Should I Book An In-Studio or At-Home Newborn Photography Session?
During the pandemic, hospital visitors were often limited and in-hospital newborn photographers were no exception. New parents who wanted to capture those sweet first images of their new arrival, all while wanting to limit exposure to different environments flocked to photographers offering at-home newborn photography sessions. Cue the explosion of this newborn photography niche! Since this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, I’d like to compare 4 aspects of newborn photography (preparation, process, price, and product) that might differ depending on whether parents choose an at-home newborn session (AH) or an in-studio newborn session (IS). Because knowledge is power and most parents can only afford to choose one type of session or the other!
You are essentially hosting your at-home newborn photography session! Yes, you don’t need to drive anywhere. But you are responsible for preparing your space, whether that means keeping pets and maybe curious older siblings out of the way or otherwise occupied during the session. This isn’t just a convenience issue, it is a safety issue. A toddler can easily trip over a cord to a photographer’s light or poke a sleeping newborn in the eye…so can pets lol! An in-studio newborn session will typically include a door to separate Baby from others, but the best place for an at-home newborn photographer to set up might be in the middle of your living room. Which also means you might put (undue) pressure on yourself to clean, depending on your personality!
Your photographer is the host, so all the cleaning and preparation is on her…that includes making sure the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper haha. Yes, you will have to get there, and you might need to make arrangements for older siblings after they are photographed. But your only job otherwise is to make sure Baby has food if she gets hungry during the session and to relax 🙂
So your photographer might need to set up in the middle of your living room. Partly because this gig requires a LOT of bulky equipment! To list a few of the essentials, your photographer will likely bring in a bean bag, a bean bag stand, a light with stand and diffuser (and cord), big props for shots like the two shown below, backdrop blankets, a space heater, and possibly a roll of seamless paper. Be prepared because it might seem like they are moving in! I know of at least one big box at-home newborn photography company that requires 2 photographers at each session. This is probably for safety, but it helps to have 2 people haul and set up all this gear! This is definitely a plus if you need some time before the session to top off Baby or finish curling your hair for that family shot, but just budget about 15-20 minutes before and after the session for loading and unloading 😉 I will say, a lifestyle newborn photography session is a lot less “prop-intensive”. Your photographer will likely only bring a handful of headbands/bonnets, and wraps to this type of at-home newborn session (more on this later.)
Your photographer will have a designated space for in-studio newborn sessions, and will likely have a dedicated space for you to relax. Another perk of an in-studio session? If Baby is extra sleepy, they might grab a different backdrop (or headband or bonnet or romper) for an extra set-up or shot. Their space is probably teeming with newborn props; that seems to be a common characteristic of all newborn photographers!
Obviously price is dependent on who you use for your at-home newborn photography session, but I personally charge a little less because of the nature of at-home images (more on this later). My clients understand that MY at-home sessions are less posed and more interactive (see some images below). Most clients will end up with more images for a lifestyle newborn session in their home versus a posed newborn session at my home-studio, partly because these images will be less editing-intensive for me. For example, I might include more black-and-white images because it’s sometimes impossible to avoid mixing natural light from windows and artificial light from fixtures or lamps resulting in a wonky white balance. The big box company I mentioned? The pricing is $425/ 8 digital images, and they charge extra for multiples. They offer gorgeous photos, don’t get me wrong! But their photographers have a template to follow (because they outsource their editing) which might make it hard to compare them to an in-studio photographer who can buy custom props for a Harry Potter-themed session (BTDT!) or include an extra 10 shots of different family member combinations.
My pricing is no secret either! click here to see my current prices. Here are some themed examples (super girly, and Cubs who were World Series champs that year!) with props purchased especially for these newborn sessions 🙂
I’ve already mentioned that lifestyle newborn photography includes more interactive shots than posed shots like these, and that more black-and-white images might show up in your lifestyle gallery. One other difference is the shooting angle. Your at-home lifestyle newborn photographer might choose more overhead shots to minimize distracting clutter (see examples below)…even if your house is super picked-up and organized ! These images might be more appropriate for a coffee table album or digital scrapbook than in a frame above the living room couch or above Baby’s crib 😉
If you’re after a posed newborn session with the goal of framing that prized photo and incorporating into your carefully chosen nursery theme (like the sweet Christmas baby girl here!), you might choose an in-studio newborn session. Even if the photographer is flying solo, she will have everything she needs and is comfortable using to soothe and dress-up Baby at her fingertips. Want a quote for a lifestyle newborn session like this one? Have newborn photography questions for me? Want to book an in-studio newborn session?