The 4 Main Types of Newborn Photography

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Congrats! You are expecting and thinking ahead to how you want to celebrate and remember this rare time in your life. As you begin your search for a newborn photographer, it helps to have an idea of the kind of photographs you want.

Explore this list before you start your search, it will help you narrow your search and find the perfect fit.


These 4 main categories will help you identify what type of photography is a good fit. But remember, not every newborn photographer fits into only one of these boxes.

When you visit a photographer's website, look for keywords but also pay attention to the images in their portfolio. Oftentimes, a portfolio shows the photographer's favorite images and what to expect from a session.

With the knowledge in this article, you can identify the type of photos that are ideal for you so you can be more intentional in your search.

Lifestyle Newborn Photography

Lifestyle newborn photography is all about capturing those natural, everyday moments of life with a newborn, while optimizing for the best lighting and composition.

Your photographs will tell a genuine story and preserve moments that you want to remember about life with a newborn.

What to Expect

Your photographer will suggest ideal locations in your house for the portraits, and then you will be guided as you interact with your newborn or family while the photographer takes pictures.

Newborn portraits and details will typically be in-arms and/or on a blanket or natural part of the home.


Even though this takes place at your house, it doesn't have to be perfectly clean. You don't need to hide the breast pump, nipple shields or get a good night's rest the evening before.

Photographers have a magical way of optimizing things to bring out all of the natural beauty in a space, moment or person. Not stress, ok? The most important thing you can do is be relaxed and embrace the moment as it is. It's perfect in its imperfection. I love finding beauty in real life.

Documentary Newborn Photography

Documentary Newborn Photography is a lot like lifestyle, except no modifications are made to the subjects or surroundings. The value in documentary photography is that your photos will be the most true to life, and you will also not be expected to "be on" for the camera.

What to Expect

Every photo in your gallery will be entirely candid and real. The lighting may be more photojournalistic style rather than perfect portrait lighting, of course this depends on the environment. Some documentary style photography has naturally beautiful lighting by default.

Your photographer will be like a fly on the wall. They won't alter you or your surroundings, but they will alter their position and camera settings to find unique ways to share your story.


Try to engage in a couple different activities to bring out a range of interactions and moments. Variety can add a lot to the value of your gallery.

Use your hands to show how you are feeling. One way that a photograph tells a story is through outward acts of emotion.

Move slowly. Take your time and stay in the moment as you transition from moment to moment. This gives the photographer space to find the best perspective, and more opportunities to capture a moment.

Fine Art

Fine Art Newborn Photography is created with the vision of the photographer in mind. She uses photography as a creative medium to express and idea or feeling. Oftentimes this involves cooperation between photographer and subject, as well as strategy with how the environment and props are used. Pitaya Photography offers Fine Art Film Portraits.

Here are 10 of my favorite film portraits from 2019.

What to Expect

You and your photographer will get to know one another to talk about your vision of motherhood.

You can get to know a photographer through social media or a conversation. What do they care about? What do they want to give more visibility? How do they understand motherhood?

It's also a chance to explore your vision. How has motherhood been for you? Pregnancy? Childbirth? The first few days? What do you want to honor during this time?


Don't be afraid to go out on a limb, step out of your comfort zone, and be seen! :-) Art is fun and really stands the test of time. Creating something unique, authentic and artistic can become a valuable family heirloom, one of those rare photos that really stands the test of time.

Here are 10 of my favorite film portraits from 2019.

Posed Newborn Photography

A variety of newborn poses and props are used to create beautiful portraits of your newborn.

These sessions typically take place between 4-10 days after delivery, as this is when newborns are sleepy and easier to pose without waking them up.

The most extensive Posed Newborn Photographers will bring larger props and an indoor studio for controlled lighting and a variety of backdrops and poses. It will typically involve several outfits and poses.

The light-handed posed newborn photographer will bring a few small props and use natural light for the portraits. This is me! I bring a small crate, a pillow and fur, swaddles, headbands and offer one or two varieties of poses. This allows me to provide a larger range of photographs in addition to the posed shots.

What To Expect

The photographer will spend the posed part of the session with your newborn, soothing, changing and posing them. This can be relaxing for parents! You can sit, cuddle and gush over how cute your baby looks while a pro takes care of everything.

Posing a newborn takes time and patience, and is typically limited to the first 4-10 days of age.


Babies show their unique personalities even as little as a few days old. It's usually easiest to cover a lot of ground while the baby is sleeping, but if they are awake and happy, try to snap a shot with their eyes open. These turn out to be some of my faves.

There you have it!

Pitaya Photography offers these four styles so your session can be personalized to fit your personality and needs.

Email to begin planning your session!

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