When is the right time for newborn photos? I get asked about the timing for newborn shoots constantly- is it too late? Is my baby too old?
The answer is- there is no wrong time!
But really, when should we have newborn photos taken?
Pre-Covid, many newborn photographers would tell you somewhere in the 6-21 day range for ideal timing. And while this remains true for those curly, sleepy newborn photos, that doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful photos taken when baby is a little older.
And you know what- I think a lot of photographers are discovering that 6-8week olds sometimes do even better than those 6 day olds!
What’s the Difference?
The biggest differences you’ll see between a 6 day old and a 6 week old is alertness and flexibility. Here are the pros and cons-
6 Day old Pros:
A 6 day old often sleeps soundly for hours, allowing multiple poses to be captured back to back. Their bones are still soft and flexible, allowing them to curl into tight womb shaped balls. They’re as tiny as they will ever be and you can capture the newness of all they features before they begin to add on the pounds and grow before your very eyes.
6 Day old Cons:
Often times a 6 day old is still establishing a feeding schedule and consistency. There may be tongue tie issues or reflux and food sensitivities that haven’t been discovered yet, making them uncomfortable and hard to settle.
6 week old Pros:
A 6 week old has an established feeding schedule (usually!) and at times even a consistent sleeping pattern. They’re making eye contact and sometimes even smiling for real. Instead of just sleepy baby pictures, you can expect to also capture baby’s personality shining through these more alert moments.
6 week old Cons:
A 6 week old generally doesn’t appreciate being disturbed, moved or repositioned after they’ve fallen asleep, so studio poses like the one seen above may no longer be possible. They’re not as flexible as they were just a few weeks ago so those tight womb poses are probably out as well.
Every baby is different.
All of these things being said, every baby is different! Some babies sleep soundly in the studio no matter their age while others are unwilling participants.
Which brings me to my next important tip:
I encourage all of my clients to have a really good idea of the type of images they want for their baby, whether that’s a more relaxed lifestyle newborn photo session or a heavily posed traditional studio newborn photo session. But like all things in life as a parent, it’s important to manage your expectations. We’re going to do everything we can to get great variety in your gallery and capture all of your baby’s teeny tiny details.
Understand that you may want a photo of your baby sleeping soundly in a white lace teepee with pinks and greens to match her nursery and she may say “um, no thanks mom” and scream bloody murder every time we turn her to her belly. (yes, this happened to a recent client)
Just because we didn’t get that image, doesn’t mean we can’t get other great ones. Don’t be discouraged. We practice baby-led posing (for more info click to visit a blog post we wrote about this!) and allow our tiny clients to dictate how the session is going to go. We never force babies into positions they’re not comfortable in and always keep your baby safe. No matter their age.