As a newborn photographer, one of the most asked questions I receive is when is the best time to schedule newborn pictures? This is such a great question and is really important especially when it comes to securing availability.
The best rule of thumb is to schedule as early as possible: as a mom-to-be you’re going to be caught up in planning details and preparations for baby’s arrival and before you know it, time has passed quickly and then you’re scrambling for a photographer. If you schedule early, not only will you secure your preferred date but you’ll have one less thing to have to research and prepare for as your due date gets closer. Having all of the preparations taken care of early will allow you to enjoy the process of being photographed with your newborn and family with minimal stress.
During newborn sessions, I do not use any props as I believe the best place for babies is in the arms or hands of their parents. I don’t do posed, I do real. Because I do not pose newborns or use props, I do not require the baby to be 3-5 days old like many newborn photographers (posing newborns in props requires the baby to be deeply asleep so they can be molded into shape – the younger the baby, the easier this is to accomplish).
For me and my style of photography, the ideal age for newborn pictures is about two weeks old, if I have availability. During these two weeks, mom has had a chance to recover some from birth and feel more like herself which is only going to enhance and strengthen the connection between her and baby.
I highly recommend scheduling early to ensure that I will have availability at the two week mark. My schedule tends to fill quickly as I only photograph one session per day with a maximum of three sessions per week. Although it’s completely possible to capture beautiful newborn pictures at about a week old, often mom has not recovered enough and it becomes very overwhelming for her trying to plan and coordinate this early. Later than two weeks becomes more of challenge as babies tend to be awake most of the session, they tend to cluster-feed and they are more fussy during this time. Again, it is completely possible to to capture beautiful newborn pictures during this time but it’s not as ideal as the two week sweet spot.
One of the biggest things that I have learned and convey to my moms is that all babies are different. She and I can make all of the best plans but ultimately, it is baby that dictates the flow of the session. Patience and flexibility are two of the greatest assets a newborn photographer can possess! I believe in baby-led posing and sessions which means ‘natural’ and stopping when necessary for feedings, changing, snuggles and comforting.
In addition to scheduling early, I also encourage moms to plan for details such as clothing and accessories and for hair and makeup appointments before baby arrives. Having these items prepared and laid aside or scheduled well in advance will be such a relief during those first two weeks when mom is exhausted and experiencing decision fatigue.
If you’re considering the best time to schedule newborn pictures, I hope this post helps you to prepare and be more informed. If you are interested in booking with me for a newborn session, please connect with me for details and to see if we are a great fit.
If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in “7 Benefits of At Home Newborn Photography.” as it provides a great comparison between at-home newborn sessions and studio sessions. I’ve also written a post for new parents that is the ultimate guide to choosing a newborn photographer that you may find beneficial.