How Old is Too Old for a Baby to Get Newborn Photos
Ideally, parents schedule a newborn photo session during the second- or early third-trimester to get on the photographer’s calendar, and Weeks 1 through 8 of newborn life are optimal for capturing the essence of teensy-tiny babies. If I'm totally honest, pre-Week 6 is even better; the majority of my best sleeping poses were taken around week 5 or prior. Then again, some 2-week old babies cry through the entire session – you just never know what you’re going to get.
So, from a theoretical perspective, it’s never too late to schedule a professional photography session for older infants and young toddlers. Realistically, though, every stage of a baby’s life brings different considerations into the mix.
Rather than looking at your newborn or infant photography session from a, “how late is too late…?” angle, it’s best to view prospective sessions through the lens of “what does each week- or Month- bring to the experience?”
Week 1 – Week 2: The Ideal Window for a Newborn Session
Worth Noting: In order to make this ideal window, you’ll definitely want to book your session long before your baby is born. This is the only way to rest assured a slot in your choice photographer’s calendar.
What to expect: 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.
Preemies, twins, and multiplets are exceptions
Preemies are born small and may not be able to leave the hospital until further along in their development. Similarly, most twins and multiples are born earlier and are tinier than their full-term, singleton counterparts. So, in either of these cases, you may have an extended window – like up to the 5 week mark – to enjoy exquisite newborn shots.
Weeks 3 – 5: Still good, especially for twins and preemies
Special Note: Some babies are highly-sensitive to outside stimuli (including touch, lights, sounds, excess movement or handling by people other than their mother/immediate caregivers). This makes them unable to photograph professionally before week 8. Your baby’s comfort and safety are utmost priorities during the session. If it seems as if you have an extra-sensitive one, it’s worth rescheduling for a later date when s/he is better able to process and respond to all a photo session brings to the table.
What to Expect: Week 3 to Week 5 is still 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.
If you and your full-term baby have a rollercoaster ride adjusting to your new lives, or your baby simply resists the originally scheduled Week 1 or Week 2 session – this is a great way to make it up. Your infant will still be flexible and easy to pose, as well as a little chubbier (love those rolls!). However, 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!
Read, Ways to Prepare for Your Newborn Session, to learn more on how to create the foundation for a comfortable and stress-free experience, and have faith that we’ll create amazing images - even if they weren’t the curled-up-newborn poses you originally envisioned.