When it comes to inquiries about our newborn sessions, we require you schedule a shoot before baby passes the 14th day. And we are always asked why… (and we completely understand how overwhelming those first couple weeks are with a brand new baby). But we promise, we have a very good reason for doing so.
Safety, safety, safety.
To get those amazing shots, your baby needs to be malleable and sleeping. If they are awake and moving their muscles, it is not safe to pose them in many of the newborn poses that make your session special.
Day 5 is the sweet spot. Baby is still used to being in the womb and will not mind while we’re curling them into those adorable poses that make mom and dad say, “aww.” They’ll be sleeping blissfully away while we put baby gently into place in mom or dad’s arms, on our blankets, or on our cradle.
As newborns grow older, they get used to being out of the womb. They’re more likely to wake from being moved around, and the shoot may be more uncomfortable from all the different poses we’ll be doing during the 2-hour shoot.
After 14 days, babies begin to move their muscles. But they lack control of movement. The stretches, pushing, twisting and wiggling does not make for a cute photograph. While it is wonderful to see your baby explore movement, it is not camera friendly. From experience, it becomes harder to capture those wonderful newborn moments once they pass the 14th day mark. Newborns aren’t used to moving and in those early days, they don’t have control over their movement—those awkward movements can lead to awkward photos.
If their eyes can’t focus, you want them to be asleep. Closed eyes soften the image to create that angelic look. And newborns can’t see more then a foot in front of them and for them, focusing on the camera is just impossible. While crazy eyes may make you giggle, you do not want an entire session of pictures just for laughs.
If you miss the 14th day mark, wait until 3-4 months when your baby can easily lift their head and smile while laying on their belly (the Gerber baby pose). When I gave birth to my daughter Asher, I didn’t venture outside of the house until she was 10 days. I had no clue about the 14-day time period. Our first photo session was at 6 weeks. She wasn’t young enough to be sleepy but she also wasn’t old enough to hold up her head. With Asher straining to lift up her head, the wrinkles in her forehead made her look constipated in every photo. But in her next session when she a couple of months older, it was absolutely adorable. Naked bottom in the air, and a big smile.
Other notes about safety during our newborn sessions
1. When the babies are sound asleep we can use props like cradles and baskets.
2. We shoot a lot on or over the beanbag. This gives us flexibility to “fake” some specialty shots. It may look like baby is hanging from a net or dangerously in mom’s arms. But we keep them safe with the beanbag.
3. Safety and siblings: Everyone wants wonderful sibling photographs with a new baby. But again, safety is our priority. In most cases it is not safe for an older sibling to hold a brand new 5 day old baby. Even the most mature 3 year old is unsure about the handling of a new sibling. In every session with siblings we will have family shots. Expect only 1 or 2 poses with the baby and their sibling alone. We have limited options where safety is maintained.
4. Trust us. We know how nerve wrecking it can be to pass your new little bundle to someone else. What makes a beautiful newborn picture is the careful posing of hands and feet. We spend lots of time in each pose. We often use an assistant or have mom/dad carefully spot. We want your pictures to be wonderful. And your baby to be safe. And your experience to be amazing.