McKenna’s Lifestyle Newborn Session

Nashville Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

I was so excited to meet McKenna and photograph her lifestyle newborn session. In May, I met her wonderful parents at their Maternity Portrait Session. I often get questions about my newborn portrait sessions, so I thought I would take a minute to answer some of them now.

Q: What is lifestyle newborn?

Lifestyle photography can be described as being in between documentary photography and traditional portrait photography. In documentary photography, the photographer is a fly on the wall and only captures what happens naturally. For traditional portrait photography, the photographer controls everything, right down to very specific posing (“put your chin just so”). In lifestyle photography, the photographer tries to capture scenes that would unfold naturally in real life. But unlike a documentary photographer who just waits on the action, we guide clients so that we can get a variety of real moments in an hour or two. At a lifestyle family session, I might ask you to stand in the pretty light and have a tickle fight. This is something that may happen in your real life, but I’ve helped it along by putting you in a good spot and giving you an activity to do.

At a newborn session, this means that I will capture photos of the baby in her own environment, in ways that could have happened naturally. I love photos of the baby in her nursery, and in the arms of her parents. This means that I do not have a bean bag chair like a traditional portrait newborn photographer would have. There isn’t a lot of posing baskets, fancy wraps, or babies hanging from trees Anne Geddes style. Nothing against that style, it’s just not what I do.

Q: What should we wear?

For mom & dad, I recommend something you are comfortable in, that won’t distract too much from the baby. Neutrals are a great choice, but colors can work well too. I love the purple mom is wearing in the photos below. Just keep in mind the colors that will be in the background. For example, the yellow and blue mom and dad are wearing here work great in the colorful nursery. I like to remind moms to keep in mind that they would have just had a baby, so something loose-fitting and flowing is a good choice as they recover.

For the baby, this is largely a matter of personal preference, but I think simple is best. One thing to know about newborns is that they pretty much never fill out their clothes. So while a dress might be cute, it’s probably going to look too big and floppy and swallow her up. Words are also hard to read unless the baby is lying just so. My personal favorite for a newborn is a plain short sleeve onesie, with wraps and swaddle blankets. Little baby pants are cute too and come in some fun patterns.

I bring a few plain onesies and blankets with me in case you need them, as well as a few small bows and hats. The green and orange blankets below are mine, as is the colorful quilt with the orange in it and the small bow she’s wearing in that photo.

Q: Where do you take the photos?

This can vary by house. The first thing I do when I get to a newborn session is to take a look around at the options. One thing I am especially looking for is natural light, but I also carry a flash in cases there isn’t enough window light. Some of my favorite spots to shoot are in the nursery, in mom and dad’s room, and in the living room.

I stress to clients that they should not worry about cleaning the house before I come….they just had a baby after all. But what can help is if they have a few uncluttered spots in mind before I come. For example, have the nightstand clear of distractions if you think the master bedroom might be a good spot. Also, you never know what might strike me as a good spot so don’t spend too much time on this.

For example, one of my favorite photos below is towards the end where dad is holding his baby girl on his lap and she’s holding his pinky finger. That was just in the dining room. It had lovely window light so I had dad sit in a chair there and just shot down at him so you didn’t see the kitchen behind him. I point that out because sometimes the simplest spots are the best. But also, I was in love with this colorful nursery, so that is fun too.

One thing I love is to include anything that tells the story of the family and baby. For example, the quilt towards the end of this set, with the hankie, was made by McKenna’s Great Grandmother for her Grandmother. How cool is that?


Did I miss anything? What questions do you have about newborn photography?

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Spring Hill Family Photographer – Perfect Session to finish the Season

Spring Hill TN Family Photographer extended family session

I am so happy that we FINALLY got to shoot this beautiful family portrait session. This family is one of my favorite clients. It had been way too long since I’d seen them. We had originally scheduled this Spring Hill Family photo session for last fall. I don’t even remember why we had to reschedule. I think someone was sick. Take two was supposed to be in the Spring, but then COVID happened and everything was shut down. We decided to reschedule for this fall, which then turned to winter. But I think things turned out for the best because I am in love with the portrait session we finally ended up shooting.

