As a newborn photographer, one of the most common questions that clients ask me when they inquire about a session with me is when is the best time to schedule their session. Such a good question! There are so many things to get ready when a baby is on the way, and scheduling your newborn pictures ahead of time is highly recommended. It will be one less thing to think about after your baby is here!
My newborn photography is not the typical, traditional baby pictures that you may have seen elsewhere. I don’t use any props, and I never place babies in anything but the parent’s arms for their portraits. Because of this, I don’t require the newborn to be 2-3 days old like many newborn photographers. (Some photographers who use props require that your newborn be only just a few days old so that they can posed a certain way while staying asleep- and is more easily accomplished the younger the baby is.) In fact, since my focus is really more on motherhood and the irreplaceable moments of connection between a mother and child- it’s really important that Mom has some time after the birth to feel a bit more like herself because mothers play a huge role in each of my newborn sessions.
I personally find that the sweet spot for my style of photography is around 2 weeks old. This isn’t always an exact possibility, as of course sessions are scheduled around my availability. This is why I always encourage expecting moms to reach out to me early on to ensure a better chance of having a session opening around this time.
If the baby is closer to one week old or younger, although possible, I have found that the session often becomes more overwhelming for Mom to plan for, than it is an exciting and meaningful experience that it should be. If the baby is older than 2 weeks, our only possible challenge is that the baby will be awake for more of the session- which often is more difficult as the baby is usually wanting to eat more than usual, can be fussier, etc. Again, most definitely possible and even often booked at that age, but not as ideal as that two week sweet spot.
When it comes to newborn sessions, I always remind the moms that I work with that her baby always runs the show. I do my best to make suggestions such as when the best time to schedule the session is, but in the end every baby is different and we can’t control everything. One of the most important strengths you can develop as a newborn photographer is the flexibility to be in tune to what the mother and baby need when you’re with them, and have the willingness to go with the flow.
Whether you are photographing first time parents, or if this is another addition to their family- those first weeks are unlike any other. You are working with Moms experiencing indescribable exhaustion, intense post-partum emotions, and sometimes even the friction of confusing expectations when perhaps motherhood with a newborn isn’t exactly what they envisioned.
I often will try to remind Moms that I work with to plan as much of the details such as what to wear, booking hair and makeup, etc. all well before the baby arrives- because time and the brain space to make decisions in those first couple weeks after the baby has arrived is often so much harder than one expects. I have had numerous clients of mine comment how grateful they were to have planned all of the details ahead of time so that it wasn’t something that they had to worry about in that first week.
If you have a question about anything I mentioned in this post, whether you’re an expecting Mom making plans, or a newborn photographer yourself, feel free to comment below!