At home vs studio newborn photo shoot – which is better?

You might find yourself wondering which is better: an at home newborn photo shoot vs a studio newborn photo shoot? And the truth is there is no right or wrong answer. 

It really just depends on what aligns with you and your family, your purpose for having a newborn photoshoot, and what will make you and your family feel most comfortable during the shoot.

As a more natural and organic newborn photographer, who only offers at home sessions, your comfort and experience during your newborn photoshoot is at the heart of everything. 

I believe that when clients feel relaxed and comfortable in an environment that feels safe and nurturing it allows for beautiful moments to unfold.

As opposed to a studio session where much of the importance is placed on the final outcome and “look of the photographs”.

My clients obviously want beautiful images that adorn their homes and celebrate the birth of their newborn baby, but beyond that they also desire to document these first few days as they gently transition into parenthood.

Which is why, when choosing between an at home vs studio newborn photo shoot, I think it’s important to define your purpose behind wanting photos of your newborn.

As a new parent you are going to have to make all sorts of choices and decisions when it comes to raising your baby – from simple things like the colour of their nursery to more complex decisions like what your parenting style will be, or whether you choose to use disposable or cloth nappies.

When deciding between an at home vs a studio photo shoot I always find it helpful to ask yourself what your purpose or reason is behind having photographs taken of your newborn?

Is it simply to capture what they looked like, all of their tiny hands and feet, and to have some beautiful pieces of art to display in your home? 

Are you after a very specific aesthetic or style of photography that is only achievable through a studio session? 

Think of images where babies are posed and wrapped up in lots of different blankets and swaddles. They might be photographed against specific backdrops or styled scenes. You might be drawn to images on perfect white backdrops and soft floating drapes.

In this case a studio session might be a better fit for the style and aesthetic you are after.

But if your purpose behind wanting to have photographs of your newborn is to document their story, to capture the feeling and the essence of those first few weeks then an at home session will be a much better fit.

You will still have beautiful images of you and your entire family, but you will also have a visual journal of that time in your baby’s life. This is something that might hold more meaning 10, 15 or 20 years from now because as humans our story is something that becomes more important to us as we age.

A newborn baby lying on a changing mat having their picture taken for an at home newborn photo session

Consider the look and feel of your photographs

The actual aesthetic and feeling you get from the photographs will be completely different when choosing between an at home vs studio newborn photo shoot. While you won’t have a million props and perfectly curated outfits to choose from when doing an at home session, you will have a more natural and organic feel to your imagery. 

Your images will be set in your baby’s home, where you and your partner will feel most comfortable and relaxed. This shines through in the imagery and one of the reasons why I absolutely adore having at home sessions.

Instead of styled poses, you will have real moments – which certainly influences the feelings and emotions that come through in the final imagery.

If you are leaning to the idea of having an at home session, but are worried about what your house looks like, please don’t stress. I have dedicated an entire post to why your home doesn’t have to look like it belongs on the pages of an interior design magazine.

Image of a newborn on her mums shoulder posing for an at home photo session

Another thing to think about when choosing between an at home vs studio newborn photo shoot – is what do you want your shoot experience to feel like?

The reason why I love at home sessions is because the whole shoot can unfold and flow naturally. Taking the lead from your baby, we can have a really calm and relaxed approach on the day of your shoot.

You won’t have to rush off to a studio, and while I do try to keep my sessions to 2 hours, I am more than happy to pause while you feed your baby or need to take a break because they feel uncomfortable or need a nappy change.

Your experience and comfort is at the heart of my newborn sessions.

There is absolutely no pressure during your session, as I slowly capture the natural beauty of your baby (no hard studio lights / flashes, or twisting and contorting your baby into different positions and poses). In contrast, studio photography often involves studio flashes and bright lights, which you and your baby might find a bit more intense and feel as if you are in a pressured environment. 

What is most important is for you to all share a moment together and show your love for one another. To paint a picture of your life at this very moment in time!

Even if that looks slightly messy and chaotic, because there’s so much joy and magic to be found in the in-between.

Those first few days after giving birth can sometimes feel very overwhelming and emotional while you recover from your baby’s birth. Which is why having an at home session takes the pressure off and allows you to take your time, and we can have a very gentle approach to your session. You can enjoy a morning with your newborn while I gently direct you or encourage you to take in all the tiny details of this moment in time.

Something that I love about relaxed at home newborn sessions is you don’t have to carry and cart a million and one things with you – you have everything you need to hand at home (your baby’s nappies, change of clothes and small toys or blankets they find comforting)

A mother sitting with her newborn and older child posing for an at home newborn photoshoot

Something else you might want to consider is how long you want your session to be and how many final images you want to receive?

A studio shoot will provide a limited number of images because your baby has to be intentionally posed and each pose can take a while to achieve.

Your baby has to be in a very deep sleep so there is usually quite a lot of waiting around and pressure to get them in the right state for posing. An average posed studio session can take between 2 and 4 hours while a “lifestyle” or documentary at-home newborn shoot can take from one and a half to two hours.

My at-home sessions on the other hand, visually tell the story of your little one’s early days, and so you will receive a greater number and variety of images.

I tend to deliver around 80/90 different images which is quite a lot considering the length of your session.

I can capture not only beautiful portraits of your baby, the tiny details of their little feet and hands but also interactions with the whole family, tender moments of motherhood and all the in between moments like nappy changes, you feeding your baby and snuggles on the sofa.

Dad holding his newborn baby

There is no right or wrong choice – it’s all about what you value most!

I want to remind you that there is no right or wrong answer here – it really just depends on what you value most and the experience that you and your family would find most enjoyable.

You might find it helpful to spend a few minutes writing down what your expectations are for your newborn photoshoot and what value these images will hold for you once your little one is all grown up. 

As photography styles change and evolve do you feel that you will enjoy looking at these images many years from now?

And remember, while these pictures are for you, they are also for your little one. 

Try to think how you will reflect back on this moment in time with them? 

Would you want to show them what their nursery looked like or your family dog who they used to snuggle up with. Do you want them to understand where they came from, and what these first few days meant for you as a family.

If so, then an at home session might be the right fit for you. If you would like to find out more about a newborn session or simply chat through this with me, please reach out here.

July 29, 2023


About Jess

I am a newborn and family photographer and live in west London with my husband, ten year old daughter and two year old son. Inspired by the magic of childhood and the simple sweetness of everyday moments - I capture genuine and emotive images of family connections without posing or forced smiles. My photography style is very relaxed; perfect for loving families who want to document their family life and children just as they are.

I offer outdoor and at-home photo shoots across London and Surrey including Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, Kew, Fulham, Putney, Chiswick, Wimbledon, Teddington, Twickenham and Kingston-upon-Thames.

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