What’s the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots? And, why its not too late.
A reassuring guide for new parents
This professional guide will talk you through the key recommended baby milestones, helping you to decide on the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots, within the context of my photography style, helping you to decide when you would most like to schedule your babies first and subsequent photoshoots with me.
Having found your way to this page on my website I’m going to presume you are expecting a baby or perhaps your baby is already here? If you fit either of these scenarios, then congratulations!
Am I too late for newborn photos?
The most commonly asked question I get from new parents is, ‘Am I too late for newborn photos’.
It’s not uncommon to be considering when to book babies first photoshoot, once baby is already here. You might have come across a few photographers websites that talk about a very short window for newborn photographs that might have passed whilst your looking for your ideal photographer. Have they got you a bit worried? Fear not.
Considering the best age for your babies photoshoot understandably may not have been your first priority when you have been so busy preparing to welcome a new little baby in to your lives.
However, I am happy to reassure you that the newborn window is longer than you might have otherwise read. And, there are many more precious baby milestones beyond the newborn phase that yield beautiful baby portraits and tender family moments, celebrating these very early connections.
Do you know what style of baby photography you most like?
When choosing the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots, a photographers style (and their experience) will influence their advice and your choice on the best age for a baby or newborn photography session.
I specialise in very natural photoshoots for babies at home and outdoors. I love creating a balance between very natural candid family moments and some more carefully posed portraits, photographing you in your own home.
You can get to know my style of baby and newborn photography by taking a look at my newborn baby gallery here.
My natural style, in conjunction with my level of experience and training, means I have the flexibility to achieve beautiful baby and family photographs within a broad range of ages and milestones.
And, whilst many skilled photographers talk up and promote the coveted 5 – 14 day old age range for a newborn session, I am able to achieve beautiful and very natural posed baby portraits, maintaining that newborn look and feel, with babies throughout the complete newborn phase of their lives, which is up to 8 weeks old and sometimes a few weeks longer…… And, this is mostly because of my at home non-studio style of photography and my skills, training and experience in handling newborns.
So lets dive in to each of your babies up and coming milestones and consider what type of photographs we can expect to achieve at each sage.
The most ideal ages for scheduling your babies photoshoot.
These milestone ages are all approximate and please be reassured there is a relative percentage of wiggle room when considering each of these baby ages for a photoshoot.
It’s also important to remember that not all babies develop at the same rate, so baby milestones for photography sessions are simply a guide.
The best thing you can do after reading this guide is to have a chat with me about your baby and we’ll make a plan together. You can get in touch with me HERE.
Early Newborn babies. (5 days – 14 days old)
What to expect at 5 – 14 days
The newborn age, within studio photography circles, is usually defined as being up to 14 days old.
Babies at this age are sleepy, not yet fully aware of their surroundings and still fairly ‘curled up’. For these reasons they make excellent models for cute little curled up sleepy poses.
These early newborn sessions are very special, capturing memories of these very fleeting early days as a new family at home.
Things to consider when booking an Early Newborn session.
My sessions are run at your babies pace and can take anywhere from 2 – 6 hours depending on how baby is feeding and sleeping on the day. We allow for long breaks for feeding or extra nappy changes. This is all factored in as part of our time together on the day.
The most ideal time to book is after your 20 week scan and before baby is born. This way you can ensure you have secured your first choice photographer. Once you are booked in your session date can be adjusted to accommodate baby arriving early or late within the 14 day early newborn window.
Older Newborn Babies (up to 8 weeks old).
What to expect up to 8 weeks old.
Up until four weeks old your baby is still very much in the early newborn stage and only just starting to become a little bit more aware of their surroundings. Then from four weeks your baby is becoming more awake and more aware of their surroundings. Babies of this age will still sleep a lot and feed a lot. However, when they are awake their eyes are opening up more, they look towards the light and they love your face. They are gradually unfurling and starting to stretch out their arms and legs.
