When to Take Newborn Photos | Kristin Brockman Photography
Feeling unsure about when to take newborn photos? This is something most moms have questions about when they initially reach out to schedule their newborn photos. In this post I’ll help you understand your options so that you can choose the age that works best for you and your family. I’m very much a visual person, so I’ll also share examples from some of the newborn photos I’ve taken over the years for inspiration!
Aurora – Captured at 10 Days Old
The Most Important Factor to Consider When Scheduling Your Newborn Photos
Do You Prefer Natural Newborn Photos or Posed Newborn Photos?
A photographer’s job is to bring your vision to life. But each newborn photographer has a specific style they specialize in. The most important thing you can do is choose a photographer who specializes in the style of newborn photography you love. This will have an important impact on when is best to schedule your newborn photos.
For posed newborn photos, the best age to take newborn photos is within the first 2 weeks after birth. Babies sleep for longer stretches of time in these first couple weeks. And they also sleep more deeply, allowing newborn photographers to place them in poses. If you prefer posed newborn photos, you’ve already reached the answer to your question! Now you can continue your search to find a photographer you love who specializes in this style. And be sure to reserve your session well in advance to ensure your photographer will set aside space in their schedule for your baby’s newborn photos soon after birth.
For natural, lifestyle newborn photos (the style of newborn photography I specialize in), the age of the baby is much more flexible. Since the baby doesn’t need to be asleep to place them in poses, we can capture beautiful memories together at any age. So I recommend taking newborn photos anytime between 1 – 8 weeks old depending on what works best for your family. But while the age of the baby is flexible with natural newborn photography, it still has an important impact on how your newborn photos will look. That’s why I take the time to educate my clients and help them choose the age that works best for their family. So if you’re drawn to natural, lifestyle newborn photography like I am, read on to explore your options and choose the age you love best for your newborn photos!
Questions to Ask Yourself
Are You Hoping to Capture Your Baby When They’re the Tiniest They’ll Ever Be?
If your answer to this question is yes, then it’s best to take your newborn photos when your baby is 1-2 weeks old. These early newborn days are a once in a lifetime whirlwind. With the physical demands of delivery and sleepless nights, this time is full of emotions for most new parents. It’s often hard for parents to remember these days clearly when they look back on them. So if it’s important to you to capture these memories when your baby is the tiniest they’ll ever be on camera, make it a priority to book in with your preferred newborn photographer well before your baby arrives (during the 2nd trimester is best) to ensure you have the scheduling flexibility you need to get your newborn photos taken soon after birth.
Does Your Partner Have Limited Time Off Work?
Making sure the whole family can join in on the scrumptious newborn snuggles is a top priority for me in every newborn session I photograph. But let’s face it. We live in a country where maternity and paternity leave are not what they should be for most new parents. So considering the logistics of your partner’s work schedule can be very helpful when it comes to scheduling your baby’s newborn photos. If your partner’s job doesn’t offer much scheduling flexibility and has a limited amount of leave after the baby is born, this would be another reason why it may be best to schedule your newborn photos in the first couple weeks after the baby is born.
But if your partner has extended leave or a more flexible work schedule, continue reading to explore all your options for when to schedule your baby’s newborn photos.
Do You Prefer Photos of Your Baby Sleeping or Awake?
For Mostly Sleeping Photos: Best Age is 1 – 2 Weeks Old
As I mentioned above, babies sleep more in the first couple weeks after birth, so you can expect to capture mostly sleeping photos right after the baby is born. If you want to capture your baby in that sleepy newborn phase when they love to curl up and be swaddled just like they were in the womb, then 1-2 weeks old is the best age for newborn photos. In the photo below, you can see sweet baby Clara who I captured in her home at 12 days old. She was asleep for most of our session, and regardless of whether she was snuggled up in her parents’ arms or laying on her own, she loved being wrapped up with her arms and legs tucked in close to her body for a cozy nap like you see below.
Clara – Captured at 12 Days Old
For A Mixture of Sleeping & Awake Photos: Best Age is 3 – 4 Weeks Old
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to capture a mix of sleeping and bright-eyed, expressive newborn photos, I recommend taking your newborn photos when your baby is around 3-4 weeks old. During those first two weeks after birth, babies don’t always have their eyes wide open even when they’re awake. Adjusting to the bright lights of the outside world and learning how to focus on their parents’ faces takes a bit of time. So sometimes really young babies will only open their eyes part way when they’re awake and may cross their eyes as they begin to learn how to focus.
While the sleeping photos look very similar at 3-4 weeks old, waiting this extra week or two makes a huge difference in how bright-eyed and expressive your baby will be when they’re awake. At 3-4 weeks old, babies will often open their eyes wide when they’re awake and look around the room, exploring the world around them like you see little Julian doing below.
Julian – Captured at 4 Weeks Old
For Mostly Awake Photos: Best Age is 5 – 8 Weeks Old
Babies change and grow so fast during the first couple months. The older babies get, the more time they will spend awake and the more expressive they’ll be. If you want most (or all) of your newborn photos taken while your baby is awake and you have your heart set on capturing lots of expressions and interactions as your baby looks up at you, I recommend scheduling your newborn session when your baby is 5-8 weeks old. Below I’ve shared a couple of examples to illustrate this age. On the left, little Cole is bright-eyed and curious at 5 weeks old. And on the right, Sofie is looking right at her mama at 7 weeks old.
