If you are looking to book a newborn photo shoot you might be wondering what is the best time to have your newborn photographs taken.
Babies, by nature, are unpredictable – and that starts with when they choose to enter the world. This is one of the most magical things about pregnancy, and something I love to capture during my maternity sessions – the eager anticipation of your tiny little human’s arrival.
Unless you have a C-section planned, it will be impossible to know for sure when your baby will be born, which can make booking a date for your newborn photo shoot difficult to schedule. Some of my families choose to pencil in their newborn photo shoot for around two weeks after their baby’s estimated due date – although I also like to remind new parents that the shoot can take place at any time. This is why all my newborn dates are fully flexible.
My advice is always this: the “best time” for a newborn photo shoot is when you and your young family feel ready. I hope the following guide helps you decide when that might be.
When is the best time to book a newborn photo shoot?
I usually recommend booking your session after your 20-week scan. This may sound early but at this scan you will be given a more accurate idea of when your baby will arrive. It will also guarantee my availability when your baby does arrive. I only take on a limited number of newborn sessions each month so I can ensure flexibility if your penciled-in date needs to be moved.
If you are past this point or your baby has already arrived, please don’t worry. I suggest reaching out as I still might be able to accommodate you in my diary for a newborn photo shoot.
What is the best age for a newborn photo shoot?
I love photographing new babies of all ages.
For me your baby’s age is far less important than capturing the magical bond you are forming with your new tiny human.
Yes, it’s lovely to have lots of dreamy, sleepy shots of your baby but it can be equally beautiful capturing you feeding your little one, documenting the love and connection between older siblings and everything that happens in between. These moments are equally important, and will hold so much value in 10 or 20 years time.
If you do long to capture your baby while they still have that fresh “newborn look”, you might want to schedule the session for 5 to 14 days after your baby’s due date. At this age you can expect your baby to sleep (and feed) for a good part of the session.
Although traditional newborn photo shoots are usually captured during the first 2 weeks, you can still have beautiful pictures of you and your newborn even if they are are older. As the days and weeks go by you will find your baby to be awake for longer periods of time. They’ll become more interested in their surroundings and make eye contact with you – even the odd little smile can be captured. Documenting family bonds is at the very heart of my work so I love photographing new babies who are older than what most traditional newborn photographers would suggest.
As a photographer who offers at-home newborn photo shoots as opposed to posed studio sessions, I find that my newborn photography sessions tend to be more gentle and relaxed. I’m also able to offer sessions for older newborn babies.
My clients want to create a visual diary of those first few weeks as opposed to having more styled and posed studio shots of their newborn sleeping.
This allows for more flexibility and creativity with the types of moments we can document, and shows a more authentic record of this time in your baby’s life. It’s also a wonderful way to involve the whole family in a space they feel relaxed and comfortable in.
What if you need to move your newborn photo shoot?
In most cases, only your baby will know when they will arrive into the world, so the date we pencil in for your newborn session is fully changeable.
Unpredictability is expected when it comes to planning a newborn session. There are so many factors that will influence when you choose to have your photo shoot.
– Your baby (or babies) might decide to arrive a little earlier than expected
– They might decide they are quite comfy and hang around in your belly a little longer than you thought
– They may need some more time to leave the hospital or to settle in at home
– You might need a little more time and space too
– And you may find any older siblings need some time to adjust to the new arrival – just one of the reasons why I had photographs of my youngest taken when he was 7 weeks old
What if you need more time to recover after the birth of your baby before having your newborn photo shoot?
The most important thing to me is that you enjoy your newborn session and that you feel up to having someone in your home. There are lots of emotions after giving birth (often ones that aren’t discussed) and can occasionally these come as a surprise to first time mums, and dads too.
If you’d rather give yourself a little more time to settle into new life as a family, then there is no need to rush things. As the weeks unfold your baby will become more alert and awake for longer periods allowing me to capture more connection and maybe even a few smiles.
Feel free to be honest with your photographer and let them know you’d rather wait a bit longer before having the photo shoot.
I have no age-limit for my style of newborn photography and dates are fully flexible.
If you have left booking your shoot a little late, or would prefer to give yourself the time and space to bond with your newborn, recover from their birth, or settle into your new family’s rhythm and routine before having your newborn session. I have a whole blog dedicated to Have I left it too late for a newborn session?
What if your baby needs to stay in hospital for a while after their birth?
Occasionally, new babies need to stay in hospital for extra medical care when they are born. This might be something that is expected or it can come as a surprise after their arrival. If your baby has an extended stay in hospital and you still want to have photographs taken it may be possible if your baby’s medical team and the hospital visitor policy allows it. As a photographer who offers in-hospital newborn photo shoots, I have had the honour to document babies less than a day old as well as babies who have had to stay in hospital for special medical needs.
What can you expect from having a newborn photo shoot at home?
I have a very gentle approach when it comes to newborn sessions, and want this experience to feel very natural and relaxed. I will let your baby take the lead during these sessions, giving you the time and space to feed your little one, comfort them if they are feeling uncomfortable and also quietly record the magic of this moment in time.
Your baby may feed a few times during the session. I absolutely love to capture these special, bond-building, moments whether you are nourishing your baby by breast or bottle. I also love to document fathers feeding their new babies. If you would rather me not photograph you feeding your baby please let me know at the time.
I love to give you space to interact with your little one as you normally would, and simply give a little bit of gentle direction every now and then to capture the whole family together but also special moments between mum and baby, daddy and baby and just your little one all on their own.
Documenting all the tiny details that can easily get lost when you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed.
I love to capture your baby in their nursery, on the sofa or snuggling in your arms as you gently lull them to sleep.
I hope this post has shown you that there is no perfect time to have a newborn photography session.
What matters the most is that you and your baby feel comfortable at all times, and that there is lots of room for things to flow naturally during a newborn session.
If you would like to view some of my favourite newborn sessions, you can view the newborn gallery here.
And if you would like to book a call to chat about your newborn photo shoot you can contact me here.
Jess Morgan is a newborn photographer specialising in documenting new baby’s in a natural and organic way. Jess offers at-home newborn photo shoots across London including: Richmond-upon-Thames, Teddington, Barnes, Wimbledon, Chiswick, Putney, Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Battersea, Bayswater, Notting Hill, Queen’s Park, Hampstead, Hackney and Islington. Surrey locations include: Weybridge, Esher, Walton-upon-Thames, Cobham and Kingston upon Thames.