A quick guide to choosing the best time for your baby’s photo session
The best time for your baby’s photo session is when it feels right for YOU.
Many expectant parents ask the question: “What is the BEST age to photograph my baby”? Should it be when they’re a teeny-tiny newborn, or should we wait a few months until they have developed more of a personality?
There are a lot of different opinions on when you should schedule baby photos, but the final answer is: Whatever you’re most comfortable with.
My many years of experience as a baby and family photographer has proved to me that beautiful, timeless baby photos can be done at any age. A little patience and knowledge can get the great results you want at a time that works for your and your baby.
That being said, there are some key differences to consider about the types of photos you’ll get as your baby grows from a newborn nugget into a real person!
Below are some guidelines and recommendations so that you can choose the best time for your baby’s photo session.
My first recommendation is that you do some online research to decide which type of baby photography suits your personal style, and find a photographer who will make those ideas come to fruition. Some considerations:
- Do you want to have your baby’s photo session in your home, or in the photographer’s studio? (I do both! Take a peek at my studio here.)
- Would you like to have you/your partner and baby’s siblings be included in the baby photo session, or have it focused solely on the baby? (I believe family is essential).
- Are you interested in having lot of props and backgrounds, or going for a more natural style of newborn photography? (I LOVE a natural approach).
Once you find an experienced newborn photographer whose style you like, you can think about the best age for your baby’s photos.
Early Newborn: up to 2 weeks old
The first days of baby’s life is, by far, the most popular age for baby photography. Believe it or not, this is the easiest time for photos since most newborn babies tend to be incredibly sleepy during the first days of life.
This makes it simpler to get them to settle into those adorable curled-up bundle photos. Wrapping up newborns in swaddles is the best method for getting them to sleep soundly enough for a good photo session.
Usually, newborn sessions start with the baby tightly swaddled. As the session progresses, slowly unwrapping baby can result in some unbelievably gorgeous naked newborn photos.
If the room is warm and the baby is full, we’ll be able to capture some classic newborn photos. Soft fuzzy skin and peaceful sleep are hallmarks of a successful early newborn photo session.
But, if you’ve had a caesarian birth, you can certainly delay the newborn photo session until you’re feeling up to moving around. Don’t let people pressure you into doing your photo session earlier than you’d like. Even if you miss the 2-week mark for photos, we can get wonderful newborn photos at 3 or 4 weeks.
What types of photos can you get with an early newborn baby photoshoot?
Generally early newborn photo shoots will provide plenty of photos of a sleepy baby, swaddled and naked. Also, you’ll get photos of you and your partner holding and interacting with your baby.
These photo sessions can be done in the studio or at your home. One of my favorite photos of this type is showing dad’s big hands holding the tiny newborn.
If you decide to have your newborn photoshoot at home, we can include elements of your daily routine: being held, fed, and changed. We can also get photos of baby in their first home, their nursery, and with their first pets!
It’s also a great time to capture the amazing details of your baby: the tiny toes, fingers and ears. These features change so fast, and they’re so much fun to look back on and remember.
Older Newborns 4+ weeks
If you’re looking to get photos with baby awake and looking at the camera, it’s best to delay the newborn photo session until baby is a few weeks older.
Some photographers will only do baby photos at the first 7-10 days. However, I know how to capture gorgeous photos with older newborns. I believe this is sometimes the best time for your baby’s photo session.
Why? A few weeks in, your baby is already showing some signs of the personality that they’re going to have. They may already hold their head up and follow your movements. The interactions at this age are priceless. If you delay baby photography you’ll both feel better, and you’ll have established a bond through the first few weeks of life.
This is especially true if you have other young children who you want in the photos. Having photos of siblings with your new baby is one of the most important ways that you can tell their story.
At 4-6 weeks old, your baby will still be adorable, but will have gained some baby fat and be a bit more alert. This means you can get classic photos of baby with their gorgeous eyes open. A sleepy newborn is wonderful, but a happy, chubby older baby with personality is priceless.
Cries and Smiles
As your baby grows, and especially from the age of 3 months, your baby will start to smile at you. This is a special time to capture in photos. It’s not the occasional grin that a sleepy newborn will give you, it’s a real “Hey, I love you!” kind of smile that cannot be beat.
That’s why, for some families, the best time for baby photos is sometimes later in life, not newborn. These are the sweet, intimate photos that will make any parent’s heart melt. Whatever your baby is into at this age, they’re becoming more alert and more expressive than in the early weeks.
Whatever age you choose, don’t worry if your baby cries, this is what babies do. These moments are natural and important too; they tell part of your baby’s story.
The most important thing to remember during these moments is not to panic. Eventually, the crying will stop, you’ll have time to feed and change them, and you’ll get some awesome newborn photos that you’ll treasure forever.