This is a common and great question!
But also something totally not realized by many new parents who may wait till after the baby is born to start looking for their photographer! Sometimes waiting weeks before reaching out. (Oh no!)
I know what you’re thinking, your baby is still technically a newborn for a while right?? I will explain!
I want to start with my closing statement: However old your baby is, let’s talk and plan for the best photos possible!
Your baby is beautiful and NEEDS a first portrait session!
But ideally and hopefully, we can give ourselves the best options and get baby’s photos during the prime age range.
One potential issue with waiting is that many photographers will already be booked. So you may have to spend additional time finding someone. Once your baby comes you will be all theirs, all encompassed, focusing on that cute bundle who needs you so much. Not to mention exhausted! So booking a photographer before you get to this point helps you out tremendously as the task of finding and scheduling is mostly done.
The other is that while your baby is still so new, your baby changes day over day very quickly! I have had more than one mom say she wished she came in sooner. She realized later that she really wanted a certain pose and we tried and tried but her baby was older at this point and wouldn’t settle into the pose she wanted. It is very likely we could have gotten it if they came in earlier.
So the short answer to if there is an age limit? YES! But also, No! …the line is blurred. Let me just say (beg) that you should schedule your photographer before your baby comes, and to come in right away once baby is here.
Parents may be surprised to hear that the age range for the squishy newborn photos they see on social media and on my website are taken between 1 and 3 weeks old!! I KNOW that may sound crazy. It is, unfortunately, the reality though for getting these early precious images.
There are some other factors we take into consideration when scheduling like if born prematurely or if they are eating well, if they have procedures scheduled, etc… age is still a main factor we keep in mind when scheduling.
These images, like the one in the bucket above, or this one here, often require a sound asleep baby who isn’t wiggling around or getting annoyed with me moving their tiny hands! It is not only safer for them to be asleep for these particular shots, but also the only way to position them beautifully without them crying.
Babies of 1-3 weeks also cry, of course! But we can usually get them into a good sleep over the course of a regular session.
I want to quickly reassure you that we can still get great photos of your baby after this time period! But it becomes much less likely we will get the same types of photos you may have seen, or in the same quantity. We will definitely try, but expect a different lineup for an “older” newborn.
We can chat about our game plan!
Babies are like PNW weather!
Here is an analogy that helps to explain: Weather in the PNW. Possibly ’nuff said haha. But imagine you are scheduling an outdoor event. To give yourself the best chance of success, you would probably schedule it for July-Sept, and avoid the wetter cold months like February. Right?
It is true that by chance you could still get rained out in the summer. Or that February miraculously had a really nice day. But even with those off-chance possibilities, it is best to go by the odds and give yourself the best chance of good weather and schedule for the summer.
It is very similar with a newborn. We can do everything in our power to give ourselves the best chance of everything going smoothly, and still have a fussy baby for the photo session for reasons outside of our control. And there is a rare chance we can get newborn style photos with an older newborn. But most commonly it is tried and true that we will see the best success between the 1-3 week age and when they are feeding well.
Newborns who are older than 3 weeks, may sleep great at home. However photo day is always different for baby and they know it! Whether in the parent’s home or at the studio the same scenario plays out where parents are surprised that baby is awake and fussing more than normal and eating more. They are usually at least a bit more fussy during a session and that is true of any age of baby. But usually more so after the 3 week range.
If you had a c-section? This is obviously a trying situation for a new mom or a mom to many kids. We will absolutely wait as long as possible for your photos and give you time to heal and rest and for you and your baby to adapt to the new routine. But we can talk and come up with a plan to help you get these early photos in, even if that means you come back for parent portraits at another time. I also have a large bathroom where you can finish getting ready, so you could show up in PJs even and just relax or fall asleep on the couch while baby has their first portraits taken.
But please don’t stress! (Baby can sense that too haha) However old your baby is, lets talk and plan for the best photos possible! Your baby is beautiful and NEEDS a first portrait session!
-with love, Allyne