Snoozing newborn baby in B&W

How do we choose the best date for your newborn portrait session?

Babies don’t arrive like clockwork, so how do we choose a date for your newborn session? Here’s an overview of my recommendations, based on lots of research and on my years of experience. Find out what we’ll do if your baby is born earlier or later than expected:

The 7-10 Day Window, Or 6 Week Milestone

In my experience, the best time to photograph newborns is either:

  • 7-10 days after their due date (when they’re tiny)
  • Six-week milestone (when they’re still small but also more alert and engaged, and starting to smile).
Scheduling newborn photography - 10 days sleeping

10 days from due date

Scheduling newborn photography - 7 days from due date

7 days after due date

7-10 Days

At 7 days old, your baby will have had a chance to settle in a bit, and to grow into their skin a little.

You’ll have had a few days at home to enjoy as a family.

Your baby will have regained most of his/her birth weight.

Any jaundice should have significantly improved.

Your post-partum hormone drop will have stabilised.

“Louise is a professional with a lot of expertise and warmth. She put us, as well as our baby, at ease. We’re really happy with her work, and would definitely recommend Louise.” Arthur

What Happens After 10 Days?

Newborns often have a growth spurt soon after 10 days old and embark on cluster feeding. Digestive gripes and baby acne can kick in.

That’s why I aim to photograph newborns before that 10 day point.

7-10 days means I can photograph your newborn at their most tiny, and at their most comfortable.

Close up photograph of a mother holding her newborn baby's feet in her hands

Weeks 2-5

Weeks 2-5 are trickier – I recommend waiting for 6 weeks.

During weeks 2-5, newborns can go through an uncomfortable phase with skin issues. Digestive problems can rear their heads. Babies also tend to start cluster feeding at around 2 weeks, and to have massive sleeps after these feeds.

It’s still absolutely possible though! Don’t worry if your baby’s already older than 10 days and you’d rather not wait for their six-week milestone (see below).

Be mindful though in weeks 2-5, the windows of opportunity for taking photographs are likely to be short. You may not have as much variety in your set of photographs.

It’s especially worth considering a 3-4 hour session during these weeks. There’ll be lots more time to settle your baby if they’re having a tricky day. Plus you can take more time to sit and relax with your baby in those precious moments of calm.

Two weeks after the baby’s due date

Two weeks after the baby’s due date

“I couldn’t be happier with the photographs Louise took for us. She did a newborn session when our baby was just a few weeks old. Louise has a great eye for detail, and oodles of patience. How she got some of the shots are beyond me. The photographs are so lovely.” Helen

Six Week Milestone

Six weeks is a big milestone for newborns.

Newborns are generally much more settled at six weeks.

Though still tiny and snuggly they’re more alert and open-eyed.

They’re often starting to smile.

Sleep is often starting to really improve, and babies often sleep for longer stretches at night.

You might well be finding it significantly easier. This can also mean more flattering photographs for you!

With siblings, it’s well worth waiting for the 6-week milestone. It gives the children’s bond a chance to really develop. A new baby is a lot for a child to take in, and they will be used to the idea by 6 weeks. Baby cuddles will be more freely given!

Scheduling newborn photography - six week milestone

6 weeks old

“Louise took fabulous newborn shots for us, which we will treasure forever. She is very personable whilst being professional, and very easy to be around and feel natural. The photos are simply stunning; they made me cry!” Vicky

Premature Babies

If your baby arrives early, I still calculate your session date from your due date rather than the birth date. This gives them a chance to catch up a little.

It sounds awful to say, but in my experience, premature babies tend to be a bit straggly and not quite looking themselves yet. Your baby will look even cuter once he/she has filled out a bit!

Early Arrivals

If your baby’s only born a week or so early, see how you feel at the time. Your baby might seem calm, and happy, in which case we can bring the date forward.

If your baby seems a little fragile or uncomfortable, we can keep the date we’d scheduled. This gives your baby time to develop a little more.

Late Arrivals

If your baby’s born late, it’s a good idea to have your newborn portrait session at around seven days old (rather than the usual 7-10 day window). Your baby will be a little more developed and his/her growth spurt might come a little sooner.

Why do Studio Photographers Ask for an Earlier Date?

Studio photographers sometimes specify a date as soon as a few days old, so that your baby will be as flexible and sleepy as possible. This is so they can be contorted into buckets, which requires the flexibility of very new bones!

My approach to photographing newborns is much more natural, so we don’t need to book you in quite so early. Take the time to enjoy getting to know your baby instead. We can take the photographs when it’s more enjoyable for you and your baby.

Postponing Your Newborn Portrait Session

Giving birth is a huge experience, and can take some adjusting to. You might find you would rather spend more time adjusting to life as a family before having your portrait session. You can postpone your newborn session to your baby’s 6 week milestone, or postpone it up to 6 months ahead.

3 months is a good age for baby portraits, or 6 months is a really sweet age for child portraits. See more on this here:

Gorgeous Photographs No Matter What

Babies are each unique, and develop at their own pace.

My years of experience means that I can take beautiful photographs of your baby no matter what mood they’re in, or the exact date of your session.

I promise that your photographs will bring back the love and wonder of those special first weeks.

Newborn baby holding her parents fingers lying on a patterned bedspread

3 days after due date

What to expect