Time and time again, I hear moms ask this question because somewhere along their search for a newborn photographer, someone has told them that their newborn was “too old” for newborn photos. Oy vey. This really breaks my heart. So what exactly is the best age for newborn photos?
I’ll be the first to say that there are many opinions floating around on the topic. Of course, there has to be some type of cut off for these things – right? Right. But do I believe that telling a new mom that her 4 week old baby is “too old” for newborn photos is the right answer? No. Here’s why:
What’s with the 2 week rule?
Oftentimes, you’ll hear photographers say that the best age for newborn photos is 2 weeks old – and that they won’t photograph babies older than that. While I understand the sentiment and rationale behind it – baby is typically sleepier, less alert and more flexible – there is no rule written in stone that says you have to get your newborn portraits done before they’re 2 weeks old.
I recommend getting baby to the studio before they’re 3 weeks old but it’s just that – a recommendation. If for some reason, we can’t, it’s still very possible to get gorgeous images. Will your photographer need to modify their usual workflow? Maybe. Is it impossible to photograph newborn style portraits after 2 weeks? Absolutely not.
There are no guarantees.
The idea that the session could be potentially “easier” on the photographer is a weak argument. There. I said it. Even under the most perfect circumstances, the ideal age, the warm room, mom followed the prep guide to the letter – there is no guarantee that any baby model will cooperate. It’s just the way things are. It’s our job as professionals to take control of the situation and know how to properly and safely get portraits of even the most challenging little client. That 4 week old baby that was turned away could be a better sleeper than any 6 day old baby you’ve ever encountered. Just because a newborn is “older” doesn’t mean the session will be inherently more difficult.
Timelines and recommendations change based on the style of newborn photos you’re after. There is a significant difference in workflow and processes when comparing a posed newborn photographer vs. a lifestyle newborn photographer. Understanding the differences can drastically help you when determining when to have your baby’s photos taken.
This really just eliminates the stress of worrying if baby is “too old”. I will always recommend booking your newborn photographer at least 2 months in advance for a few reasons. First – to ensure a slot in their calendar. You don’t want your first choice to slip through your fingers because they’re fully booked and you didn’t snag a spot. If you’ve already confirmed your appointment, you simply don’t have to worry, just alert your photographer once baby arrives.
If you want to dig into this a little more, check out my blog post detailing when you should book your newborn session here.