Expecting parents ask me when is the best time to do a newborn photo session. My answer to that question might be very different from photographers who do posed newborn photos.
For my style of photography, there isn’t actually a time that suits everyone. I personally would want all of those times captured and I encourage you to take a lot of photographs yourself as well as hiring a professional photographer. It passes so quickly and we often feel like we can’t take it all in.
[By the way, you may want to check my new Freebie at the end of this post with some tips to take with you and check out my online course for parents.]
The first few days of a new baby are very special. So soon after the birth and most likely sleep deprived, our memory quickly becomes foggy. Photographs help you remember what you felt like at that time especially if you are in the picture too.
It will be harder for first-time parents to know when the time is right. I would suggest contacting a photographer early (at least two months before your due date) and plan a session in the first two weeks after the birth. Unless you know you would prefer to wait, do it early. You cannot go back in time, while you can ask a photographer to come back later.
Waiting has its advantages too. Unlike me, you might be a little more organised as the weeks go by and feel more like “yourself” again. I personally think the post-birth bellies are a beautiful reminder of what just happened, but it’s important that YOU feel good about yourself too.
If you can’t choose, why not do an early newborn session then a session when your baby is around 6-8 months and finally a last one around his/her first birthday? First-year baby plans might be the perfect option for you.
Fresh 48 / “First times”
To me, the focus of Fresh 48 sessions isn’t on your baby. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a lot of photographs of your baby, but what I am looking to capture is what it was like to welcome a new baby in your life.
Birth is such a powerful moment in a parent’s life. The hours and days following birth are very special too and filled with “first times”. Imagine capturing the first time your older children meet their baby sister or brother. Or when you bring your baby home from the hospital. Maybe you’d love to capture the moment your dog (or cat!) is sniffing the head of this new little intruder. The first bath. The first time with the grandparents, or great-grandparents!
This time in your life doesn’t have to be perfect. It will probably be different from what you have imagined. Finding your feet in your new role or as a bigger family will take time as well as getting to know this new little person.
Being a part of it would be an honour for me.
This photograph was taken when Tove was only 3 days old and home for less than 24 hours. The great thing about doing the session that early is that siblings are usually still excited about the baby and taking turns to hold her. It is also a time that parents find hard to remember which makes it all the more precious.
First two weeks
If you love the look of a sleeping newborn baby, anytime from birth to about 15 days is the best as they spend most of their time sleeping.
Sophie was ten days old and spent 90% of a 4-hours session sleeping and the rest nursing, with one nappy change in the middle. The session shows how tiny she was and the wonder in her parents’ eyes that they were able to create another little being.
Margaret said: “I was worried that it would be stressful to have a photographer in the house with such a new baby but Johanna was totally unobtrusive, and so good at developing a rapport with us and with the children, that it wasn’t stressful at all. Our photo shoot was totally relaxed. My favourite moment has to be when we saw the slideshow and the images – it was so lovely to see all the little moments that were utterly familiar but which I hadn’t realised had been caught on film. Now, every time I walk into the sitting room, the pictures make me smile, and I love knowing that we’ll be able to look back at the album in future years and remember exactly how it was at this special (but slightly hazy) time!”
Some parents like to wait a little longer to capture more of their baby’s personality. 4-12 weeks old is a great age to capture a more alert baby, with open eyes and maybe a smile or two. Interactions with parents and siblings (and pets!) will be a lot different too.
Ellen was 5 weeks old for this session and while she still looked small and super cute, she had longer alert periods which meant I could capture her big open eyes.
Willemein said: “If you want photographs that represent you in your own environment (where you feel relaxed) and you like a documentary style photography then don’t think twice. A beautifully captured moment in your life that you will forever cherish. If you like studio style staged photographs than she isn’t your thing. She’s talented, non-invasive and very good with kids as well as adults.”
20 Photographs Your Children Will Thank You For Twenty years from now
Download this 10 page PDF with prompts and photo examples of what your children will find really meaningful someday.
Some you may have already thought about… and some you may not :)