Is There a Best Time to do Newborn Photos?
If you have spent any time researching newborn photography, you have probably read or heard about the idea that newborns can only have pictures done at a certain age. In fact, you may have even seen that many newborn photographers absolutely refuse to do newborn sessions past 14 days. So what’s the lowdown on when newborn photo sessions should take place and why?
Most photographers do prefer, and some even require that baby be photographed between the 5th and 10th days following birth. Others may say under 14 or 15 days. The reasoning behind this is multi-faceted. Younger babies tend to sleep more, making for a smoother, and possibly faster session. Another, and perhaps more valid reason, is that babies quickly get used to all the new found stretching space they have just discovered, making posing easier while they are fresh from the womb. Since baby is theoretically sleepier and happier in snug little poses, there is also less wiggling during posing, for which it could be argued that baby will be safer during prop posing. Lastly, baby skin usually fully pops with baby acne at around two to three weeks, so doing the photos early allows for smoother skin for your baby’s session. While these concerns are valid, they are really only an issue for less experienced photographers. Karen Laine Photography has more than 10 years experience photographing babies of all ages. Karen is a mom of 7 and Grammy to 9, a Qualified Newborn Specialist with the Association of Professional Newborn Photographers International (APNPI), a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and infant and adult CPR certified.
The Target, Not the Rule
These are guidelines and only that. There is a theoretical “Best Time for Newborn Pictures”, but there are so many variables. Ultimately every baby is different, and so while we plan for the optimal situation, there is no concrete way to choose the best day for your baby’s session. Yes, in theory, we do usually prefer to do sessions at 5-15 days, but we photograph plenty of one week old babies who are wide awake, cranky from tummy trouble, hungry because mommy’s milk wasn’t quite in, etc, and plenty of little one’s in the studio at 4 weeks who sleep through the whole session without a peep and take to all the poses.
So When should You Bring your Baby in for His Session and What About Special Circumstances?
The bottom line is this: You should plan for your session to occur during that window of “Ideal Time”. Getting booked well in advance of your due date is the first step to ensuring a great session experience for you and your baby. Booking in your sixth to seventh month allows you several benefits. You will remove one more to do item off your list, reducing stress when you get close to delivery and you’ll be sure you get the photographer you really want without worrying that they are booked up by the time you deliver. Booking ahead will allow your photographer to reserve your “ideal window” session time on his/her calendar so your session can take place during that “Best Time”. Because you’ve allowed time to find your preferred photographer, you’ll be able to consider the options regarding your choices for wall art, albums, and other print products, avoiding overwhelm at the ordering appointment (when you are sleep deprived and awash in your new mommy feelings), knowing in advance the basic framework of how you are wanting to enjoy those precious photos. Booking at the last minute under the added pressure of not finding many photographers with availability sets you up for a less than desirable experience. You can find more information on how Karen Laine Photography helps you select the best products for YOU, here.
When you book in advance, a window of time is reserved for you based on your due date, allowing us to place most babies, once born, into a session appointment between 5 and 15 days of age. But what happens if your baby is born early, late, or has complications?
When your baby doesn’t arrive as scheduled, we will consult with you on your specific circumstances and adjust your appointment placement accordingly. Babies who are a little early, but are otherwise healthy, can usually be worked into the studio schedule without much trouble and still make their ideal window. Babies who have to stay a little longer in the hospital, often come home around their due date anyway and often are photographed within their appropriate gestational target. While these babies are technically “older” and more alert because of the activity in the hospital, they do still need sleep and are likely to give us both sleepy and awake photos. Ultimately, we will photograph your baby when he/she is ready and will create beautiful photos no matter the circumstances. In some cases, it may be determined that a lifestyle session is preferable to a posed session, so be sure to discuss your baby’s specific circumstances and health concerns with us.
What if Your Baby has Already Been Born? Is it Too Late to Book a Session?
No! Karen Laine Photography is quite skilled and experienced with older newborns! Older newborns sometimes require more patience and may not do some of the more squishy or complex poses, but we can still get amazing photos of your little one that you will be so glad you had done. Again, if your baby is older due to premature birth, please talk to us about the best options for your unique needs. There is an option for every family! If baby is already over six weeks old, we may consider a lifestyle session rather than a posed session. Either way, you’ll get treasured photos to choose from for designing your amazing art and albums!
Things We Consider when Deciding What Day to Photograph YOUR New Baby
While placing your new baby into an available appointment, we will consider additional details, such as whether baby is breast or bottle fed, the proximity of his actual birth to his due date, whether he has been circumcised, whether he was born via c-section, and whether he had any complications that would affect his comfort, health or tolerance for posing. We will discuss through an email, text, phone call, and/or a brief questionnaire following birth. As always, we treat you and your family as the unique individuals you are through our custom service so you always get the very best.