If you’re new to newborn photography, you might be wondering… At what age should newborn photos be done, and how do I schedule this with my clients, when due dates are never a sure thing?
You may have heard that some photographers don’t photograph newborns older than two weeks. While it may be considered ideal within those first two weeks, I’d urge you not to cut off a large percentage of potential clients. Some people just don’t know they are done that early and wait until after babe is born to start looking for a photographer. Some babies (or mamas) require extra time in the NICU or hospital after birth, and sometimes schedules just don’t work out. Or sometimes we have a global pandemic throwing all our plans out the window!
Why is under two weeks recommended?
- Newborn babies sleep most of the day still. If we are going to be positioning them in wraps and props, this is much easier while they are sleeping.
- They have that fresh-from-the-womb flexibility and are used to having their feet at their head, and being folded in half. That said, always be mindful of baby’s joints and never extend a joint beyond it’s normal flexion.
- Want to save time on editing? Baby acne usually kicks in by about week 3, get those photos done before then!
- They are so teeny tiny and will change so very fast. The idea is to document that newborn babe, to remember how they looked in those first few days. The flaky skin, the baby-soft hair on their shoulders, the hair they were (or weren’t) born with before it falls out.
What if you miss the two week mark?
Photograph that baby whenever you can. They will still only ever be as small as they are right now, just this once. The parents don’t care if it’s not the “ideal” time range. They love their baby and will love the images you take, even if they look a little different than the ones in your portfolio. Just set the expectations that baby may be more awake and the images you can document with a slightly older, more alert baby will be different.
HOW DO I PHOTOGRAPH OLDER NEWBORNS?
Some long wraps and larger props can work well, as in the images above. You may find it easier to keep baby their back, rather than trying to rest their chin on their wrists or get them into a more complicated pose. Parents will also love images of their baby just doing what they do – stretching, yawning, looking around.
So, at what age should newborn photos be done? Within the first two weeks, or as soon as you’re able to. From a parent’s perspective, anytime is better than not having them at all. I recommend booking in advance, scheduling the session for approximately 8-12 days after the due date, and just maintain some flexibility in your calendar knowing that if baby is born more than a few days early or late, you may need to reschedule. And please don’t charge your clients for rescheduling – this is definitely beyond their control, and just part of the job as a newborn photographer.