What is Lifestyle Photography? {Newborn edition} | Jennifer Baumann Photography

Lately I have done a lot of explaining to potential clients about what ‘lifestyle photography’ is. So, I figured the best and easiest thing to do would be to write a blog post about this topic so that I could share it with everyone!

I started my business just over 5 1/2 years ago. Since then, my photography + editing styles have changed, but my goals have remained the same. At every session (and wedding) I want to accomplish these 3 things…

  1. Create timeless images. I want my clients to look back at their photos and see themselves… I don’t want them to see a trend that was ‘soooo 2015’.
  2. Have F U N!! I want my clients to feel at ease and enjoy their time with me! Over the years I have learned several techniques to help break down the wall that the camera builds between my clients and I.
  3. Document. Document. Document… I strive to capture the moments as they are unfolding as if I was part of the background and not even there at all. This is very important because so often the little ‘in between’ moments are the very best ones.

Most of the lifestyle sessions that I do are for newborns. So today, I am going to focus on that type of session. However, the basic understanding of lifestyle photography would still apply to doing a lifestyle portrait session.

*Disclaimer – Everything that I have written below is from MY perspective. This post does not represent all photographers and the way that they may photograph a lifestyle session.

WHAT is lifestyle photography? It is the art of documenting one’s life. So often as photographers, we work very hard to capture the ‘perfect’ moment. Little does anyone know that there is often complete chaos happening around the picture perfect photo op that we create! If you think about it, it is a lot like social media.

We all so often only share the highlight reel of our lives…

What the world never sees is our real life… the sink filled with dirty dishes more often than not, the toddler glued to the iPad because you need a moment (hours) of peace, the other two children chasing the dog with a magic marker, and the pile of laundry that has been sitting on the couch for the last 5 days because you are too exhausted to put it away. I get it! Now, I am NOT at all saying that I strive to capture your messy home and the ‘imperfections’ of your life. But what I am saying is that I am not scared of it. In fact that is what makes lifestyle photography so freeing and interesting to me as a creative person. Once you take away the stress of creating the perfect moment, that is the precise moment when the magic happens. When you look back at the memories captured from a lifestyle session I would hope that you would have a clearer picture of what your life was actually like in those days than you would if I only gave you a highlight reel of your life.

Below: This Is Teamwork.2017-03-24_0008Below: THIS is multi-tasking. #everydayhero

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Below: This Is LOVE.2017-03-24_0009Below: THIS is the face you make when you realize your heart has grown 1,000,000,000 times it’s original size.2017-03-24_0013

Do you still POSE your clients with doing this style of photography? Yes! Let me just say that every newborn session is different from the last. Sometimes the baby is happy, sometimes not so much, sometimes they are wide awake, and occasionally they are asleep.Β  A portion of the shoot is posed and a portion is me capturing those in between moments that are totally out of my control. Now, when I say ‘posed’, I don’t mean that you will look like you went to the local Picture People for these photos. No offense to them! πŸ˜‰Β  I am just simply positioning you in the best light or having you sit or stand in a certain way. But I still want the posed moments to look as natural as possible. My goal with each session is to aim for 60% posed and 40% completely candid moments. It doesn’t always happen this way but I want to make sure that I have a good balance of the two methods.

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Will I still get those ‘picture perfect’ photos of my newborn? I bring blankets and cheese-cloths with me to do a simple newborn photo set up. The difference now is that I am not waiting for the baby to fall asleep anymore in order to capture that ‘perfect moment’. If he or she blinks and looks like they are sleeping in the photo, I’ll take it! If he or she is awake and happy while I have them all set up for the shot, then that is totally fine with me too! No more waiting for ‘perfection’ because let’s be honest, it’s a baby. It doesn’t get more perfect than that and as their parent, I am sure you will think any photo of them is perfect!! πŸ™‚

Here is a great example of why I love the ‘imperfect’ photo more than the ‘perfect’ one! He looks as if he is saying, “no more pictures!!” How stinkin’ cute?!?!2017-03-24_00162017-03-26_00082017-03-26_00192017-03-26_0006

