Hey everyone…Carly here…your favorite studio Social Media Manager! Today I am writing about newborn sessions! I just gave birth to my daughter Grace in January and now that she is sleeping more reasonably at night I can compose my thoughts somewhat and thought I would share my newborn photography experience with all of you!!!
So it’s nearing your due date….you have been imagining what your little one is going to look like for the past 9 months and you can’t wait to capture these early moments of your newborn. It’s a very special time that you only get to capture once….but now you have the task of not only finding a photographer to capture these memories but figuring out the best time to capture them!
This time around I felt like I was a seasoned pro already going through the process once with my son. I clearly had my photographer already chosen (perks of the job is having a great photographer as a boss!), I had ordered a bunch of cute outfits, and had ideas of the themes and color scheme I wanted to do with my daughter, but when to schedule my session?? Since we are constantly trying to come up with useful blogs for our wonderful readers, we decided to do an experiment of shooting my daughter at 1 week, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks to show and explain the differences in the timing that you choose. So, when is the best age to have your newborn session taken??? Read along and see!!!
We technically did a 2 day shoot at 6 days and 7 days which is atypical but Jeanine wanted to use Grace as a model for some of her new newborn outfits in addition to what I had chosen for her to wear. A regular newborn session is 2-3 hours long. We shot the first day with my family and the second day just the baby. We did the family photos first since she was sleepy. I put her in one of the outfits and we tried our best to capture a nice family photo with her and her 2 year old big brother. Needless to say, this was a rough part of the session. My son ran around like a maniac and she ended up getting pretty fussy so whenever he calmed down she screamed and vice versa. Note to anyone with older siblings – these family shots are going to be crazy and unpredictable and take up a ton of time trying to get everyone looking and content.
After the madness of the family portion, we changed Grace into the next outfit. We got her back to sleep and she was easily posed both on her back and belly (once she was in a deep sleep). She woke up in between each outfit change and would need a new diaper and to be nursed to settle her down. Jeanine had told me this would happen and take a lot of time, but now having experienced it myself, I have a much deeper understanding of what she means!
Overall she slept through most of the session with the occasional meltdown. She was definitely a trooper for her many outfit changes.
At 2 weeks old, we had a work meeting so I brought Grace with me to the studio. Jeanine had an outfit we didn’t get to at the original session so we thought it would be a good opportunity to show the difference between 1 week and 2 weeks. This was a whole other ballgame!!!
Starting out, Grace blew out her diaper in her jammies and I totally forgot to bring a backup outfit (things you forget after being out of newborn stage for awhile). I got her diaper changed and put her in the outfit she was being photographed in. I nursed her to try to get her to settle down while we had our meeting. I was at the studio for 2 hours. She wouldn’t sleep. She wanted to be held and nursed the entire time. She wouldn’t settle down. It took the entire 2 hours and 2 more diaper changes to get a handful of shots in ONE OUTFIT!!! Also, she would not go on her stomach only her back and even then she fussed a long time to settle down. Needless to say this was not the peaceful sleeping baby from a week before. She was still super cute but a bit bigger and chubbier already!!!!
At 3 1/2 weeks we did a lifestyle newborn shoot at our home (future blog alert!). Once again wrangling the 2 year old and the newborn was a challenge but at least we were at home with many distractions to occupy the toddler and the ability for easy outfit changes and to grab props for the whole family. One of the main issues here was the dreaded baby acne. Poor Grace’s beautiful face was all broken out in a ton of bright red bumps!!! Thank goodness for retouching!!! This is typical at 3-4 weeks old so beware if you are waiting this long for your newborn shoot. Although still tiny, she still grew a good amount in a week and a half.
tiny, sleeps a lot, easy to settle, clear skin, curls up in fetal position
A little bigger, doesn’t want to sleep hardly at all, hard to settle, clear skin, doesn’t like being on belly
Even bigger, mixture of asleep and awake, fussy to settle, terrible skin, doesn’t like being on belly
Without a doubt I highly recommend getting your newborn shots done as soon as possible once you are home from the hospital. The difference in the baby is so significant it not only affects your photos but your sanity!!! Haha!
Jeanine’s 2 cents on shooting the different ages of newborns:
Hey guys! This was a fun little experiment to run with baby Grace. Over the past 10 years I have photographed hundreds of newborn babies from 4 days old to 3 weeks old and have definitely found that the younger the baby the better! Personally I think that first week and a half of life, God is giving parents a grace period to get some sleep before the baby “wakes up” … hahaha … whatever the reason I am willing to take full advantage of this to create beautiful sleepy newborn portraits. If you are pregnant and interested in chatting with me about newborn portraits please give me a call! I can answer any questions you may have about scheduling, clothing, preparations, etc. I look forward to speaking with you!