When is the best age for a newborn photo shoot?

This is probably the question I get asked the most from parents-to-be –  when is the best age for a newborn photo shoot?

Most newborn photographers aim to get parents booked in for their newborn session within the first 2 weeks. I personally make a provisional booking for newborn sessions working around 8-10 days from mum’s due date.  I advise parents that the sooner they have them within the first 2 weeks the better.

However, I appreciate this is not always possible for parents for a number of reasons:-

  • Mum has to stay in hospital and doesn’t feel up a newborn session.
  • Parents didn’t consider having a newborn photo shoot until their baby was a few weeks old.
  • They knew they wanted a newborn photo shoot but didn’t know how young babies needed to be.
  • They didn’t know you could make a provisional booking in advance. This could result in no immediate availability when they start to make enquiries.

I have to say that since going mobile with my newborn sessions, the feedback is that it is so much easier for parents me coming to their home rather than a studio.   I had a studio for 4 years and have plenty of comparisons from parents who have been clients for the last 10 years.   By coming to their home, they don’t have to worry about getting out of the house with everything but the kitchen sink(1) and they are much more relaxed about the photo shoot generally

Is my baby too old for a newborn shoot?

You’re probably wondering how different is it photographing a 5 day old baby to a 5 week old baby.

Generally, the younger a baby is the sleepier he/she will be.  Babies will be much more squishy and pliable for the curled up poses you see when you search for newborn photos.   Some parents will want me to capture their baby whilst they are at their smallest so timing of the photo session can also be down to personal preference.

As your baby gets older they start becoming more alert and will be awake for longer periods. They’ll also be getting stronger and the curled up poses will start getting harder to achieve.

All this said, I have photographed 5 day old babies and 5 week old babies and achieved the same poses with both.   Whilst younger babies may often be easier to settle, I have photographed plenty of babies at 5 weeks old who have been equally as easy to pose.   Sometimes older babies will  be more settled because they have a feeding routine established.

Likewise, I’ve photographed older babies who have been alert for long periods and younger babies who have been equally as alert.

This is because no two babies are the same and they are all individual.

Below are a selection of photos where babies are aged ranging from 8 days old and 4.5 weeks old – I bet you can’t guess which is the youngest from the photos?

posed baby girl during newborn shoot

baby boy sleeping showing best age for a newborn shoot

sleeping baby boy at best age for newborn shoot

What if my baby is awake during a newborn shoot?

The first thing is not to worry if they are aware.   Don’t feel bad and don’t feel that your newborn session isn’t going to plan.

I will photograph your baby awake and parents love the awake shots too!  It’s quite funny as I can spend the majority of the photo session getting babies into a deep sleep which parents love but then they see the awake photos and they adore them.

With a little patience and time, most babies do eventually go to sleep even if it’s for a short period of time.

I allocate up to 3 hours for a newborn session to reassure parents that I don’t expect their baby to be be sound asleep for the duration of the session.  If their baby needs feeding or settling, there’s plenty of time to do this.

Newborn photographers do their best to prepare for a newborn session by creating the right room temperature and atmosphere.  However,  a baby could simply be having an awake day on the day of their newborn shoot.  After all, they weren’t to know that a sleepy set of photos were planned for them.

I certainly remember my son having days where sometimes he slept after a feed in the day and other times he didn’t (more the latter if I’m honest!).

baby awake in pink wrap

newborn boy awake on blue blanket

newborn girl in mum's hands best age for newborn shoot

newborn boy holding hands with parents best age for a newborn photo shoot

When to book a newborn session?

If you would like to ensure a newborn photographer is available for you and your baby, I would suggest booking as soon as possible after your second scan and before your baby arrives.  Your date is provisional when booked in advance with me and will be rescheduled if when your baby has arrived.

Where your baby has already arrived, don’t hesitate to contact a photographer to enquire of availability.  Due to babies arriving early and late all the time, newborn photographers’ diaries change regularly so it’s most certainly worth getting in touch.

I hope this has answered some of your questions if you have been wondering when is the best age for a newborn photo shoot.   if you have questions not answered here, please get in touch  me and I would be more than happy to have a chat with you.

You can view my own newborn portfolio and if you like my style of photos and would like to book a session with me, please get in touch.

Finally, If you have a friend expecting a baby, why not share the post on your social media pages.