When I first started photographing newborns, I quickly learned certain rules how to do it effectively. Newborn photography has a lot of these rules surrounding how it should be executed. They cover everything from setting a proper environment for the baby, to posing, to parent preparation, and more. One of the many rules I had always heard and read was to never photograph a baby older than 10 days old. However, I soon discovered my instinct which told me that not all babies are the same. Some babies are born premature, while others are born past their due date, which truly determines their age. So don’t be afraid to contact me even if your baby has gone past the 10 day period.
So I developed my own set of rules and I’m being more flexible. I think the age can be stretched slightly depending on the circumstances and babies can possibly be photographed up to 8 weeks of age. How come? Well, simply if a baby is born early or premature, this could take their age back. So, in other words, I look at the due date and compare it to when they’re born. I’ve had 4 week old babies sleeping soundly and being the size of a 1 week old baby. And vice versa, I’ve had a 1 week old baby that was bigger and more alert than the 4 week old. That definitely taught me to be more flexible with the ideal age.
Here’s one example of a baby girl that I’ve photographed past the 2 week period. This beautiful baby girl named Freya came to my studio when she was nearly 8 weeks old and she was absolutely gorgeous. Moreover, she was really cooperative during the session despite being nearly 2 months old. Even though she was alert at some points of the session, I managed to capture her looking as if she was just born – still looking tiny, wrapped and curled. Plus, we were able to photograph her with eyes wide open too and that’s a bonus. She was ridiculously cute! Just have a look!
So I pose babies up to 8 weeks of age and can make them sometimes look like newborns. I don’t necessarily recommend going that late with clients, as there are many advantages you have when photographing a newborn earlier. However, this session and a couple similar ones have certainly opened my eyes to the fact that it is okay to try posing a baby after 10 days. I have now photographed many babies up to a month old, and have not yet had any issues that I haven’t seen with “newer” newborns.
I would like to say that staying within the 10 day window does still have many advantages, and I am not saying that the 10-day or 2-week rule should be disregarded. What I mean is that it is okay to experiment and find what works best for your circumstances. In my case, if I must schedule a session more than 10 days after a baby’s birth, I prepare for it accordingly and have an assistant working with me. And for new moms and dads, there is no reason to feel limited to the posed style of baby photography within those first few days when you’re the most exhausted.
What are your tips for shooting newborns and older babies? We’d love to hear them – share with us in the comments!
LIVERPOOL MATERNITY, NEWBORN & BABY PHOTOGRAPHER | RENATA KATE PHOTOGRAPHY
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Adapted from an article by Heather Mohr on “the Clickin Moms”