Best Time for Newborn Photos – Helpful Tips

You are a new parent expecting your first baby and don’t know what’s the best time for Newborn Photography. You don’t want to make a mistake and miss out on this fantastic opportunity for family photos, especially if your due date unexpectedly changes. You don’t have a lot of time to capture those fleeting first few days after the birth. So be aware of when you should book a professional photography session.

The best age for newborn photographs is between 5 and 10 days and probably less than two weeks. Babies this age are the most relaxed, sleepy and flexible. Up to four weeks is still fine though; open eyes and smiles begin to occur. Babies change rapidly so be sure to capture the different stages.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Closeup of tiny fingers.
Abstract Closeup of Newborn’s Tiny Fingers – Photo by Oscar J Harper

You know that photography is important in the baby’s first year. But with so many newborn portrait session photographers out there, you don’t know which will capture the most beautiful moments of your newborn baby. You’re not sure what is the right time or the wrong time to capture these beautiful new family memories. It could be the natural follow up to your timeless collection of maternity photos that you may have previously commissioned for future generations to enjoy.

Learning about a Newborn Photoshoot for new parents can help you choose the perfect Newborn Photographer that will produce professional images for your family. You can find out what to expect, what to ask, and how to prepare for the appointment. So take a few minutes and learn more about this unique way to photograph newborns at this special time.

What You Will Find In This Article

Introduction: What is Newborn Photography?

Newborn photography refers to a style of photography that focuses on capturing precious moments of your newborn baby. Newborn photographers often go through special training to learn how to keep the babies safe and comfortable during the session while photographing some stunning shots. Their experience may differ from that of a family photographer.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Open wrap pose with flowers and accessories.
Classic Newborn Photo, Open Wrap, Flowers, Accessories & Fur Rug
Photo by Oscar J Harper

The newborn photo shoot is a popular type of photography that captures the beauty and innocence of the newborn baby.

A newborn photo session is one of the most treasured moments in a parent’s life. Capturing these moments on camera can be achieved by hiring professional photographers or taking it upon oneself to learn the art.

Newborn portraits have been around for decades now and have seen many changes over the years. It was once considered taboo to show photos of babies before they were one year old, but nowadays, social media sites such as Facebook are overflowing with adorable newborn photos.

Photographing Babies From Newborn to One Year (General Tips)

To photograph newborn babies of all ages can be a difficult task for photographers. Newborns are often sleepy and not interested in being photographed. But by the time they are one year old, they have grown into toddlers and start to enjoy the attention.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Leg stretch casual pose.
Newborn Leg Stretch Pose – Photo by Oscar J Harper

There are three aspects of photographing a newborn that need to be considered: the photographer, the baby and the parents. Most babies can be lulled to sleep by their parents’ voices or rocking motions, so photographers should take this into account when arriving for a session.

Some photographers use a white noise machine to create more calm and quiet surroundings before shooting. It is also a good way to block out unwanted sounds, such as those of barking dogs and traffic.

The first few months of a baby’s life are all about meeting their needs. From the moment they are born, it is important that they are fed, changed, and held as much as possible. This will help them to feel secure and loved which will lead to a better demeanour in the future.

However, it is also important to do things that will stimulate their senses and allow them to gain new skills. Many babies enjoy discovering the world around them. This can be done by using rattles, playing peek-a-boo and exploring textures and sounds that they touch and hear. It is important to keep this up throughout their first year so they are able to learn these skills and grow as an individual.

One of the most challenging aspects of photographing babies is getting them to sleep while you take pictures of them. The best time to take pictures is after a sleepy feed or just before bedtime when babies usually fall asleep quickly.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Colour photo example, with flowers and headband.
Newborn Colour Photo Example – Photo by Oscar J Harper

The first step to photographing a baby sleeping is making sure you have the proper equipment. You will need to have a good manual camera, tripod, and some clothing or blankets for the baby to wear. If you are taking pictures of a sleeping infant, it is important that they feel secure and safe. Make sure that your room is warm and dim so as not to agitate them.

Photographing Newborn Babies (Up to two weeks old)

There are many things to consider when photographing newborn babies. The following points should help you to prepare for a successful shoot:

Milk spots may be visible in newborns’ skin in the first couple of weeks of life. It’s perfectly natural and is usually temporary. To minimise the impact on the photographs, try choosing an angle that minimises their impact on the composition. Maybe avoid closeups with a macro lens on areas of dense milk spots.

During this period babies are at their most sleepy and docile, particular after a big and much-needed feed. It’s worthwhile to capture some great shots of your baby during this very fleeting moment of their lives.

Now is a great time to record this relatively peaceful period and capture the scrunched up, chubby, sleepy, wrinkliness of your little one. To make sure you get the most out of these precious early weeks, all you need to do is take a photograph every day. If your new baby is smiling, making funny faces or growing so fast that it seems like they are transforming before your very eyes then please do not forget to record it.

