What an exciting and memorable time! You are expecting a new little bundle of joy, and you’re preparing for baby’s first professional photography session to document this special time in his or her life. Perhaps baby has already arrived and you’re wondering when to take newborn photos. Well here are all of the answers you’ll need!
Q. When should I book my baby’s newborn photo session?
In a perfect world, you should be booking your baby’s newborn photography session while you’re still expecting, but life gets in the way and sometimes that doesn’t always happen, and that’s ok! Ideally, you’ll want to book in your third trimester. Why? Because many professional newborn photographers reserve only so many days per week to photograph newborns, and you want to make sure that your photographer has room for you. It’s totally understandable if you might have put this off during your pregnancy and now baby has already arrived and you’re ready to book your newborn photographer. If baby is already here, like even if baby is just 20 minutes new, book your photographer ASAP! Here’s why…
When to take newborn photos? There’s no exact age but the general rule of thumb if looking to achieve those curly, snuggly, sleepy newborn poses, is to hold your newborn session within those first two weeks of life.
I always suggest aiming to hold our newborn session around days 5-10. Here’s why I like that age: Days 1-4 are reserved for hospital or birthing center time, and the transition home. Babies born via C-section might need to stay in the hospital for a day or two longer than a V birth baby. Occasionally, newborns may need to stay an extra day or two in the case of having high levels of jaundice, extra monitoring, etc. Once baby has been brought home, I like to leave a few days for new parents to get settled into their new routine with their new tiny human. Meanwhile, this first week of life allows baby and parents to figure out feedings. By this time, mom and baby can get accustomed to a general (and likely temporary) feeding routine, understanding cues and behaviors. Meanwhile, baby is generally still quite sleepy and curly, as they slowly awaken from their time in the womb. This will be the case for about the first two weeks of life. After two weeks, baby begins to wake up, so the perfect window, in my professional opinion, is definitely halfway through that second week of life.
How to prepare your newborn for our session
The best way to prepare, is to follow these steps:
On the days leading up to your session, get them undressed and move them around a lot, moving arms and legs, just getting them used to being handled helps.
Keeping baby awake for as long as possible on the morning of your newborn session. Wash their hair, give them a bath, wash their feet, and just getting them naked at home, will cause them to stir more.
Dressing your baby in loose fitting clothing for the session, to easily remove them without waking, and to reduce lines and creases on the skin.
Feeding your baby a full meal right before the session, and bringing a bottle to get a quick snack in for when they get unsettled during the session
Bringing a pacifier. Even if you do not plan to use one at home, it can be crucial for getting them to settle for newborn poses. You can always throw it out when you get home, but it really helps settle baby at times, to not waste too much time during the newborn session
Count on your newborn photography session lasting roughly around three hours. This sounds like a long time, but in reality, it’s the perfect amount of time to make sure baby is always comfortable, fully fed and patiently worked with. I’d say that a good 90% of those three hours is spent focusing on baby’s needs (feeding, comforting, gently posing) and 10% is actually spent taking photos. It’s a long process but soooooo worth it!