Parents always ask when is the best time to take newborn photos. Today I will show you and talk you through different stages of newborn photos within the first 6 weeks.
In a short answer, I always say that to me there is no such thing as a perfect age when newborn photos should be taken. I see a lot on newborn photographers websites statements that your photos should be taken within XYZ days. I can’t stress parents thinking that they have to come for the shoot within first 7 or so days. Every baby is different and every family has different levels of confidence/knowledge. Let’s debunk this myth.
I started to offer newborn photoshoots over 10 years and over these years I have noticed various success in timings when to take newborn photos. Will talk from my personal experience. Remember that each newborn baby will have individual circumstances so don’t take everything here for granted.
What could affect the timing of newborn photo shoot?
The date when your baby arrives.
If your baby arrives say 3 weeks prior the due date, it might be that you will need to spend a little longer in the hospitals NICU for doctors to do all check-ups. Also, with early arrivals, I tend to give a family a little more time. I normally would photograph these babies from week 2. If your baby arrives 2 weeks past the due date, I would try to do the session as early as I can. As the baby has continued to grow, it might be that baby has reached close to 10lb size and once here might start to become more alert sooner. So these babies I try to photograph within the first two weeks.
This might be a somewhat controversial topic, but I will share my own experience.
I always ask parents about what type of feeding method they have chosen. In most cases, it would be breastfeeding. This conversation normally takes place a few days after the baby’s birth. So everything is still early stages.
If parents have chosen to breastfeed, great, I would then advise making a provisional newborn photoshoot booking at around 2 weeks. I would touch base with parents at around 10 days and see how are they progressing. By this point, the midwife has visited you a few times and you know if a newborn baby is gaining weight or losing it. You also will feel how is your breastfeeding going.
If all well, great, we book in the shoot at around 14-16 days. If your midwife is advising to do some bottle top-ups, I would give you a couple more days to adjust to this and test out how the formula feeds.
If you choose straight away to go for bottle-feeding, then I would schedule the session for around 8 days age. Bottle feeding is something that I can control during the photo session as well and we can always top up if needed.
Here is a perfect example of doing the newborn session a bit later and waiting for the family to adjust to breastfeeding and life in general.
Earlier I was talking about feeding. This goes hand in hand with how confident you are as a parent. If this is your first baby, most likely you will need some time to adjust here and learn. If this is your 3rd or 4rth child, it would make a huge difference in how you feed your baby, how you set your routine etc. So breastfeeding probably would go much easier and that would mean I could schedule a session with you sooner too.
Weight of the baby.
If your baby has arrived very early prior due date or you have twins. In both of these cases babies normally are very tiny. We are talking around 5lb. Since baby is so small, you have a much longer window for getting baby photos done.
There is no need to rush within the first 7 days to do a baby photoshoot. I would wait till baby gains more weight, like around 6lb and then schedule the session. The session would take place around 3-4 weeks time. Babies would still be very sleepy and easy to mould into the positions.
Advantages of taking newborn photos within the first 2 weeks.
Your baby would be smaller and depending on the weight it might be easier to mould them into the positions. In terms of sleep, I would very much argue this as I have photographed 3 days new newborns and none of them has slept very well. I have more sleep success with newborns from day 7.
Is it possible to take newborn photos after 3 weeks?
Absolutely! In fact, after 3 weeks stage, you will be much more confident and life will be settling in. What you need to bear in mind, is if your baby arrived past the due date, we might have half of the gallery with more awake photos. Some poses are not possible with awake wriggle babies.
3 weeks newborn session definitely can be amazing and I have no problem photographing this age group.
How about the age of 4+ weeks?
We are talking here 4-6 weeks. This is where things might start to get a bit more tricky. If babies have arrived on the due date or past due date, chances are that photo session might be quiet awake. It all depends on what would be your expectations here. If you are after sleepy, moulding poses, I would say it will be 50/50 that we will have them, but if you are after some awake photos and simply beautiful newborn photography with parents, the perfect age for this.
6 weeks would be kind of my cut off stage what I would be calling newborn photography stage. The next stage when I would say you have a good chance of posed newborn photos would be around 12 weeks when babies roll on their tummies.
If you are after more lifestyle natural baby photography then stage between 6-12 is perfect for that. You can see here home session I did with 7 weeks baby.
Hope this post has calmed you down a bit and there should be not so much worry of perfect age for newborn photos now. I would say the perfect time is when you and baby are ready for it. It all depends on what are your goals from this session and how you would like your photos to look like.