When Should Newborn Photos Be Taken: A Guide for New Parents
Welcoming a newborn into your family is an incredible and emotional experience. From the first time you hold your baby in your arms, you know you want to cherish every single moment of their lives. One way to do that is by taking newborn photos to capture those precious moments forever. But when is the right time to take those photos? In this article, we’ll explore the best time for newborn photos and what you need to know before scheduling a photoshoot.
Newborn photography has become increasingly popular over the years as parents want to capture their baby’s earliest moments. However, many new parents are unsure when the best time to take newborn photos is. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about when to take newborn photos, how to prepare for a photoshoot, and tips for a successful shoot.
Why Newborn Photos are Important
Newborn photos serve as a precious memory of your child’s earliest days. Babies grow and change so quickly, and before you know it, those moments are gone. Capturing those moments through photography allows you to relive them for years to come. They also make great keepsakes and gifts for family and friends. Your precious little one will never be this tiny again!
Timing is Everything: When to Take Newborn Photos
The timing of your newborn photoshoot is crucial. You want to capture your baby at the right stage to ensure you get the best photos possible. Many new parents assume that newborn photos should be taken a few months after baby has arrived, when things have settled down at home, baby is more awake and alert and smiley. Although it is true that baby smiles are the cutest, a true Newborn session should actually happen almost immediately after baby arrives. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to take newborn photos and why it is necessary to have your newborn photos taken so early:
The First 2 Weeks
This is the ideal time to capture your newborn photos. When babies arrive, they are still very very sleepy. Their muscles are not fully developed or strong yet and they are still used to being all curled up, just like they were inside the womb. But, everyday baby grows and strengthens and becomes more aware of the world around them! Their days and nights are mixed up as well… as many sleep deprived parents are aware… after a couple weeks they learn that daytime is for being awake and night time is for sleeping. That first week or so, babies are growing and changing and adjusting so much, it is exhausting, so they sleep a lot… and usually a nice deep sleep.
When you arrive to the studio, usually babies are asleep… because they get into such deep sleeps, I can usually remove them from their car seats, undress and pose them and they often barely wake up. A baby three weeks or older will often become much more sensitive to touch and easily awake at the smallest touch. Why do us photographers want a sleepy baby though? Seeing their eyes open is just the cutest…. Yes, awake calm babies are the cutest! But… brand new newborns that are awake, are usually not calm. lol . The world is overwhelming, they are hungry. their arms and legs are all over the place because they cannot yet control them, their own sudden movements tend to startle them and waken them or make them cry. As your newborn photographer, my style is a posed baby.. meaning, I carefully move, curl and pose your baby in the most flattering ways to be able to capture their sweet little details, show how tiny they are and almost mimic how they were inside Mama’s belly. So when baby is awake and wanting to move, it is actually unsafe. This is why I will not pose an awake baby, unless they are calmly awake and content just watching me. Many of props, although curated and made specifically for newborn photography, are not safe to have a flailing baby in them. As new babies cannot hold themselves sturdy at all.. it is my job to know how to pose them so they are well balanced and supported inside a prop or in certain poses. If your baby is not deep sleeping and totally limp, I will not be able to get them into that comfortable and safe pose. The balancing act is crucial to a safe pose.
The Third Week and Beyond
While it’s still possible to take newborn photos during the third week, it’s not ideal. As I explained above, older babies tend to be more awake and alert during this time, making it harder to get those safe sleepy poses. Additionally, babies may start to develop baby acne or start shedding their skin, which can be difficult to edit out in photos.
Now I do not want this post to discourage you from getting your babies photos if you were unable to get in for a newborn photography session within 14 days. I have had new babies 5-6 weeks old, that still were able to curl up and be sleepy. Often with older babies, we shift the session a tad bit…. if baby is a bit touch sensitive and easily awake, we might have to do more wrapped up baby poses, or a little more “un-posed” than my usual newborn photo sessions. Older babies can be a gamble sometimes, but babies in general can be unpredictable lol. So rest assured, whatever age or state your baby comes into my studio at, I will work hard and I WILL create beautiful images for you to cherish forever! This is what I am trained for!