Do you take photos of moms breastfeeding? Absolutely, if that is what you want. I have done this several times. However, if you are not comfortable with this then that is totally OK with me. I respect everyone’s personal preferences in regards to the privacy of feeding their baby. You can let me know if this is something you want and I would be happy to document these precious moments for you in a respectful way. These images would not be shared on social media or on my website without your permission. Your privacy of this tender moment is secure and you will be the only one to see it unless you feel the desire to share. I am not saying this because I think it should be ‘private’, I am simply saying this to the mom that might want it captured but not put out there for all to see. πŸ™‚

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How do you handle fussy babies and/or uncooperative siblings? I pack up and go home…. πŸ˜‰ No. I am TOTALLY KIDDING! Fussy babies are the norm and I am so used to it. I am more surprised when a baby isn’t fussy or older sibling actually cooperates! The beauty of lifestyle photography is that I am not sitting around waiting for the everyone to be on their best behavior. If you need to change a diaper, read them a story, rock them in the rocker, or feed them, I am in the background capturing those ‘in between moments’ as I like to call them. Sometimes you may find me photographing the older sibling(s) or your furry baby because while the shoot is mainly about welcoming the baby, it is also about the whole family.

THIS is lifestyle photography. Authentically documenting your life.

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What rooms in the house do you like to use for the shoot and how do I prepare them for the session? I prefer to shoot wherever the best light is at that time of the day. The rooms that I typically shoot in are the nursery, master bedroom, guest room, and/or a living/family room. Now, these rooms do not have to be magazine worthy. Remember what I said in the beginning of this post? Our lives and homes are messy and that doesn’t scare me when it comes to doing lifestyle photography. But, for the posed photos, it does look best to have a clean background. All I ask is that you try to keep clutter to a minimum in a least the part of the room that is closest to the window. We can certainly move things around as needed, but it is helpful to not take a lot of time to do so. It is also a good idea to have a bed freshly made so that we can take some family photos on a bed. This can be in the master bedroom or a guest room, whichever one has the best light.

I do not use artificial light for photos. I only use all natural light from windows and doors. When scheduling your shoot, think about what rooms you would like to shoot in and what time of the day they have sunlight coming in them. One last thing to keep in mind is that colored walls give off a cast of that color on your skin. That being said, I prefer to shoot in white or neutral painted rooms in order to keep your skin tone looking as fresh as possible! If you only have one room in your whole house that fits into any of this criteria, that is totally fine! Part of my job is working with what I have. I am simply giving you things to think about prior to the shoot so that you are better prepared for where I will want to take the photos.

If the weather is nice, I also love to take you outdoors for a few photos as well!

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What do you suggest for WARDROBE for everyone?Β I will go into specifics below. But I just want to say that you should not all be wearing the same exact thing. Don’t have everyone in the same color top and bottoms because that immediately looks very ‘posed’ which is the total opposite of what lifestyle photography is all about.

Check out my newborn Pinterest board HERE, you will see several photos of wardrobe ideas for the whole family! As far as colors go, I love it when the family is dressed in neutral or pastel color tones. I think it just looks so fresh and clean in photos. Dark gray is fine but avoid wearing black. In my personal opinion, it comes off as looking harsh next to the sweet delicate baby skin and I think a neutral or light color is prettiest.

Β Β Β  * Moms – You literally just had a baby 5 minutes ago. You are still going to have a post-baby-baby-bump and that is OK! Nobody expects you to have flat abs moments after giving birth and you shouldn’t either. Don’t be so hard on yourself! It is my job to pose you in the most flattering way possible. I suggest figuring out your outfit for the shoot prior to giving birth. This way you aren’t going through your closet trying on everything that you own the morning of the shoot. I love clothing that is easy on the eyes and soft to the touch. Pants or a dress? This is for you to decide what you feel the best in. I love a maxi dress with a kimono or sweater on top to put you at ease with covering any ‘problem’ areas. I also love a cozy open sweater that you could snuggle the baby up in with you. You could even do cotton robe! You can find some beautiful floral ones at Pretty Plum Sugar that would be so beautiful for your shoot! That company also makes gorgeous tops and dresses as well!

