People are sometimes amazed when I tell them that I like to take newborn portraits when they are between 6 and 10 days old. As someone who still catches herself saying “I just had a baby” (and she’s now 21 months old!) I completely understand why people might think newborn portraits can be taken at 6 months old.
First let me be clear – I take photos of BABIES AT ALL AGES! I have taken some adorable posed newborn-esque images of babies as old as 8 weeks. I have taken many portraits of babies as they learn to sit up and crawl. I take images of babies around their 1st birthdays. I will never tell you your baby is too old to have their photograph taken. If I could, I would photograph ALL the babies at ALL stages!
But, if you are after those deliciously sweet images of tiny toes and curled up bodies there is an optimal time to do it. Most newborn photographers will agree that the best time for newborn photos is when they are between 6 and 10 days old. Allow me to explain to you why this is!
- Firstly when babies are under 10 days old they are still nice and curled up and squishy from being carried inside the womb for 9 months. This means they are already in those sleepy, curled up positions and are easily posed on the beanbag.
- Secondly, a newborn baby’s skeleton is made up mostly of cartilage which means that they are flexible and are much more comfortable with their bodies being curled up than older babies. Did you know babies are born with 307 bones? By the time they reach adulthood, they only have 206. Bones start fusing together from day one – so the younger they are, the more flexibility they have.
- Thirdly, everyone knows that newborns love to sleep, sleep, sleep. Unfortunately for some of us (myself included), that doesn’t always mean they love to sleep at night! But newborns are only awake and alert for short bursts in those first few weeks and then they tend to sleep for long stretches in between feeds and wakeful periods. This means that we have a greater window for soft, sleepy images with minimal disturbance to the baby. I’ve had a few babies sleep for the entire session – so they never even knew the camera was there!
BUT DON'T WORRY!
It’s equally important to note that I don’t like to photograph the newborns too early either. Those first, precious few days are important for you and your baby to bond. There has been a lot of changes for both of you – neither of your worlds will ever be the same! It’s a unique time to bond and get to know each other. You’ll be amazed how even 5 days will imprint a sense of who your baby is on your heart. You’ll begin to recognise which noises mean they’re getting ready to cry and which mean they're about to poop. You’ll also need some time to rest and recover from the birth.
So it may seem a little unusual to take the newborn portraits when they are so new to the world but it really does make sense and you can create some beautiful, timeless photographs. Those first few weeks always go by in a flash and their tiny little features begin to change so quickly. If you truly want to capture your newborn in all their squishy newness, I recommend you book your shoot for when they’re 6 – 10 days old.
If you’re interested in booking a newborn shoot with Nessa Robinson Photography, please send me an email on HELLO@NESSAROBINSON.COM and I’d be happy to discuss everything in more detail with you!