session. Most moms reach out during their second trimester. Since newborns are penciled into the calendar around their due date, most photographers only accept a certain amount of babies per month. Sometimes last minute sessions come available, but if you have your heart set on a certain photographer, make sure to book early.

Happy searching!

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