Β Β  * Dads – You guys are super easy. Jeans and a t-shirt or polo is totally fine (preferably without a brand logo on it).

Β Β  * Older siblings – Stay within the same color palate as the rest of the family. No bright flashy neon colors. Their outfit should blend in and coordinate with the rest of the the family’s wardrobe choices. Put them in clothes they will be comfortable in, no need for them to be dressed up as if it is not a normal day at home.

* Newborn – Last but CERTAINLY not least, the itty bitty babe! If you are ordering 7 Etsy outfits for the shoot, I am not the photographer for you. πŸ˜‰ I heart you, but we are not a good fit and that is OK! I would have been the photographer for you 2 years ago when I spent an average of 3 hours at a newborn session. But now I am all about simplicity! Honestly, a white onesie is perfection. I want the focus to be on the baby and the family surrounding them, and not have the clothing choice overtake the ‘moment’ of the photo. As I said, I bring several cheese-cloths with me to wrap the baby up in. So whether it is a boy or girl, they work wonderfully for photos. For girls, you may want to get a headband or two just to make it a little more feminine! But other than that, I don’t want you spending tons of money on newborn outfits on Etsy. If you find one outfit on there that you absolutely have to have, that is totally fine. Or if you have a family keepsake that you want them photographed in, that’s awesome. But basically I am saying don’t stress over it. Less is more. Keep it simple. I mean, I am giving you one less thing to worry about, right?!! Did we just become best friends?! πŸ˜‰

I hope this post was helpful for you and that you have a clear picture of what to anticipate with your shoot! Below are some more photos from recent sessions, enjoy!

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The photo on the left shows you what was happening behind the scenes as I was taking the shot on the right. πŸ™‚

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Rustic Farm Wedding | Nicole + David | Jennifer Baumann Photography

Everything about this day and these people make my heart smile! Nicole and David are two of the most genuine and loving people you will ever meet. They have a love that you can not only see but you can feel when you are around them. So as their wedding photographer, they were a complete dream to work with.

Their wedding was so beautiful and felt like it truly represented who they are. Despite the rain putting a damper some of the outdoor plans, their day was perfect from beginning to end. From their emotional first look to the sparkler exit, it was a magical day. But perhaps my favorite part of it was the ceremony. Their long time friend and the person responsible for setting the two of them up was the efficient. He told personal stories about Nicole and David which had everyone in tears as well as roaring laughter. It isn’t often that the ceremony is my favorite part of a wedding day. I have found that many of them are quick, not personalized, and unemotional. But this one even had me in tears and I barely know these two love birds!! Another thing that was special for me was capturing the bond that Nicole and David have with their parents. I have never really seen a love between a bride and her mom like I did with Nicole and hers. I could tell that these two are the best of friends!

Nicole and David, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the honor of capturing your wedding day. It is one that I will never forget! I hope you enjoy reliving your wedding story and much as I enjoyed telling it… πŸ™‚

 

Venue: Huntingfields Farm in Hampstead, Maryland

Second shooter: Elizabeth Mae Photography

Florist: Steel Cut Flowers

Wedding planner: Union 3 Event Productions (Lindsey Stone)

Hair + Makeup: Behind the Veil

Caterer: Copper Kitchen

Band: Sound Nation

Videographer: In Motion (click on the link to watch their video!)

 

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Independence Seaport Museum Wedding | Liz + Mike | Jennifer Baumann Photography

You guyzzzz! I have been SO bad with blogging… like SOO bad. But with having some downtime this winter, I have gone through and chosen a few weddings that I wanted to share with you from the last two years.

Liz + Mike’s wedding at the Seaport Museum was one of my favorites from 2015. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not at all a city girl. However, the Seaport Museum is easy to get to and is in a pretty area of the Philly, so I didn’t mind one bit! πŸ™‚ I have known Liz for a long time because we went to the same high school. She is an absolute sweetheart and is drop dead gorgeous (obvi)!! So when she contacted me about being her wedding photographer, I was REALLY excited to say the least. As soon as I met Mike, I felt like I had known him for years. The two of them are all kinds of cute together and had me laughing so hard at their engagement session.