This is a popular time to catch those abstract closeups of the baby’s tiny toes and fingers particular against the huge scale of the parent’s limbs.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Closeup of feet.
Newborn Closeup of Feet Example – Photo by Oscar J Harper

Now is also the perfect time to get a slightly older sibling involved as they can hold or hug the docile, sleepy newborn. The slightly older kids are intrigued by the arrival of this tiny person into their lives and are aware of the precious fragility and treat them with care and gentleness. They often stare at them in wide-eyed wonder which makes a great interaction photo for the parents to capture.

The older kids, who are much more in tune with the world, will often tell them stories or sing to them. If you really want a touching moment, ask the parents to take some sibling photos of them singing and the baby looking back at them in wonderment.

Photographing Babies between Two to Six Weeks Old

Babies go through some of the most rapid changes in their first six weeks. Every day, you can see new expressions, new movements and new feelings that are all uniquely theirs. The first six weeks of life are a time to celebrate with your beautiful baby.

Baby acne may develop around two to four weeks but it may not be too severe. These can be easily edited out in post-processing with the spot healing brush (no pun intended). They could just be left and accepted as a minor natural skin condition of a developing infant.

Beyond two weeks old, babies will begin to spend more of their time being awake and curious. They also begin to explore their own limbs and stretch them out as well as pulling on their feet and giving them a nibble.

By 4 weeks old, your baby will likely have a stronger grasp in their hands, which means they’ll be able to hold your finger more securely which makes a great photo to emphasise the tiny scale of their podgy fingers.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Face and hand closeup.
Newborn Face & Hand Closeup – Photo by Oscar J Harper

Some of the poses used for a newborn such as the tightly swaddled wraps and fetal sleeping poses might not be possible as the baby becomes less flexible and wants to uncurl and stretch out anyway. They’ll probably be more alert and awake and so some fidgeting can be expected.

There are variations of poses and positions that can be done with a baby to make them feel safer and more comfortable. It is important to keep in mind the safety of the infant as well as the baby’s comfort. Allowing the body to move naturally is generally best for both.

Wrapping the baby may help to calm and settle them if they are too active though.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Wrapping can help to calm the baby.
Newborn Baby, Wrapping can Help to Calm Them
Photo by Oscar J Harper

Photographing Babies Six to Twelve weeks Old

Photographing a slightly older newborn baby can be difficult. It requires patience, creativity, and time. The baby may not cooperate with the photographer’s wishes, or it may refuse to sleep at all. A good photographer will know how to read the baby’s mood and use that insight to create a successful photoshoot.

Cradle Cap may start to develop in this period or sooner (flaky, crusty patches on the scalp). You can try shooting angles that avoid the worst of it. It could be temporarily concealed with a soft loose-fitting hat or bonnet. Alternatively, you can edit it out in post-processing.

They should be able to hold their own heads steady though which offers a new range of potential photographic poses when holding the baby up and watching them look around. The baby may also be able to look out at the world from a new and different perspective.

As the baby gets older it will become more difficult to pose them in the constricted positions that a newborn will sleepily accept. In this case, you can adopt a lifestyle approach which is adopting more candid shots using objects or props that might be naturally found around your home and giving lots of opportunities for play.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Use headband, flowers and toy props.
Newborn with Headband, Flowers and Toy Props
Photo by Oscar J Harper

This could be a bed, armchair, crib or some of their toys for example. They will be much more curious and awake and so it’s a good chance to capture these formative moments. These types of photographs look very effective when captured in natural light from available windows. This enhances the natural scenario that we are trying to create.

It’s always good to have a plan when you are photographing small babies, for example, It’s difficult to capture something new if you don’t have anything planned or know what kind of pictures would be best.

Photographing Babies Up to One Year Old

Photographing babies up to one year old can be a challenging but rewarding task for photographers. This is because the babies are not able to stay still for too long and they also have a tendency to move their heads around in different directions. The photographer has to work on his skills in order to get the perfect shots.

The photographer should not be afraid of pushing the envelope while photographing these older babies. This is because it might be the ideal time to capture some really beautiful and memorable moments that are worth the trouble. The photographer can also use some props such as balloons or toys which will help the baby stay still for longer periods of time.

Infants become more smiley and aware in this period as they gleefully explore their surroundings with sight, smell and touch. In the mid-stages of this period, although not crawling they will start to sit up and see the world from a different angle. This changes their worldview and how they interact with it.

Sitting up will present you with a whole new range of photographic opportunities: holding and playing with toys and splashing in the bathtub. They’ll also begin to stretch and reach for things that are within range so make sure not to leave anything undesirable within grabbing distance.

Towards the end of this first year of growth, the kid could be on the move, crawling or bottom shuffling. Precocious toddlers may even be venturing their first attempts at walking, which is an exciting time for parents if a little unsettling to watch.

Being outdoors can be a very stimulating place for a toddler. The wide-open spaces combined with our long-forgotten perfect vision provide a wonderland of interest for them. Their personalities begin to become apparent which is fun to photograph as they interact with this new world around them.

Allow the babies time to rest, sleep or feed between photo sessions to get the most out of the time you have to take photographs.

Best Time for Newborn Photos! Allow babies to rest between sessions.
Allow Babies to Sleep Between Photo Sessions
Photo by Oscar J Harper

If you still want to take lots of photos, then you should make a plan upfront about how many pictures can be taken in the time it takes to go from location to location in the house or garden.

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