Preparing for a Newborn Photoshoot
Before your newborn photoshoot, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure the shoot goes smoothly;
Choosing a Photographer
Choosing the right photographer is crucial for a successful newborn photoshoot. Look for a photographer who specializes in newborn photography and has experience working with babies and is trained in the safety of posing babies. Make sure to check out their portfolio to ensure their style aligns with what you want, don’t be afraid to ask the photographer for a full gallery example. We tend to post the best of the best on social media and in our portfolios, so seeing what to expect out of a full gallery can help you decide if you like what that photographer produces, but also help to give an realistic idea of a photoshoot. We see so many different set ups and colors and different angles on social media… but they are often from many different shoots. I cannot speak for every photographer, but at my sessions, we usually do one backdrop style for family photos, then usually about 3 different prop set ups and one or two blanket backdrops on the table. This allows a wonderful array of images to choose from in your gallery, while also being able to limit the session to approx 3 hours. Three hours is the general time it takes to capture a great newborn gallery. Sometime a little less if baby is a super sleeper, sometimes a bit longer if baby needs more feeding/cuddle breaks. I don’t usually allow the session to go over 3.5 hours though, because it becomes to exhausting for the family to wait, but also for baby, because although they sleep through the session, it’s not the same as a nice long nap at home.
How To Schedule Newborn Photo Shoot When You Don’t Know Exactly When Baby Will Be Born?
I cannot speak for all newborn photographers, but I know that many of us have a similar procedure when it comes to booking for newborns. When you book with us, we will mark your due date in our schedules, which will give us a general idea for when we need to be available for your newborn session. However, we won’t actually schedule your photo session date and time until you contact us to let us know the baby has arrived. Once baby is here, we’ll schedule your photo shoot for sometime within the next week or so. There’s no need to worry if baby comes very early or very late. We’re pretty accustomed to their unpredictable arrivals! Once baby has arrived and we have scheduled you in for your session, I will send you a Prep Guide. This will just give some tips and tricks to help prepare you and you family and mostly your newborn to ensure a successful session!
In Studio Newborn Photos, Or In Home Newborn Photos?
When it comes to newborn photography, you have two options for location: at-home or in-studio. I consider myself a studio Photographer. This just means I have a cozy spot that I am used to, with all the items needed to create beautiful newborn photos that match my style that you see in my portfolio. I can control the light and know what I have for backdrops and ambiance. That being said, I do offer to go to clients homes for a more “Lifestyle” newborn photo session, if requested. These in home lifestyle sessions look a bit different, as we use your home and whatever you have as our backdrop. I can bring a prop and a wrap or two, but usually we use things like your bed or baby nursery to capture your family and baby in. They are a bit more relaxed posing, actually I barely “pose” baby at all. We will capture baby in their crib or bassinet… mom and dad snuggling baby on their bed or by a window. Light can be a big deciding factor if your home is ideal for a shoot or not too. But if it is something your interested in, we can chat and I can come for a quick visit to ensure their is ample light and space to achieve the photos you hope for! Whatever style you choose, trust your photographer! I will be with you every step of the way, and if you have any questions or concerns at all, please know I am a open book and will gladly answer them all!
- What if my baby is older than three weeks, can I still take newborn photos?
- While it’s still possible, it becomes more difficult to achieve the classic newborn poses as babies become more alert and active, but we can achieve some gorgeous more relaxed images of baby still!
- How long does a newborn photoshoot usually last?
- A newborn photoshoot can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on the baby’s needs.
- What should I do if my baby is fussy during the shoot?
- Trust me! I have tricks that almost always work and know when to Take a break to soothe your baby and make sure they are comfortable before continuing the shoot.
- Can I take newborn photos myself, or should I hire a professional photographer?
- While it’s possible to take newborn photos yourself, hiring a professional photographer with experience working with babies can ensure the best results for high quality and carefully curated Images!
- What should my baby wear for the photoshoot?
- I have everything needed for baby in the studio! Wraps, outfits, hats, headbands and more. If you have a special item you want baby to wear, we can definitely incorporate it into the shoot, but otherwise, you don’t need to stress about baby clothing.