When to schedule your newborn session is one of the first and most important questions I get from expecting mamas. It’s a good one. The confusing part is you hear different answers from different photographers. The good news is there is no wrong answer, but you have to figure out what is the right answer for you and the type of newborn photography you are looking for.
Ask yourselves these key questions to help narrow down the style (and timeframe) that will work best for you:
1. What style of newborn photography are you drawn to? Do you love posed newborn photos where your little bundle of joy is sleeping soundly all curled up on her tummy or in a beautiful swaddle? Posed newborn photos usually take place in a studio-type setting and have very clean and simple backgrounds. Perhaps you prefer a lifestyle approach (my preference and style!), which basically means less posed images in a natural environment (whether it’s at home or outside) portraying a “slice of life” in an artistic way with some posing and direction from the photographer. In the case of a newborn session, this could mean mama cuddling with her newoborn baby in the nursery, baby yawning in dad’s arms, etc., & being mindful of composition and cleanliness of the backround while telling a story. See more examples of my lifestyle newborn photography work. The last most common approach is documentary newborn photography. In documentary photography, the photographer is strictly observing and giving no directional input about posing to the subjects. The photographer is not manipulating anything, but is instead observing and recording this new phase in your life with your newborn.
2. If you prefer the posed newborn photos, most photographers love to work with babies that are 3-10 days old for several reasons. They sleep a LOT which makes for a smooth session. They are extremely flexible, which helps the photographer get the poses you see (although note that some poses are compositions of two separate photos taken then photoshopped together to always make sure baby is safe and secure). Last, they still have that newborn look which is highlighted in this type of photography.
3. If you prefer the latter two options, you have a little more leeway, regarding when to schedule your session. Some photographers will have a specific window in baby’s age where they are willing to book the session, and others will not. So I ask you this: if you prefer lifestyle or documentary photography, how important is it to you to capture your new little one in the sleepy, tiny, frail, no-chubby-cheeks-or-baby-rolls phase? Are you overwhelmed with starting your new normal at home while getting sleep, making it to doctor’s appointments, and more? How much time are you able to spend on your newborn session? When choosing a photographer think about these questions and what they recommend and consider what works best for you.
I love capturing the sweet little newborn phase, but when I work with my families I never push a specific window. I instead recommend we schedule the session within the first month to give moms and dads time to adjust to their new normal and manage all the things that go along with it. I believe the style of newborn photography I create – showing the loving connection between new mom and dad with their baby in a natural and genuine style and in the comfort of their own home – gives me some flexibility. I also believe that I can capture that beautiful and fleeting newborn phase even at the end of that first month. So talk to the photographers you are interested in working with about their philosophy and recommendations.
4. The last important part you will want to consider is how often you are going to schedule a photography session during your baby’s first year of life. Are you interested in capturing him or her growing and reaching those important milestones? Perhaps you’ll leave your cell phone up to that but it’s important to you to invest in a similar high-quality artistic session once per year. There is no wrong answer, and many photographers typically have many options for you, including myself. I offer Milestone Sessions upon booking a newborn session, where within that first year, you are able to book as many 30-minute sessions you would like at a reduced rate.
While every photographer has a different philosophy and will have a different recommendation on when to schedule your newborn session, I hope these tips and guidelines above will help you narrow down what you are truly looking for with your newborn session and choosing a photographer. Please contact me if you have any questions!