Time flies when your baby is born! The feeds, sleepless nights and heady emotions of those newborn days mean that the nights are long but the weeks are short. Before you know it, your newborn is not so 'new' anymore. As a Salisbury newborn photographer I am often contacted by parents who's baby is several weeks old, asking if their little one is 'too old' for a newborn photo shoot. The short (and the long) answer is, it depends! A quick Google or browse of newborn photographer websites will probably tell you that newborn babies should be photographed within the first 14 days, sometimes the first 10 days. However, I have successfully photographed babies up to 3-4 months old in the newborn style With this in mind, here are a few factors which can help decide whether your baby is indeed 'too old' for a newborn photography session.
Does my baby have to be under 2 weeks old for a newborn photo shoot?
The reason for this tiny window for newborn photography is that newborns quick become more alert and awake for longer during the day as they reach 3-4 weeks old. They tend to loose some of their curliness and flexibility as they get used to stretching out and living outside the womb. This can make achieving the sweet, sleep newborn photography poses more difficult as the weeks go on. After the first 2 weeks babies also begin to look less 'brand new' and wrinkly, they fill out and will often get baby acne (a rash or spots on their face) which can make newborn photographs more difficult to edit. These are all great reasons to book your newborn photographer ahead of time while you are still pregnant so that you are guaranteed a session as soon as you would like it.
Surely another week won't make much difference to my newborn photography session?
This is usually true! I ideally like to photography newborns within the first 3 weeks, rather than 2 for several reasons. Firstly it gives parents the option to delay their session slightly if they are recovering from a difficult birth or C-Section. Not every new mum feels up to a photo shoot in the first 2 weeks after giving birth, so it's good to have a little more flexibility and another week to recover. Sometimes babies who are slightly older are more established with feeding and generally more settled than very young newborns. A growth spurt at around 10 days old, can make for an unsettled and cluster feeding baby, who by 18 days or so will be much more chilled. I have photographed hundreds of babies who are between the 2 and 3 week mark, so that extra week is not a problem!
Can I book a Newborn Session if my baby is already over 3 weeks old?
I accept booking for newborn photography sessions up to 6 weeks old. Babies undergo huge developmental leaps between 3 and 6 weeks, which means that although I photograph babies up to 6 weeks old as 'newborns', the poses I use and images I create will be slightly different and adapted to a more awake and less curly baby. In general I expect babies between 4-6 weeks of age to be awake and alert for longer periods during the session, so my posing is more flexible. Babies are often smiling by this age, so it's lovely to capture smiles and interactions with parents and the better eye contact that older newborns have developed. I will always explain this when booking older newborns and ensure that parents have realistic expectations of the poses we might achieve.
When Should I Book My Newborn Photo Shoot if My Baby is a preemie?
Preemies are the exception to the rule. If you little one arrives more than a few weeks early they are likely to spend some time in NICU before being allowed home and will probably be older than 2 weeks by the time you are ready to bring them to the studio. This is absolutely nothing to worry about! For preemies, I always work with their adjusted age, and most end up coming to the studio around about their original due date. This means that some can be 2, 3 or even 4 months old by the time I photograph them. Even if your baby is only a few weeks early, it can make a difference to how late you can leave your newborn session.
My baby is already 6 weeks old but I would love a newborn photography session. Is it still possible?
If your baby is over 6 weeks old but you would still over some newborn style images and possibly some sleepy shots, I would recommend booking a White Onesie natural newborn session. These sessions don't involve the kind of posing that requires your baby to be asleep or particularly curly and capture lots of love between you and your little one which is perfect for slightly older babies. It's still likely that your baby will fall asleep at some point during the session, and I will gentle pose them for some sleepy images too. White Onesie Newborn sessions are available up to 8 weeks old.
What if my baby is over 12 weeks old (and wasn't a preemie)? Have I missed the chance to book with you?
By the time your baby is over 12 weeks old, you are definitely out of the newborn phase - and into an exciting new one! Your little one will start rolling and giggling, enjoying tummy time and eventually sitting on their own. These are all wonderful ages to capture with a photo shoot! I offer White studio sessions for babies of any age, as well as fine art sessions for little sitters (usually 7-8 months), so please don't worry if you missed the newborn stage. I hope this has reassured you that there are so many more wonderful opportunities to create beautiful images of you and your baby, even after the newborn window has passed.
The advise I would give to any parent considering a newborn session is to book your photographer while you are still pregnant. Take time to research you ideal photographer before your baby is born and then you won't need to worry about missing the timeframe for those adorable newborn images. Good, professional newborn photographers understand that circumstances change and are extremely flexible about scheduling your session on an individual basis, especially if your baby is born early or needs a hospital stay. Newborn photographs are so precious, because the time when your baby is truly newborn is so fleeting. You will never regret taking the time to capture those memories forever.
I am a Salisbury newborn photographer, and photograph newborns and families throughout Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire. Find out more about my newborn photo shoots or get in touch for a brochure and availability for your baby's due date. I would love to hear from you!