Is my baby too old for a newborn photoshoot?

You’ve been planning to capture the arrival of your new baby with a professional photographer but you’re disappointed because the restrictions put in place following Covid-19 means this might not be possible? Have you been wondering “How late can you take newborn pictures?“ “Is my baby too old for a newborn photoshoot?” or “Have I missed the window for a newborn photos?” Well the simple answer is it’s never too late to photograph your new baby.

I’ve missed having newborn photographs… what can I do?

I know you hear that newborn photographs are best taken during the first 1-14 days and for many studio based photographers this is true.  This strict timeframe is nearly always in reference to POSED newborn photography; the kind that has the baby curled up, placed alongside (or even in!!) elaborate props – often naked or swaddled in blankets with plain backgrounds. Google “Anne Geddes” to catch my drift! If this is what you want then yes, your baby will probably be too old for a newborn photoshoot after 14 days or so.

But what if POSED photographs aren’t what you are looking for? What if you simply want to capture your new baby in the comfort of your own home together as a family? What if you want the photos set against the unique background of your own walls, where feeding might feel easier, your wardrobe and essentials are close by and no one has to pose? If this is you then your baby IS NOT too old for a newborn photoshoot. Read on to debunk the myth……

So where does the 10 to 14 day age limit come from?

Well, newborn babies are born with about 300 bones, while a grown up has 206. Who knew that after the two-week mark newborn bones start to fuse together into calicified bone, which makes it harder for them to return to fetal in-womb positions. So after this point it becomes more uncomfortable for them to be posed, curled up and positioned in and around props. Also, when a baby is under two weeks old they spend long periods of time fast asleep meaning they aren’t even aware of being posed. So think of it more like a guideline for studio photographers  than a totalitarian rule!!

For the record, I never pose or ‘style’ babies with props or accessories and I don’t use a studio. It’s true I absolutely adore photographing babies who have just arrived and it’s a complete honour to be invited into homes to capture these early days but even before Covid-19 I would never refuse a baby because they were “too old.”

Why do some families miss the two week window?

There are so many reasons why you may be unable to capture photographs in the early weeks of birth – Coronavirus is one of them: Some mums and/or babies have an extended period of time in hospital because they need additional care after the birth; Premature babies may also result in an extended hospital stay; Parents simply didn’t consider a newborn photo shoot until after the baby arrived OR; Parents didn’t have the time to arrange a shoot before the baby was born.

I have regularly carried out a “newborn photoshoot” for babies between 4 weeks and 14 weeks old. In fact all of the images you see in this blog are taken of babies after the first two weeks and before they reach the 4 months mark.

Nahla was 3.5 weeks old when these photos were taken

Why age doesn’t matter to me

My approach to newborn photography means there is no need to pose your baby on a beanbag or wrap them in blankets and I certainly don’t need to ensure they are extra sleepy.

For me, the most stunning newborn pictures are simple, authentic photographs of parents and their baby finding their feet together – at home.  My focus has always been to photograph babies (whatever age) in the context of their new environment and the connection they have with their family.  So, it’s about reading the cues and going with what the baby and parents give me.

If you want to know more about having your photographs taken at home there’s more information in my blog post: 10 reasons to have a newborn photoshoot at home.

Marianna was 4 weeks old when these photos were taken

What to expect from a photo shoot with an older baby?

As a clause, I’m going to try to use the words “usually” and “may” as all babies are different. Forgive any generalisations here but you should expect some of the following: As parents you’ll have had time to adjust and will usually be feeling more chilled out and you may feel more comfortable calming your baby where necessary; Your baby may be slightly more alert and want to stay awake for the entire session (and that is fine). Although I’ve photographed 4 month old babies that have slept better than a 4 day newborn; Your baby may have discovered their limbs so will be waving them around and stretching out; Older babies are more interactive and have their eyes open more frequently AND; Your baby is usually stronger at 6 weeks which means they can hold themselves up for tummy time shots

Most importantly, regardless of age I always aim to capture their tiny feet and fingers, the scale of their size in comparison to yours; your typical interactions and being held close to you. Quite often many of these images are obtained during feeding so don’t be put off if you find you are experiencing gargantuan feeding cycles (Respect!)

Sam was 12 weeks old when these photos were taken

What steps should I take now?

Please don’t worry if you miss the typical newborn age because of Coronavirus, or for any other reason. Pending the government health advice I will happily photograph your baby at any age, and your session will be tailored towards you & your baby at that time. Get in touch and talk to me about what you are looking for and I can tell you more about how I approach my sessions. There’s no need to book in but if you’d like to stay on the radar then give me a buzz and we can keep in touch. I’d really love to hear from you.

Ava was 14 weeks old when these photos were taken

Just to recap your baby is not too old for a newborn photoshoot!

I hope this blog post has helped you weigh up whether a newborn photoshoot at home with a professional photographer is up your street – regardless of the age of your baby? If you’re interested and are curious to learn more about booking with me, be sure to reach out and get in touch. We can talk about the possibilities and discuss how we might go ahead once the social distancing measures have been relaxed. I often travel for family, maternity and newborn sessions so don’t let distance stop you!

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