When you’re expecting a baby there are so many things that you need to plan, think about and prepare. What will you need in your hospital bag, which nappies will you use, how should you prepare for the birth. It’s not unusal for many parents-to-be to not have even thought about newborn baby photos until after their baby has arrived. Below I hope to explain why booking your newborn portrait sessions well before your due date can result in getting your dream images of your beautiful newborn while they’re still oh-so-tiny and new.
One of the things many parents-to-be are often unsure about is when to book their newborn photo shoot – after all, if you’re not entirely sure when you’re baby will arrive, how can you book a photo shoot for them? Below, I’ll explain why it’s important to schedule newborn sessions in advance, and the best time to do this.
When Is the Best Time For A Newborn Photo Shoot?
The best time for newborn photos does depend on the style of photo shoot you decide to have. Generally speaking there are two styles of newborn photography:
Styled Studio / Posed Newborn Photos
This is what the majority of parents request when booking me – and it is the style of photography that most people think of when they think of booking a newborn photo shoot. This style of photography results in those sweet, sleepy photographs of your baby in lovely curled up positions, and to achieve these results babies usually need to be less than two weeks old. The reason for this is that after two weeks, babies tend to become much more alert and awake, and start to stretch out which makes these poses much more difficult to achieve. I prefer to schedule newborn sessions before baby is 16 days old.
Lifestyle Newborn Photos
The other style of newborn photography is lifestyle newborn photography – for these sessions the focus is on your baby just as they are, whether wide awake or asleep, and if they are only happy being held then the majority of the photos will with taken with their parents.
Essentially baby is photographed just being them, so the timing of a lifestyle newborn shoot really depends on you. Baby can be photographed in this style at any age. At my home studio I will photograph them on a large white beandbag (for smaller babies) or a crisp white duvet (for older babies) so they can lie or roll around and do what they’d normally do when you place them down in their cot or on your bed or playmat.
So in summary, which style of newborn photography you choose will govern when the photo shoot needs to take place. This brings us onto the questions of when to book your shoot.
When To Book Your Newborn Photos
Because newborn sessions take place so early on in your baby’s life, I recommend booking them well before your baby arrives – not only because you risk not being able to secure a spot in your chosen photographer’s diary if you don’t, but also because once your baby arrives two weeks will fly by before you realise it and you’ll have missed the opportunity to have sleepy posed images like this one below…
I advise expectant parents to book their shoot just after their 20 week scan. This allows plenty of time to secure a spot in your chosen photographer’s diary, and to think about any preparations you want to make before your baby arrives.
With a lifestyle session you have more flexibility in terms of the timing as these sessions can be done at any age, however if you’re wanting to capture your newborn as new as can be then I would recommend booking early to secure a session at an age you’d prefer. If you’re wondering how you can book before knowing the date your baby will arrive then please read on…
How can I book if I don’t know exactly when by baby will be born?
One of the most common questions from my client’s is what happens if your baby arrives early or late? If the two week time slot is so important, but we don’t know exactly when your baby will arrive, how can we know when to schedule the shoot?
When you book a newborn session with me we won’t actually schedule a date in the diary, unless you are having a planned c-section and know the date that your baby will be born. Instead, your booking guarantees a place in my diary, and we will schedule the exact date once your baby is born. All I ask is that you give me a call/text/email as soon as you can after your baby arrives so that we can confirm a date for the session.
I only book a limited number of newborn session in any given month so that I can always guarantee I have availability, no matter when all the babies arrive. In my weekly calender I always leave a day free each week for new arrivals too. The sooner you can get in touch after the birth of your baby the more options I can offer you for your session date.
My Baby Has Already Been Born. Have I Left It Too Late To Book?
If your baby has already arrived but you haven’t booked your session then I recommend getting in touch as soon as you can to see whether I have availability. If one of my client’s babies has arrived early or late it’s possible that I may have space for an extra session.
I hope this has helped clear up some of the mystery behind booking a baby in for a newborn portrait session. I know many parents-to-be haven’t been through the process of having a newborn photo shoot so I’ve created a Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer some very common questions about newborn photography.
And if you’re wondering WHY you should record this precious time…
Here is a diary extract from when Emilie was born…
“Time is going way too fast. I can barely remember what new thing it was that she did yesterday…. I can remember finding it thoroughly fascinating and feeling incredibly proud… It must have been something amazing I just can’t get my baby brained head to recall it right now. This and a million other tiny but amazing milestones fade into one big blur and then… where did the weeks and months go?? Did I dream it? No I can’t have done, I’ve not had that much sleep.
Maybe it’s a caffeine induced hallucination and really we are only 2 days in and marvelling at this tiny little bundle we carried home from the maternity unit…. Has time really gone by that fast? Every new mum I meet comments something similar…. how can such seemingly long sleepless nights pass so quickly and yet seem so long.”
I keep a photo journal of Emilie’s life so far and it’s something I absolutely adore looking back on. I’m continually amazed at how much one little person can change in the blink of an eye. “Surely she was never that tiny” is the first thought that always comes to mind when I look back. At 8lb 6oz I never really thought of her as tiny at the time, but now I see it. I cherish the pictures I have which capture just that, her tinyness, her newness, the very start of her little story.
I will always cherish those first weeks and look back on them so very fondly. So much love, spellbound infatuation and oh-my-god-did-we-actually-do-this-ness. Those times are so worth documenting, it’s the start of your story as a parent and of their brand new life, which is full of endless possibilities.
It was one of the most precious times in my life and I’m so glad it’s captured, never to be forgotten and can always be revisited any chance I get.”
NEXT: WHAT TO EXPECT …
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