This question of what age is best for newborn photography will significantly depend on your newborn photographer. Some photographers swear to stay away from 10-day-olds and only take on 17-day-olds. I have gone through periods of photographing brand new and fresh babies under 7 days old and have had periods where I am only taking 14-day-olds. In my 15+ years of experience, I have found that it truly is a mixed bag. You never know what you’ll get! Every baby is entirely different and I firmly believe that it’s solely dependent on the baby. I think it greatly depends on how touchy the baby is. Is the baby more sensitive to sound or perhaps more sensitive to touch? Does the baby have gas or a tummy ache? Has the baby had a decent poop recently? Is the baby warm enough? Have the recently eaten? There are so many questions and so many different possibilities.
In 2016, I had a due date on my schedule and when Mom delivered her sweet cherub, we had a bit of a scheduling conflict. I was set to go on vacation and by the time I got back, in my opinion back then, it would have been “too late” to do her session. So, we scheduled it for when the baby was just 3 days old… I can just picture newborn photographers everywhere clutching their metaphorical pearls! A three-day-old!? I think a majority of newborn photographers would tell you to NOT take on a three-day-old baby. But let me tell you, that baby slept like an absolute rock the whole session! These days I would not take on a three-day-old. Not because I don’t think I couldn’t get it done. But because the baby hasn’t had a chance to settle into the world. Mom hasn’t had a chance to get to know her baby before stepping into my studio and passing her off to me. And because Mom’s milk supply likely hasn’t kicked in full force just yet.
I have taken plenty of older newborns. The one pictured here is Ariya. Ariya’s mama emailed me when she was just over 6 weeks old. Was I nervous? I’m always nervous before a session! You just never know how it’s going to go. I always set clear expectations when photographing any baby, but an older newborn especially. They don’t sleep like a baby who is less than a month old. I told my client that there was a very great possibility that she may not sleep enough for those naked and posed newborn shots, she may not sleep at all. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t get the beautiful newborn portraits that she so desperately wanted. That morning of their session, Ariya was pretty awake at first. I do take advantage of that awake time and get some beautiful wide-eyed shots. Soon after a nice snug wrap and some milk, she was off to a wonderful dreamland, and wouldn’t you know it… she did sleep! She slept and posed better than some of my 7–14-day olds! I was ecstatic and obviously, so was my client! I love when babies make ME look good, haha!
My preference for age for newborns
So the answer to this question is variable. But I think my sweet spot is 7-14 days old. I can never guarantee that a baby will sleep during the session, no matter the age! But the 7-14 day time frame will give us the best chance. If you have an older baby and would like to schedule your newborn session with me, please send me an email or visit me on Facebook!