The best time to photograph a newborn

A common question of any newborn photographer, is 'Why do you prefer to photograph a baby in the first 10 days?"

While each photographer is different and has different styles and prefers to photograph babies at different ages, this is my opinion....

I am a posed newborn photographer.  This means that I photograph bubs in specific poses and props.  This is my style and this is what clients expect when they book me for a session. It is more fine art photography than documentary style photography. I'll also include family and sibling shots during a session.

This style of newborn photography is more suited to very young newborns because of the poses that I perform.

Within the first two weeks after birth, babies are still very sleepy (usually), still like to be all curled up in foetal position and you can generally move them around without them waking.

As bubs age (and even from 4 weeks), they begin to prefer to stretch out more and lengthen their limbs - this is due to a couple of factors including their muscle growth and general growth and weight gain, which actually inhibits them from curling themselves up so much. With the bulk of their limbs, they physically can't curl up into the same positions as they did when they were newborns.

At around 4 weeks bubs also become more wakeful.  When they are awake, they are awake for longer periods during the day.  If they are disturbed while asleep, they are also more likely to become unsettled.

So, these are two physical reasons why I prefer to photograph babies under 12 days, however there are also a couple of other reasons. Firstly, I love to involve the entire family in a newborn session, and Dads usually take some time off work when bub arrives, so this means that dad is able to come to the session as well.

I also find that I am able to work with very young newborns without having to wrap them (while they are asleep anyway). They tend to hold a position a lot easier.  I usually have to wrap older bubs for most of the session.

Of course, I can photograph babies of any age, but if you want that curled up, posed look, then a newborn session with bubs under 12 days is best. 

So what to expect from a session if bub is older? From around 4 weeks, you are more likely to have more awake shots, bub will generally have to be wrapped for most of the session and we may not get any naked shots.  Bub also may not be able to curl into many positions.

At around 3-4 months, we can do awake shots of bub on their belly as their neck strength has increased.  They are more likely to be awake for the entire session.  They will be able to smile and react.

After the three month age, I would then wait until bub is sitting up comfortably by themselves to photograph them for a sitter session.