When to take Newborn photos

Sep 20, 2022

When is the best time to hold a newborn photography session?

Discussing When to Take Newborn Photos

What an exciting and memorable time!  You are expecting a new little bundle of joy, and you’re preparing for baby’s first professional photography session to document this special time in his or her life.  Perhaps baby has already arrived and you’re wondering when to take newborn photos.  Well here are all of the answers you’ll need!

When to Take Newborn Photos

When should I book my baby’s newborn photo session?

Should you book while still expecting or after baby’s arrival?

In a perfect world, you should be booking your baby’s newborn photography session while you’re still expecting, but life gets in the way and sometimes that doesn’t always happen, and that’s ok!  Ideally, you’ll want to book in your third trimester.  Why?  Because many professional newborn photographers reserve only so many days per week to photograph newborns, and you want to make sure that your photographer has room for you.  It’s totally understandable if you might have put this off during your pregnancy and now baby has already arrived and you’re ready to book your newborn photographer.  If baby is already here, like even if baby is just 20 minutes new, book your photographer ASAP!  Here’s why…

What poses can my 4 week old newborn do

How old should my newborn be for the newborn photography session?

Is there a best time to take newborn photos?

When to take newborn photos?  There’s no exact age but the general rule of thumb if looking to achieve those curly, snuggly, sleepy newborn poses, is to hold your newborn session within those first two weeks of life.

I always suggest aiming to hold our newborn session around days 8-10.  Here’s why I like that age:  Days 1-4 are reserved for hospital or birthing center time, and the transition home.  Babies born via C-section might need to stay in the hospital for a day or two longer than a V birth baby.  Occasionally, newborns may need to stay an extra day or two in the case of having high levels of jaundice, extra monitoring, etc.  Once baby has been brought home, I like to leave a few days for new parents to get settled into their new routine with their new tiny human.  Meanwhile, this first week of life allows baby and parents to figure out feedings.  By this time, mom and baby can get accustomed to a general (and likely temporary) feeding routine, understanding cues and behaviors.  Meanwhile, baby is generally still quite sleepy and curly, as they slowly awaken from their time in the womb.  This will be the case for about the first two weeks of life.  After two weeks, baby begins to wake up, so the perfect window, in my professional opinion, is definitely halfway through that second week of life.

When is the best time to take newborn photos

Is two weeks old too late for newborn photos?

Can posed newborn photos still be achieved with an oder newborn?

No!  Like I explained, newborns are sleepiest and curliest during those first two weeks of life as they are fresh out of their cozy wombs, slowly adjusting to life outside the womb.  So ideally, those first two weeks are the prime time for a posed newborn photography session.  However, newborn sessions can absolutely be held at or after two weeks.  Just remember that after two weeks, newborns tend to ‘wake up’ and have longer periods of being awake and alert, so your newborn session will be adjusted accordingly to accommodate for a more awake newborn after 2+ weeks.  Newborn sessions can be held with great success up to about six weeks, with modifications, of course.  So when wondering when to take newborn photos, please keep this in consideration.

Photos of newborn photography session in San Diego

What photography poses can my older newborn do?

Older newborns (2-6 ish week old babies) can still do many of the same poses as a younger newborn (2 weeks or younger), but with modifications.  As newborns get older, they begin to have more awake and alert time, have put on a little bit of weight and and begin to become a little less ‘curly’.  Your professional newborn photographer will know exactly which poses to modify to make sure your baby is safe and comfortable at all times.  In general, older newborns may not be ‘squished’ into those curly shots as much, as they will prefer to have a little more room to stretch.  Let’s take the froggy pose, for example.  For a younger newborn, the feet are easily and comfortably positioned right behind the elbows, touching them.  With older newborns, as their bodies elongate and they’ve begun to put on weight, their feet might not naturally reach the backs of the elbows enough to touch them, leaving a comfortable little gap between the feet and the elbows.  This is just a minor issue but is one to be taken into account by your newborn photographer.

Another issue with older newborns that I have learned over my thirteen years of experience, is that older newborns don’t care to be bothered as much in their sleep.  For me, I LOVE to pay attention to detail, and to get those cute little fingers perfectly aligned and relaxed.  For an older newborn that may naturally prefer keeping their fists closed, gently and patiently trying to open them and lay them in a relaxed manner might be annoying for a little one who just want to take a nap without being bothered.  It takes time, patience and slow movements to work around an older newborn to make sure they are happy and comfortable for the session.

Your older newborn may be awake for a good chunk of your three hour newborn session.  If that is the case, your photographer will accommodate by aiming for alternate poses, such as swaddled and ‘freestyle’ photos, all while aiming to capture some great eye contact or even a little smile or expression.

An older newborn can do most of the poses that a younger newborn can, but with more time to allow for gentle modifications.

maternity and baby photographer in San Diego

How long is a newborn photo session?

Why are newborn photo sessions so long?

Count on your newborn photography session lasting about three hours.  This sounds like a long time, but in reality, it’s the perfect amount of time to make sure baby is always comfortable, fully fed and patiently worked with.  I’d say that a good 90% of those three hours is spent focusing on baby’s needs (feeding, comforting, gently posing) and 10% is actually spent taking photos.  It’s a long process but soooooo worth it!

Newborn Photography Tips

Here are a few things to do to help your newborn photography session run smoothly:

– Begin your newborn photography session with a full belly.  Depending on your proximity to the newborn photography studio, your photographer may ask you to feed before arrival or will allot a good chunk of time upon arrival to feed, so that baby is fully fed, comfortable and sleepy to begin the session.

– Wear light clothing.  The newborn photography studio will be warm (temperature of around 80 degrees) to accommodate a clothless baby and to make sure they don’t get a chill.  The warmth keeps baby comfortable and sleepy but can be hot and sweaty, especially for a new mom who’s hormones can make the heat unbearable.  Wear light clothing to ensure that you don’t get too warm while in the studio.

– Bring a pacifier along.  Many babies may not be hungry, but need to be comforted.  One of the most soothing things for newborns is sucking.  It calms them and allows them to satisfy their instincts while your photography gently poses them.  The best pacifiers for newborns is the Soothie.

– Relax.  Babies can feel your energy, and if you’re stressed, they are stressed too.  Come to the studio ready to relax and enjoy seeing your newborn being cutely posed and photographed.  This is a time to remember!

In conclusion, if you’re wondering when to take newborn photos, the ideal time to hold your session is within those first two weeks of life, but don’t worry if your little one is older – some of my most favorite newborn photos were taken with older newborns!  Ready to book your newborn session?  Message me below!

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