Nana and Pop Pop’s backyard was a perfect spot for the photo session. I LOVE the pops of red in the clothing. It was so festive and colorful. And the sun set just behind their backyard, which was the perfect backdrop. To me, light is always the most important part of a photo location, and the light here was beautiful. But more than anything, I loved capturing the sweet interactions between family members. Aren’t these cousins just the cutest?

This was the perfect way to end the portrait season. I absolutely love my job, but I am honestly ready for a break, particularly from the constant editing that comes with the fall photographer busy season. This was the perfect family session to end that season.

For those of you who have been asking, I am sorry but I am all done with Santa Mini Sessions this year. I did love doing them outside, so I will be thinking about what to do next year. Also, I am ready to start booking 2021 photo sessions, so contact me if you are interested. If you are concerned about booking a winter session, please know that I’m quite flexible in the winter. So if were to book a session in January for example, and it turns out to be really cold and unbearable, I can usually reschedule. You know how the weather is in Tennessee – if you don’t like it, just wait a few days and it could change.

I would love it if you could follow me on Instagram. That’s a great place to keep up to date on future openings. Also, you can book a session directly from my online booking calendar, or contact me if you have questions.

40th Birthday Cake Smash

40th birthday cake smash photo session

Happy 40th birthday to my wonderful friend, Emily! I had such a fun time photographing this 40th birthday cake smash photo session for her a couple of weeks ago. Emily, I hope you have an amazing day filled with lots of beautiful memories.

My Adventures in Video | Nashville Family Photographer

Nashville Family Photographer - family of four

When Ashley first contacted me about this at-home family portrait session, she said that she had found me just by googling Nashville Family Photographer, and liked the work on my website. But she wanted to know if I could shoot a session at their home. My answer was “absolutely”! I love photographing families in places that mean something to them.

Ashely wanted a daytime session that would work for baby Jack’s schedule. Her back yard was the perfect spot and offered plenty of shade for a morning session. The trees were absolutely gorgeous and I fell in love with Emilia’s tree swing. It looked like something you would find in a fairy garden.

So for a while, I’ve wanted to try adding video to my services, but I don’t have much experience in doing it. For some time, I’d wanted to try to add a few videos to a session, but needed to find the right opportunity. First, I didn’t want to feel like I was in a race with the light, and since this was a daytime session, I felt I had a little more wiggle room on the time, so I could take a little extra time at each spot to get the photos I normally would, and then take a video or two.

Second, I needed it to be a small family with young children. I have done a few bigger families and extended sessions lately and definitely didn’t feel confident adding something extra to those. But with a small family, there is usually more time during a session since there are not lots of combinations of people to include in the shots. I wanted young children because those sessions are just naturally more active and a good fit for capturing movement.

So anyway, I didn’t tell the family I was shooting video because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or if I would even include it. But I played around with them today and think they turned out OK. I definitely want to practice more and maybe eventually add this on as an additional option for clients.

Are these not the cutest kids ever? The session was so much fun and I love reliving that fun through the videos. Emelia’s laugh is just the most beautiful music.

In case the video moved to quickly for you, here are some of the images in my usual format:

Are you following me on Instagram? That’s a great place to keep up to date on future openings. I have a couple spots left for my Holiday Family Mini Sessions. Or are you looking for a senior photographer? Either way, you can book a session directly from my online booking calendar, or contact me if you have questions.

Family of 3 Summer Photo Session | Spring Hill Baby Photographer

“Does she realize she looks like a sunflower, ready to rain sunlight on all who look down upon her?”

Simone Elkeles

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one-year-old Ada and her family. I was a gorgeous day for a summer family portrait session, and the heat was totally reasonable. Kayla decided to have the photo session at their Spring Hill home, and I’m so glad she did. They have a beautiful backyard that was just right for a family portrait session. And it allowed the family’s sweet pets to get in on the action.

Summer is almost over and now is the time to book your Fall family portrait session. I have recently added fall dates to my calendar. Unlike last year, I’m going to spread the sessions out more and let clients decide on a location (though I will happily help you choose a good fit for your family). You can see open dates and book one now on my online booking calendar. Don’t wait to book yours. These session will sell out.