Their wedding was super sweet and heartfelt. I definitely teared up at multiple moments during the day. The first of those moments was when Liz’s Dad saw her for the first time. Oh.My.Word. Father /daughter first looks give me allllll the feels.

I hope you enjoy their wedding story! Liz + Mike – I heart you both! Thank you so much for letting me capture your day!

Second shooter – Samantha Hatfield of Samantha Jay Photography

Venue – Independance Seaport Museum

Flowers – Flowers & Co.

Caterer – Catering By Design

Hair + Makeup – Taffeta Design

The Band – The Strangers

 

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Oliver’s birth story | Birth Photography | Jennifer Baumann Photography

Last Tuesday at 6:28 pm, I witnessed and captured a miracle.

A little background… Brown and I went to the same high school. He is a few years older than I am and if you were to tell me in high school that one day I would photograph the birth of his third child, I would have thought you were totally insane. However through the beauty of Facebook, his wife and I connected a few years ago. She is a beautiful mom, model, and photographer! I photographed their family just after their second child, Liam was born a couple of years ago. It is always a ‘someone pinch me’ moment for me when I get the opportunity to photograph a special time in someone’s life that I have known for so long.

Brown asked me a few months ago about doing a maternity session for them. The timing for that didn’t end up working out, but when Stephanie asked me if I had any interest in doing birth photography for their third child, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. Photographing a birth is something that I have only wanted to do since giving birth to Bryn just over 2 years ago. Before that moment, I was PETRIFIED of birth. I would tell everyone that I was birth-a-phobic! Honestly… I thought I would just die in the hospital bed as I was giving birth, that is how scared I was of it!! So when that didn’t happen (Thank GOD), I could appreciate what an amazing miracle it truly is.

Ever since then, I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along to photograph a birth. I love telling stories through photographs and what better story to tell than this one? The story of a husband supporting his wife in any way that he can as she experiences the pain and the roller coaster of emotions as she delivers their baby. The story of siblings meeting for the first time. There is no more emotional or engaging story than the story of a birth.

I got a text from Stephanie at 2:03pm on Tuesday that said, her ultrasound that morning showed that her fluid was a little low and they wanted her to head to the hospital to have the baby. I arrived at the hospital close to 5:00pm and found Stephanie and Brown walking the halls. I know Stephanie is a model, but Dear Lord this woman looked incredible just an hour and 28 minutes prior to giving birth! Actually who am I kidding, she looked incredible the entire time! πŸ™‚ Soon after I arrived, the doctor came in and broke her water. Ouuucccchhhh! Not gonna lie, I had some sympathy pain happening at this point.. He then told her to walk the halls if she felt up to it. A little after 6:00 she and Brown took to the halls and she was smiling and of course looking amazing in between contractions when she would just hold on to Brown and breath through it. At 6:20 she was texting the sitter. At 6:22, she was screaming for a nurse to help her back to the room, something was happening. As soon as she got back to the room, the nurses could tell that this was not just a bad contraction, this was the real deal. The doctor came in immediately and not even two pushes later, Oliver Price Vincent was born at 6:28pm!! To say that everyone was in shock and that it was totally chaotic would be an understatement! I rememberΒ the look of shock and awe on Brown’s face as he held Stephanie’s hand. He was her rock. I was in a state of shock myself that this was happening so quickly but I think I was in ‘work mode’ and just focused on what I was there to do and that was to capture this little guy’s birth. Oh and I didn’t mention that Steph did not have any drugs… Yea so she is pretty much a rock star and deserves a really amazing push present…Brown… πŸ˜‰

The whole experience was just incredible. It is really something special to witness a birth. One second he is safely inside his mommy’s belly and the next second he is out in the world… Breathing the same air as we are, looking his parent’s faces, hearing their voices, sucking his tiny fingers, and probably wondering what the heck is this lady doing here with this huge camera in his face…

Stephanie and Brown, I cannot thank you enough for trusting me to capture Oliver’s birth. It was an incredible experience for me and one that I will never forget. I hope that you can show him this photos one day and he will understand why he may have the nickname of ‘bullet’. πŸ™‚ You are such incredible parents and Emma, Liam, and Oliver are truly blessed.

