Should I Do a Home or Studio Newborn Session?

Which Session Is Right For You?

There are so many things to think about and prepare for when you are having a baby. Getting professional newborn photos is a luxury that many new parents are investing in to document this wonderful occasion and capture the beauty of their new little one. For new parents this can be another daunting task to add to the overwhelming number of things you need to do to get ready. So I’m here to help walk you through how to make the best decisions when choosing a photographer and when deciding whether to have your portrait session in your own home or in the photographer’s studio.

Click here if you missed my previous blog post - Tips For Choosing Your Newborn Photographer. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ‘photographers’ in the Austin area, so I just want to give you a few tips when trying to weed through all of them and find the right one for you.

But today’s question is, should you do an in-home session or a studio session? When I first started my business I only offered in-home sessions because I did not have a studio space and I was living in an apartment downtown so I had no room for a studio in my home and I wasn’t ready to commit to leasing a studio space. Now that I have an awesome studio space, I still like to offer the convenience of in-home sessions to my clients who prefer them. Over the years I’ve been able to compile a list of the reasons clients prefer the different types of sessions. Hopefully this will clear up any questions you have and give you a little insight as to what to expect at your own session.

  1. Do you live in a small home or apartment? That doesn’t matter. I just need a tiny space to set up. And I bring studio lighting so I don’t need natural light. Some clients just aren’t comfortable with people coming into their home so they prefer going to the studio, but the amount of space you have, or lack of it, isn’t an issue.

  2. Do you worry about taking your new baby out in public? Some parents are perfectly comfortable going out with a 1-2 week old baby. Some parents are still sweating bullets when they have to put the baby in the armored tanks they call carseats these days. Some moms are still recovering and don’t feel like moving too much. Some moms can’t wait to get out of the house. Some babies are a little higher risk than others. There’s no judgement, just whatever you are more comfortable with. I would just like to note that my studio is impeccably clean, and all of the clothing, wraps, and props are properly cleaned and sterilized between clients. I am up-to-date on my immunizations and flu-shot and take every precaution when working with your precious new baby. So whether you come to my studio or I come to your home, your baby will be in safe surroundings and safe hands.

  3. Are there older siblings? This is a tricky one. You know your babies better than anyone, so you need to think about their personalities when making this decision. Many of my clients have children between 18 months and 3 years old and we all know kids this age have strong-willed minds of their own. There’s no guarantee they will cooperate for photos so we just need to go in with a great attitude and hope for the best (and maybe have a few bribes up our sleeves).

    💜Is big brother super-duper shy and fearful of strangers? If so, he’ll probably feel more comfortable in his own home. Being able to watch as the photographer sets up and interacts with his parents and new baby will hopefully help him get comfortable. If your photographer knows what she’s doing and is great with children, she’ll be able to warm up to him and pay him a lot of attention and make him feel special, which should also help to get him to cooperate.

    💜Is big sister super-duper active and maybe a tiny bit hard to control? She might actually do better in the studio. New surroundings and a new person (the photographer) can help her focus some of her energy on the task at hand. I would highly suggest taking the family and sibling photos at the beginning of the session and then having one parent or family member/friend take her to a park, or back home while the other parent stays for the newborn’s session. My studio has a small sitting area with a tv, snacks, and toys so a parent could hang out there with her as well. A home session may work well also. Again, I would suggest doing the family and sibling photos first and then big sister can go off and play, eat lunch, take a nap, or whatever. But through the years I have noticed that the super strong-willed siblings that don’t want to cooperate are even less cooperative when they are in the comfort of their own home. I also need to add, I am a strong proponent for bribes! But let your photographer do the bribing. Big sister is used to throwing a tantrum with mom and dad, but not with someone new, so that little switch up is sometimes our saving grace to get that shot!

    💜Are there several big sisters and brothers? I would definitely suggest a home session. Once you are out-numbered by your children, it’s definitely easier to manage them at home. 😂

4. Do you really like props? If you love babies in bowls, and beds, and buckets, and on a moon, and in a plane, and with different themed backdrops, you’ll definitely be happier in the studio. When I come to your home I am limited with the amount of things I can bring, and it’ll usually be just one of the smaller props (bowl, bed, bucket). If you come to the studio, you will have access to all of my props. You’ll be able to choose from all of my little outfits, wraps, bonnets, hats, headbands, backdrops, and floors. And we’ll be able to do multiple set-ups so you’ll have a greater variety in your gallery. If you like this kind of stuff you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store!

5. Do you prefer the more casual, lifestyle family and newborn photos? Some clients actually don’t really care for the posed newborn photos. (gasp!) If you want photos of the baby in the new nursery, or family photos on your bed, or with your family pet, obviously you are going to want a home session. It’s easy to create studio-quality newborn and family portraits in your home, but kinda hard to do the opposite. 😆

6. How much time do you have? In-home sessions typically take 3-4 hours. This is including the time it takes me to bring all of my equipment in and set it up, and then breaking it down and taking it back out. Studio sessions are usually 2-3 hours. I still like to block off 4 hours though, just in case baby is fussy, or needs a few feeding breaks, but in general, the studio sessions are a bit shorter.

7. Are you willing to pay for the convenience of your photographer coming to your home? In-home sessions are going to be more expensive than studio sessions. Your photographer needs to plan and gather all of the appropriate props, pack up all of her equipment, travel to your home, set up the equipment, break down and pack up the equipment again, travel back, and then unload the equipment and props again. She also needs to be skilled in how to handle different lighting scenarios and be able to work around other obstacles a studio photographer does not encounter.

Those are the main questions I think you need to consider when making your decision. If you were on the fence trying to decide which type of session to choose, I hope this helped. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me or leave them below and I will be sure to address them.

Congratulations on your new little one! Whichever session you choose I’m sure you will adore your photos forever! 💜

Can you guess which images were shot in the studio and which were shot in the client’s home?

Top row - studio, studio, studio, home

Bottom row - home, studio, home, home