Ideally, you want to schedule your newborn session as soon as possible while you are pregnant as it is best to capture your little one within the first week. You want to get penciled into the photographers schedule around your due date. The date can always be adjusted depending on if your baby comes early or late. With that being said, weeks 2-8 can work as well. In my experience, the best photos are when taken before baby is 6 weeks old. The majority of my best sleepy poses typically are around week 5 or before. But, the bottom line is that all babies are different. Some 2 week old babies cry through the entire session 😊.
Rather than looking at your newborn or infant photography session from a, “how late is too late…?” angle, maybe view prospective sessions through the lens of “what does each week- or Month- bring to the experience?”
Week 1 – Week 2: Ideal window. In order to make this happen, you definitely want to book the session well before your baby is born. This is the only way to guarantee you a slot in your choice photographer’s calendar.
Before the two-month marker, newborns are more flexible, tend to enjoy tighter swaddling (which is used for many of the idyllic poses), have more predictable sleeping schedules (i.e., most of the time between eating and pooping – outside of when you want to sleep…), etc. Newborns between weeks 1 and 2 are still in a womb-like state, and this makes it easy to replicate in those favorite, closely bundled poses.
Another bonus – newborns are less apt to have baby acne, which tends to arrive after the 3-week mark. So, if you’re ultimate goal is to capture the itsy-bitsy, soft-skinned and ultra-snuggly newborn, you’re best off scheduling a photography session before week two.
Week 3 – Week 5: Still ok, especially for twins and premies. This can still be a really sweet timeframe – baby depending. For example, twins and preemies will still look and act like newborns during this window, but the extra weeks allow them to adjust to post-neonatal ward life. Babies who needed more time in the NICU are happier being photographed during the Week 3 to Week 5 window as well.
Most babies are more awake at this point and may be too big for certain props or poses. Also, some of the best newborn poses require wrapping the baby – and 3- to 5-week old babies may lustily say, “No thank you,” to that!
Week 6 – Week 8: Less ideal, but, can still result in some beautiful photos. There should be no expectations of what the poses will look like between Weeks 6 and 8, because there’s no way to know what your lively infant will allow – or NOT! This is really not an ideal window if you are looking for that “newborn look”. With that being said, some babies do well at this age. By this window, s/he won’t fit into the large majority of the newborn outfits we have, nor will s/he safely and comfortably sit/lay/rest on our props. So we’ll focus more on that vibrant eye contact and the myriad of sweet (and comical) facial expressions.
Week 9 – 4 Months: Skip it altogether. At this age, your baby is too big and awake for the newborn look, but still doesn’t hold his/her head nor sits by his/herself. This complicates things a little for us photographers, that’s why we suggest waiting to book a professional session for a little later.
4 Months to 6 Months: The Milestone Session. Between Months 4 and 6, we’ll be able to capture some of your babies exciting milestones – big gummy (or single/double-toothed) smiles, sitting up, getting up on all fours, making more intentional and engaging facial expressions, and so on. Perhaps your little one will have chosen a favorite lovey or stuffy at this point, which is worth capturing before it’s worse-for-wear.
Then, we get ready for that 12 month celebration – the Cake Smash session!!!