There is nothing sweeter or more ephemeral than a newborn baby. In my own life, witnessing the birth of my children ranks right up in the top echelon of my memories along with my wedding. I feel it is important to capture a few professional photos that are "wall worthy" in addition to the hundreds of everyday images you will capture with your smartphone.
When it comes to a professional photo shoot with newborns, there are really two main ideas -- lifestyle and posed. Posed newborn photography often involves complicated positions, backdrops, and a variety of props. When I do posed newborn shots, I draw inspiration from famous photographers like Anne Geddes and try to keep the props to a minimum and concentrate more on the positioning of the newborn and the beige, neutral colors that help bring out the newborn's skin tones. A note for expectant moms: the best time to take these types of photos is before 10 days old if you really want to get that Anne Geddes look!
Lifestyle photography, however, turns the traditional newborn session on its head by ditching the props and photographing a newborn in its natural habitat. A really good photo of mom soothing the child after a tantrum or dad holding a naked infant after a diaper changing says so much more about the close bond between child and parent. Because life is always happening, good photography can happen at all ages.
While the two styles are seemingly contradictory, I actually find that a good newborn session can comprise photographic elements from both. That is, we can start off trying to get those artistic and wonderful poses while the newborn is sleeping and then finagle some nice lifestyle shots. My own take on lifestyle photography is that it is OK to have a mix of authentic and staged. In other words, what I am shooting could actually happen in real life (this is the core definition of “lifestyle” in my opinion). Therefore, it is fine to create a diversity of opportunities that will generate real-life type of images which might not have spontaneously happened at that specific moment if I hadn’t been there to jump-start them.