What is the best age for photographing newborns?
Parents inquiring about a newborn session always ask when the best age to take newborn photos is. This is a natural part of the conversation since they haven’t had this experience before! Many times parents think that newborn sessions take place when the baby is one or two months old! (And yes, sometimes for cultural reasons, baby sessions do take place at this time). So knowing when you should actually take newborn photos is important!
The most common answer you’ll see is:
The best age to take newborn photos is 7-10 Days, or generally before the 2 week mark
Why, you ask?
Before the two week mark, babies are still quite snuggly and comfortable in those more curled up positions. They are also sleeping for longer stretches of time, and aren’t so aware of their limbs yet. They haven’t realized, “hey! these things move and stretch!”. They’ll still also be quite cozy, and often prefer, those neat little cocooned hot potato wrap poses!
Bottom line is, the younger the baby is, the more naturally they will fall into the poses we typically reference as “newborn” poses. With that said, this is a guideline where MOST babies will do the best during these sessions.
During this time frame you generally also will avoid baby acne, which tends to develop after the 2 week mark. Baby acne can last from a few days to a few weeks and often requires extensive skin retouching to correct.
Sometimes, parents schedule their newborn sessions later because they simply don’t know it should be done earlier. Which brings me to this:
When should I schedule my newborn photos?
You should seriously consider locking in a session date for your newborn session in the middle to end of your second trimester. This way you’ll be sure of a few things:
- It is one less thing you have to do in the myriad of things you have to prepare for before babies arrival
- You will have had time to do your research on your favorite baby photographer and what each photographer will provide you in terms of experience and final product.
- You will have ample time to think about the color schemes and props you’d like to use, and look at reference photos and inspiration for your baby’s session and your first photos as a family.
Once you decide to book your session with Sofia Ribeiro Photography, the scheduling process is a little bit different than our normal booking in regards to the date. Your due date is placed on my calendar, and once baby is here we schedule accordingly. As we know, baby’s arrival can vary greatly based on when he or she decides they want to arrive!
Do not hold off on booking your session until after delivery and come across one of these scenarios:
- Your favorite photographer is booked
- No one is available for that timeframe
- You have to settle for someone whose work is not your favorite just for the sake of having something.
What is the best time of day to take newborn photos?
The best time of day to photograph newborns is during the morning hours when babies are still relatively relaxed and calm. Babies tend to sleep more during these hours too. As the day wears on, babies tend to become overstimulated and fussier because of this and may end up being awake more.
My baby is past the 14 day mark, does that mean I can’t do newborn photos anymore?
There is always an exception to the rule. I have photographed plenty of babies beyond the 10-14 day mark. There is a variety of reasons for this, including, but not limited to:
- Baby was born early, or prematurely. We can use an adjusted age range for their session, especially if they are born very early and in the Nicu.
- Baby has a health issue that has to resolve before being safely handled for a session.
- Parents didn’t plan ahead and reach out to a photographer after baby has already arrived, and we schedule based on availability.
Can you still photograph an older newborn?
The good news is, yes! However, The older the baby, the less they will behave like a newborn. As babies spend more time out of the womb and discover their limbs, they will like to stretch out more, not curl up into certain positions, AND sleep less/be more alert. This may limit what we can achieve in terms of posing and props. However, we will adapt for each situation.
I have photographed plenty of babies between the two and four week mark for various reasons. I just make sure to level set expectations with new parents as to what is achievable for these older babies. Typically we will focus on either more wrapped posing, or more natural lie-down poses as baby may not be as comfortable in more of the fetal, curled up positions. The wrapping helps them to feel cozier, fall asleep, and feel a little bit like they are back in the womb.
Is it still possible to achieve some of these poses with older babies? Certainly, if they are sleepy babies. Every baby is different!
Are parents and siblings included in newborn sessions?
My answer is always a resounding YES. These are your first images as a new family, and 100% of my families always choose parent and sibling images as part of their final gallery. Sometimes even more of the family images than baby solo!
Baby Safety During Newborn Sessions
Your baby’s safety should always be the number one priority during a session. There are no regulations for photography, so anyone can take photos of anyone. But please, fo your newborn’s photos, choose someone who has handled babies before, and specializes in newborn photography. Just because your sister has a camera, or even your wedding photographer is a professional, doesn’t mean they know how to, or can photograph babies. Baby photographers have a special sort of patience for these sessions, and have had LOTS of experience, training, and are conscientious of baby’s needs and the safety of posing your infant.
I will never force a baby into any position that they have shown to be uncomfortable in or not prefer. I don’t do the pose with baby on hands. Even as a composite, there are inherent risks to certain poses, and things that are not natural to an infant’s body. As far as props, your baby should never be really hanging from anything, ever.
As a mom of two, I never compromise on this. These are our most precious humans!
What props should I use for a newborn session? Do you include props?
I have a range of appropriately sized props and wardrobe available for newborns. Prior to our session we will discuss and coordinate the colors that you prefer to use for your session, family wardrobe for the family portraits portion, and any special things you may want to incorporate, or relevant themes.
All of my newborn wardrobe offerings are made specifically to fit this newborn stage! Regular “newborn” sized clothing is not fitted to baby’s body and will often be bulky and hide the baby’s form. If you have an heirloom piece you’d like to incorporate, we can discuss this during this time.
Otherwise, you don’t have to worry about anything as far as wardrobe for mom, baby, and siblings (for girls, depending on their size and coordination to other family looks, and select knits and smaller toddler sizes in boys!).
Make sure to book your newborn session before you deliver to ensure a timely session! Also be sure to consider what your chosen photographer has to offer, baby safety, the final products. and of course, that you love their work!
Hopefully this answers your question on the best time to take newborn photos, and a few other points to make your decision easier! To keep up with the latest, please be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!
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