Special photo-opportunities up to 8 weeks old.
Your babies newfound awareness of shapes, light and your face result in some highly connected portraits. You are your babies whole world and he/she will now look at you as such. These moments of early connection are some of the most awe-inspiring images you can record at this age.
They also love bold shapes and contrast, such as my camera lens; allowing me to get some gorgeous moments where your baby will look directly at my lens resulting in some highly engage portraits.
When considering the best age for newborn photography, it’s important to note that you can also still pose an older baby after the initial 14 day newborn window. Babies up to 6 weeks old can still be curled up on their side or on their tummy. It will just take a little more care and patience to get them off to sleep and to get them to remain asleep.
From 2 – 5 months Old
Babies are smiling intentionally from around 8 weeks old and begin to enjoy this warm interaction with others. They are beginning to form a sense of character too, making this a lovely time to record early aspects of their young personality. They will reach out for you and begin to hold toys.
Interactions between you and baby will become more animated and rewarding as you get more response and feedback from your baby.
They are also filling out and growing lots, so they are beautifully chubby. Babies cheeks and eyes positively glow at this age when they smile at you.
Special photo-opportunities from 2 months old.
From 2 months old babies love to be photographed on their tummy interacting with me and my camera. We can achieve these shots as part of a family shoot at home or outdoors.
Capturing the interaction between parent and baby is especially key to this age group. We can capture lots of hugs, playful moments and have them laying on their back kicking and generally enjoying time with you.
Babies are ready for outdoor shoots from 2 months old, as they are more robust to cope with being outside for longer periods in varying elements. They are also animated enough for lots of interactive shots, which offer more scope for outdoor shoots.
From 6 months Old
From 6 months old your baby will start to sit up and this is the biggest milestone you will anticipate, from a photographers point of view, with even great animation and interaction.
They will have lots of different facial expressions to share and may even enjoying mimicking your clapping and baby babble chat. They will stretch their arms out to their sides or in front of them as they work hard to keep their balance.
But time this phase carefully! As before you know it they will lean all the way forward and move quickly to the next stages of crawling and pulling themselves up onto furniture….and then they’re off!
Special photo-opportunities from 6 months old.
Sitting upright in one spot on their own or in your lap. At this age it’s worth shooting lots of sitting portraits at a single session to record as many of your babies lovely facial expressions as possible.
Including a favourite teddy bear or book creates an extra layer of engagement and interaction in front of the camera.
Tummy time shots are still wonderful to achieve at this age as they will be pushing themselves up even more and may even be able to give you a wave and lots of big chubby, shiny cheek smiles.
From 8 – 11 months old
Crawling and surfing furniture become babies biggest past times at this age. They are now ready to explore everything; everywhere!
Special photo-opportunities from 8 months old.
Babies at this age are becoming very fast on their hands and knees so you will need a fast and patient photographer like me!
We will capture baby showing off their new skills, standing on their own holding on to low pieces of furniture indoors or logs and benches outdoors and crawling in indoor or outdoor spaces.
We will also capture you holding babies hands walking and carrying them and encourage them to reach out and interact with their surroundings and other members of your family group, as they are so intrigued by their surroundings now that they are up and on the move.
1 year old.
This is a lovely age to photograph your baby. They have reached their first birthday which is enough cause for celebration in itself. They will be standing confidently and may begin to take some early tentative steps, or will do soon after they turn one.
Special photo-opportunities from 1 year old.
Photographs of you with your baby taking their very early tentative steps are amongst the most beautiful memories to capture at this age. We will of course also capture your 1 year old standing or walling on their own and exploring their surroundings, both with you and independently.
At this age we can start to play some fun games at your photography session. Peekaboo is great fun at this age with your one year old.
Standing and walking. Similar to crawling or surfing babies, we will photograph them on the move but aim to achieve a still portrait of them at this age too.
