I get a lot of enquiries from parents of babies over one month old. We finally got our head around the fact that sleep is a thing of the past. Baby’s feeding is now established, we’ve managed to successfully incorporate this new, gorgeous little person into our life. We’ve suddenly realised the thing we were told about babies growing so far wasn’t a cliche and they do actually change every single day!
We see our friends’ professional newborn photos in our Facebook news feed and suddenly we want those too! Maybe we already have a Pinterest board full of those nice, curled up poses, but never got around to booking a session. We were tired, felt unattractive pre and post birth, but now slowly we are getting back in shape and feel like leaving the house!
With a little help from Google or our friends, we find someone whose photography we love and who is based in our area. We make a call to our chosen newborn photographer and tell them we’d love to book a session.
One of the first questions you’ll get is: “How old is the baby?” We proudly state he / she is now a month old!
The silence follows.
Why do newborn photographers prefer to meet your baby in the first 2 weeks of their life?
The age of the babies can sometimes determine the poses we will be able to position them in and whether they will like it or not. All babies are different and it’s not to say that one baby will be easier to pose over another one, merely based upon age, but generally speaking, the age of the baby can dictate how the session will run.
Newborn babies sleep a lot. It may be mostly during the day, but they sleep. In the first week they sleep on average 18 hours a day. To take the most beautiful, candid photos we all love, ideally your baby should be asleep during the session. It does happen that great results are achieved with a baby who is already awake, but as a rule of thumb: sleepy baby = great session. We can pose them in lovely, curled up poses, their face looks relaxed, and that’s how we want to remember them: relaxed and calm. Happy.
Not only do younger babies get into certain poses much easier than older babies, but they don’t mind much about having their clothes off if they are kept warm.
Typically I schedule all newborn sessions between 6 and 10 days after birth, and as much as mums often don’t feel up for venturing out of the house just yet, I strongly recommend this age for a shoot. Babies stay asleep longer, don’t mind being undressed and usually at this stage have their feeding set to at least every two hours.
The only exception to this rule are babies born prematurely. In those cases we can still use their due date as a benchmark from which we calculate the important “10 days window”.
From experience, I have to say age doesn’t guarantee a smooth session, but the earlier in your babies life we schedule our shoot, the better chance we have to capture many beautiful images.
When shall I book my newborn photographer?
The earliest I’d suggest booking is after your first scan. I do leave room in my schedule to make adjustment to session dates once the baby arrives. I never book more than 3 sessions a week, which gives us space to manoeuvre should your baby decide to meet you sooner / later than expected. Babies will arrive on their own terms but at least we have a guideline to go by of what the session day will be.
Why can’t I have my baby’s photo-shoot in the first 5 days after their birth?
The main problems we may encounter when looking to book a session for a baby under 5 days old is their feeding schedule. If your baby is on formula, this is not as much of an issue as when they are still nursing, as around day 5 your body is still working hard to provide your new baby with enough milk to sustain them for prolonged periods of time, and you may find yourself spending hours on end trying to feed your baby, only to realise they are hungry only 30 minutes after they stopped feeding! breastfeeding is very rewarding and surely the best way to nourish your baby, but it’s definitely hard. Whilst the mother’s milk hasn’t increased, babies eat more often because they are not getting fully satisfied.
Because they are not getting fully fed, they may be more fidgety and therefore harder to keep in certain poses.
Other reasons it’s good to wait at least till they are 6 days old are possible baby acne, and their belly clip. The latter is fairly easy to remove in post production but it’s not all about photoshop! Sometimes babies find it uncomfortable to lay on their belly clip, when positioned on their belly for certain poses.
What can we expect from a session with a baby who is over 3 weeks old?
It’s still possible to get some gorgeous photos of your little one, even if they are over 2 weeks old. The style of those photos will be different, they may not be sleepy, or nicely curled up in a womb like pose, they may not like having their clothes off. We will concentrate more on the images of your baby dressed, nicely tucked in a basket and awake. I may have you present in more photos, even just holding your baby, as your little one will feel most at ease in your arms.
Your baby may be awake for most, if not all of the session. They may want nothing to do with sleep at all. I will make sure I’ve done all I can to capture some beautiful images for you, so that you don’t leave the session empty handed.
What if the session didn’t go to plan?
I keep saying this over and over again to all my clients who get upset, when their baby is distressed or just not “interested” in posing: baby is not a robot. They are tiny humans with their tiny personalities. Just like us, they have their good days and their bad days. The date we choose for the session may not be their best day. They may have an unsettled tummy. They may feel a little “windy”. Usually the next day the baby will be completely different.
Please don’t feel bad about the fact your baby cried for 2 hours straight during the session and we couldn’t do anything about it. More often than not, the session will go just fine, but for those rare occasions that it didn’t: we can reschedule! Never feel bad about rescheduling, if your baby is not feeling their best. It’s not my aim to force the shoot upon them, and as my models, your baby’s wellbeing is my priority.
I hope this sheds a bit of light at the magic two week window and explains why it’s the best time for your babies newborn photo shoot. If you have any questions or would like to book your newborn photo shoot, feel free to get in touch! I look forward to meeting you and your little peanut! x