When to Take Newborn Photos – A Parent’s Guide

When should I schedule my newborn photos?

Let’s talk about when to take newborn photos

Expecting a baby is such an exciting time in new parents’ lives, and taking newborn photos is probably high on your priority list! What you may not know is when to take newborn photos.

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 new parents-to-be 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 I am here to answer all the questions you may have!

Ideally, you should lock in a session date for your newborn session as early as the end of your second trimester, or in the beginning of your first trimester.

Why should you book at this time?

Most newborn photographers (myself included), only have a certain number of days per month allocated to newborn sessions. The reason is that we have to account for the unpredictable nature of babies’ arrivals in tandem with our other sessions.

But also:

  • 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.

Booking your Session

Once you decide to book your session, 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 age for photographing newborns?

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.

This timeframe allows for the standard hospital stay and a few days for parents and baby to get accustomed to each other’s new life.

sailor themed newborn session, when is the best time to take newborn photos

Sometimes, parents schedule their newborn sessions later because they simply don’t know it should be done earlier. Which brings me to this:

My baby was already born, can I still book newborn photos?

It is totally understandable that life gets in the way of things, and the anticipation of your baby’s arrival takes priority over many things. Even if your baby is already here, you should still reach out to your photographer to see if he or she can fit you in.

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.

Is my baby too old for newborn photos?

My baby is more than two weeks old, 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.
  • Cultural reasons

Can you still photograph an older newborn?

Photographing a baby beyond the two week mark, is possible.

Although the majority of newborn photographers won’t go past the 2 week mark, the good news is, yes, a newborn can still be photographed after the two week mark. 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.

A newborn-style session can be achieved with babies up to a month old.

However, you can expect your photographer to modify styling and posing beyond the two week mark.

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.

I always tell clients that every baby is different. Some month old babies behave better than some newborns, and some are awake the entire time. It may be more challenging with an older baby at times, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have beautiful images of your baby and family. Is it still possible to achieve some of these poses with older babies? Certainly, if they are sleepy babies. Every baby is different!

The following babies were all photographed at between 3 and 6 weeks old.

An older baby may be awake for a bigger chunk of your newborn session, and we will adjust accordingly while posing.

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!

the best time to take newborn photos

How long is a newborn session?

You can expect your newborn photography session on average to be about 4 hours long.

Why do newborn photos take so long?

Baby’s comfort is of utmost importance during their newborn photos, so we must factor in changing, feeding, and soothing times. It may seem like a long session, but the majority of the time is spent focusing on baby’s needs. A solely baby session, will be shorter than a session including parents and other siblings.

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, for 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!

Final words

If you were unsure of when to take newborn photos before you found this article, I hope this information helps. Make sure to book your newborn session before you deliver to ensure a timely session. 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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