Sometimes getting them to stop for long enough might involve some distraction or containment. Kitchen sink photo shoot (lots of fun, especially with lots of bubbles!); Cake smash or a messy play session (your 1 year old will especially love this); A helium balloon on a piece of string (or pop them in a basket full of balloons!) or blow lots of bubbles to keep them entertained in one spot and looking upwards.
We will be sure to get a close up shot of their first pair of fitted walking shoes too.
What is the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots if your baby is born premature?
Premature babies will remain in the early newborn phase for longer. You can expect them to move out of the early newborn stage around the same time as other babies from their actual due date, rather than from the date when they were born. So expect to have a little more time if you are wishing to have a photographer take photographs of your your newborn baby.
As your Prem baby grows up in their first year, they are likely to meet milestones at their own pace. Whilst some Prem babies might go on to meet milestones at similar ages to babies born closer to their due date, others might take a little more time to reach these milestones, so when considering booking a photographer contact them for a chat and an understanding photographer will offer you some flexibility in their calendar, if there is a particular milestone you’d like to have them capture.
What is the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots if you have had a Ceasarean birth?
If you have a planned or emergency Ceasarean Birth you can expect to be feeling less mobile in the early weeks. But don’t let this put you off if you have planned to have a newborn session.
Every newborn session I attend is planned entirely with you and your baby in mind.
Your session will be pitched at your comfort zone and we will achieve beautiful images of you and your baby without you having to lift and move your baby around or sit in awkward or uncomfortable poses. Instead, we will work gently and slowly, at your pace, and, at babies pace. We can achieve beautiful portraits of you together whilst sitting, standing or lying down, whichever is more comfortable.
And don’t forget I am a trained newborn photographer and I have handled hundreds of babies during my time as a newborn and family photographer so your baby is in safe hands when it comes to photographing them on their own. So in these moments, when I am arranging your baby for these photographs, it’s a great opportunity for you to sit back, relax and enjoy a little break.
If you’ve had a caesarean and are experiencing a particularly difficult recovery, then do of course think about delaying your photo session for a couple of weeks.
So what is the best age for newborn photography and older baby photoshoots? And, how do you choose?
Weigh up what works for you.
How comfortable are you feeling after the birth of your baby? How many shoots will work for your budget? What else is going on a the time of your babies birth? Are there siblings to consider too?
Many of the families I work with will book 2 sessions within their babies first year. It might be a newborn session followed by a 6 month or 1 year old session.
Or, some families will simply book in at 3 months old and then again at 1 year old.
However, if you can only have one session, then I would always encourage you to have a newborn session, as I explained earlier in my blog, within my style of newborn photography this type of shoot isn’t only limited to the first 14 days of a babies life.
A newborn session is manageable up to around 6/7 weeks old within my photography style.
The Newborn period is the most fleeting time and for most new parents it really does disappear in a blur. You have a lot to contend with as new parents so it’s worth hiring an expert to capture those first early moments for you.
Ready to start planning your baby’s first photoshoot?
If so, I recommend you book in for a no-pressured chat over the phone so you can find out for sure if I’m the right person and photographer for you. Click HERE to fill in my contact form requesting a phone chat today or you can simply give me a call now on 07903772960.
And whilst you’re here….
Take a look at my very special Newborn offer, just for you!
BOOK A NEWBORN SHOOT AND RECEIVE A FREE MINI MATERNITY OR SITTING UP PORTRAIT SHOOT PLUS A COMPLIMENTARY FINE ART PRINT.
PURCHASE BEFORE 7TH SEPTEMBER 2021.
FOR SESSIONS VALID UNTIL JULY 2022!
Sarah Angel is a professional newborn and family photographer based in Farnham, Surrey and photographs families across Greater London, North Hampshire and Surrey. She is Fine Art trained and holds a 1st class honours award in Photography. Prior to establishing her family photography business, she worked in education as a Secondary School Art and Photography teacher, for 20 years. She continues to teach, running photography workshops for adult beginners, in the Farnham area.