 

Here is the visual story of Oliver Price Vincent’s arrival…

 

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Dear Daughter | On your 2nd Birthday…

My sweetest girl,

Today you turn 2 years old. TWO. I can’t believe it. Before I became your mom, every parent would say to me, “once you have kids time flies by.” Those words are the truest words ever spoken. I feel like it was just yesterday that I laid my eyes on your beautiful face for the first time.

In just two short years you have grown up SO much. You amaze your Dad and I every day with your comedic personality, your sharp mind, and your gentle heart.

I pray that you always know just how much Daddy and I LOVE you. You are our world and no matter what happens in your life, we will ALWAYS be here for you and will support you. Sometimes I want to put you in a bubble to protect you from any physical and emotional wounds that you may experience one day. The world we live in is a scary place right now. But unfortunately they make no such bubble. I know I need to walk the thin line of protecting you from the world and exposing you to it. As your Mommy, that is a hard pill to swallow. I won’t always be able to protect you from heartache or pain that you will encounter, but I will ALWAYS be here to mend your wounds.

I love that I now live life through your pure + innocent eyes. You see the joy in everything. You get SO happy when you spot any animal, even a tiny caterpillar! You squeal with delight when you taste ice cream or when you set foot in the cold water of your baby pool. You can’t wait to get home from an errand to kiss and hug your puppies even though you just saw them an hour ago. You would hold me and snuggle me all day long if you could… even while I am driving as you now always ask me… “Mommy I hold you!”Β  Your eyes light up when you see a straw at a restaurant that you can unwrap! You think that a rainy day is the best day every because it is like a huge sprinkler that you can dance in! From the simple everyday things to the big events, you find the joy in them all. I pray that you always keep that sense of finding the good in everyone and everything. You are the greatest gift that I have ever been given and treasure every moment I spend with you. I am so grateful that God chose your Dad and I as your parents.

Happiest of birthdays my precious girl. I am SO excited to see what this next year holds for you. You are going to do great things in your life, I just know it!

Love you to the moon and back and more than all the stars in the sky!

Mommy

 

2 years ago you joined our family, making it the best day of our lives.

2016-06-07_00012016-06-07_00022016-06-07_00032016-06-07_0033One year ago… You still looked like a baby.2016-06-07_00042016-06-07_0005Today… What a big girl! As you can see from these photos, at only 2 years old, you have quite a personality!!2016-06-07_00062016-06-07_0007“Here ya go Mom!”2016-06-07_0008Hmmmm… soooooo….2016-06-07_00092016-06-07_00102016-06-07_00112016-06-07_0012You often sit like this… my tiny froggy. πŸ™‚2016-06-07_00132016-06-07_00142016-06-07_0015I have a feeling that I will be seeing a lot more of this, ‘are we done yet’ face in the coming years!2016-06-07_00162016-06-07_0017Who needs toys when you have rocks to play with? You are your Daddy’s girl!2016-06-07_00182016-06-07_00192016-06-07_00202016-06-07_00212016-06-07_00222016-06-07_0023Here it is… you have always had the very best smile and when I capture that true ‘Bryn smile’, my heart does a happy dance!2016-06-07_00242016-06-07_00252016-06-07_0026I put the ‘Gymbo’ song on from your Gymboree class which is what got you to dance. Here you are doing ‘peek-a-boo’!2016-06-07_00272016-06-07_0028“Blow kisses Mommy!”2016-06-07_0029You were pretending to sleep during the ‘sleep’ part of the Gymbo song. This is one of my favorite photos of you.2016-06-07_00302016-06-07_0031Such a good dancer! You get that from me… πŸ˜‰ Just kidding.2016-06-07_0032

Sandy SgroJune 9, 2016 - 12:53 pm

Amazing photographs! The letter is something that Bryn will treasure forever.

S O C I A L   M E D I A