Are You Hoping to Capture Some of Your Baby’s First Smiles?
If capturing some of your baby’s earliest smiles on camera would make your heart sing, then doing your newborn photos when your baby is around 5-8 weeks old may be the perfect choice for your family. Babies typically smile at their parents for the first time between 1-2 months old. While every baby is different, the odds of capturing these smiles increases with each passing week. I captured Justin’s newborn photos when he was 8 weeks old, and below you can see how full of smiles he was, especially when he looked as his mommy and daddy!
Justin – Captured at 8 Weeks Old
Do You Need or Want More Time to Recover After Giving Birth?
Giving birth to a baby is one of the most physically and emotionally demanding experiences, and it even leads to surgery for some moms. So my advice for new parents is, don’t forget that you’ll need to take care of yourselves when your new baby arrives, too! The newborn stage is a whirlwind of emotions and change and sleepless nights. When I became a new mom, one of the first things I realized was that everything comes in phases. And whether you’ve just had your first baby or added a new sibling to your family, those early weeks are a huge adjustment period for everyone. Taking a bit of extra time to settle in at home, rest, and recover can make a huge difference in how much new parents are able to soak in and enjoy their newborn photo experience.
Every family’s story is unique. And of course there are times when a newborn session has to get bumped back for reasons beyond your control. Whether it’s extra time spent in the hospital after birth, or an unexpected family issue comes up, or a family who reaches out after the baby is already born, there are many reasons families sometimes wait to take their newborn photos when the baby is a little older. But for most of the families you see in my newborn portfolio, they took the information I shared with them and were able to choose the age they loved best to take newborn photos.
Was Your Baby Born Premature?
If your baby is born premature, it can absolutely affect the timing of your newborn photos. It’s not uncommon for premature babies to spend extra time in the hospital after birth. So sometimes it’s necessary to wait a little longer to take newborn photos with a premature baby since the health of the baby is always the most important priority. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have options for when to take your newborn photos. Typically, when babies are born premature, they stay in the sleepy newborn phase that is typical of a 1-2 week old baby until around or just after their due date. In other words, you can essentially follow the same guidelines I’ve described above but use the due date rather than the birth date to plan your ideal age for newborn photos if your baby was born prematurely.
Twins (or multiples of any kind) are a great example of this in action because they are often delivered ahead of their due date. Below I’ve shared a few examples from sweet little Daphne & Sutton’s newborn session. Daphne & Sutton were born 2 months before their due date, and they didn’t come home from the NICU until a few weeks after their due date. So we ended up taking their newborn photos 6 weeks after their due date when the girls were just over 3 months old. At right around 10 pounds each, Daphne and Sutton both fit into my newborn size rompers with a little extra room to spare.
Even though the girls were 3 months old, their newborn photos look very typical of 6 week old newborn photos. Daphne & Sutton were awake and full of expressions (and even a few smiles). And they were making eye contact and interacting with their parents and siblings at times throughout the session as well.
Examples For Inspiration
Natural Newborn Photos at 1 – 2 Weeks Old
**Best Age For: Curled up, sleeping newborn photos when your baby is the tiniest they’ll ever be**
Patrick – Captured at 2 Weeks Old
Aurora – Captured at 10 Days Old
Natural Newborn Photos at 3 – 4 Weeks Old
**Best Age For: A mix of sleeping and bright-eyed expressive newborn photos**
Owen – Captured at 3 Weeks Old
Charlotte – Captured at 4 Weeks Old
Lawson – Captured at 3 Weeks Old
Natural Newborn Photos at 5 – 8 Weeks Old
**Best Age For: Expressions galore (including possible smiles) & sweet interactions with your baby**
Bryce – Captured at 5 Weeks Old
Townes – Captured at 6 Weeks Old
Oliver – Captured at 7 Weeks Old
Justin – Captured at 8 Weeks Old
In my personal and professional opinion, saying you’ve missed the window for newborn photos once your baby is more than two weeks old is simply not true. If you’re drawn to natural, lifestyle newborn photography, you have a variety of beautiful options as to when to take your newborn photos. But the age of the baby absolutely does have an impact on how your newborn photos will look, which is why I educate every family I work with so that I can help bring their vision to life. Because there is never a wrong time to capture beautiful memories with your new baby!
Did You Find These Tips Helpful?
You can also click HERE to read my post on When To Take Maternity Photos if you want more guidance on capturing your growing family’s once in a lifetime memories.
Kristin Brockman Photography offers natural light studio and in home newborn photos for growing families. For more information, you can check out my Newborn Portfolio and Newborn Session Details. You can also check out my Featured Photo Sessions, to see the full gallery of images from a few of my newborn sessions and reach out if you’re looking for a newborn photographer for your growing family.
If you have any questions or want to inquire about my availability for newborn photography, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristin Brockman Photography is a natural light newborn photographer based in Pottstown, Pennsylvania who serves clients in the Greater Philadelphia area. She specializes in simple, natural newborn photos focused on capturing genuine expressions and authentic moments of connection with your baby.