In a perfect situation, a soon-to-be parent would contact me in their second trimester, or early in their third, and would book the session. We would reserve the babies due date and the parents would contact me after they deliver. With in the next 14 days the family would come in to the studio or I would come to their home for their newborn session. We would meet 3-5 days later, place the order and have everything up in their home two weeks after their ordering date. We would then book the baby plan and schedule a sitter, one year and an 18 month session to create an amazing art piece for the family.
But we all know that life rarely goes as planned. Sometimes babies need to stay in the hospital longer than normal. Mom may need more time off after delivery. Babies who enter families through adoption do not typically do so until 6 weeks and that should never mean that you forgo the first portrait. Maybe the parents didn’t know they wanted newborn portraits… or maybe they just didn’t want that newborn age documented.
Instead of talking about what age you can photograph newborns at, let’s talk about what different stages may look like and what you can expect. Because we can photograph babies at any age!
In the first two weeks baby will be flexible and like to mimic positions from in the womb. They will not have peeling skin or baby acne yet. They generally sleep well if the pre-session prep is followed and they love to be swaddled.
If you are reading this before your baby is born and your want portraits with that fresh newborn skin, tiny features and super flexible poses then call and book your session ASAP to guarantee a spot and have all the preparations in order.
I would still consider the 3-5 week period to be a ‘newborn’ portrait. They still love a good swaddle and even though they are not quite as flexible they will still often easily allow us to pose them in some more traditional newborn poses such as their hands under their chin. Anything more would be determined by the baby and what they feel comfortable doing.
Older babies have a little more pudge and rolls. They often sleep really well if they arrive on a full belly and the prep guide has been followed.
At 6 weeks they start to loose that newborn look, are awake more and are beginning to develop their personality. They make eye contact and have sweet expressions which we will focus on during the session. At this age your baby will heavily guide our session.
Typically by this age they will not be able to be posed in any curled up newborn poses nor will they fit on the traditional newborn props and sets. They will however still fit in our basket set ups for a sweet close up. We commonly can get one of them sleeping near the end of the session after being worn out and swaddled.
Remember, just because you miss what has been marked today as the ‘perfect newborn portrait window,’ does not mean you do not take portraits. A portrait has no time constraints. It documents that specific time in your life and your babies life. Every moment is special. Take the portrait at any time that is perfect for you.
YES! Absolutley. You make your own rules. Everyone on your mailing list will be excited to receive a photo of the newest addition 4 weeks or 4 months after they arrive. They are just happy to have a card to put up on their fridge!
Are you past the new baby phase? Click below to read about the ages and stages to photograph during babies first year, 3 months and older.