A Premier Edmonton Newborn Photographer explains when newborn photos should be taken
This question arises on a regular basis from new parents and grandparents who are hoping to purchase a session. Many are under the assumption that newborn photos should actually be taken when the baby has been home for a few months because they are still small to the parents and things at home have settled down considerably. Because of this assumption, a lot of families miss out on this special opportunity due to many newborn photographers being fully booked months and months in advance. Why do newborn photographers book months and months in advance? Well because we do want the babies to be fresh and under 14 days old! But why? And is that really necessary? We do actually want the newborn photos to be taken at a very young age!
Why 14 days and under work the best for newborn pictures | Edmonton Newborn Photographer
When babies are delivered they are still very sleepy. They haven’t built up a lot of muscles yet and they have not become stimulated by the outside world. However every single day, they become more and more alert. They start growing at a rapid pace and their muscles start to grow as well. Soon they are trying to lift up their head, kick out of wraps and blankets, and testing out the new world that they now come to call home. Their little systems are also working on sleep cycles and they are beginning to learn that daytime is awake time and nighttime is the best time to sleep. As new parents are struggling to cope with the lack of sleep because most babies do arrive with their days and nights mixed up, and tend to sleep a good majority of the day, every new day brings changes. I have had sessions where I was able to photograph the newborn under 14 days old and then the families had to come back at 3 or 4 weeks to do the family portion of the session and the amount of changes in size, alertness and strength was unreal! So to really break things down for you as a new parents, let me get into a few more details.
How newborns under 14 days old differ from older babies | Edmonton Newborn Photographer
When newborns arrive to the studio, they usually arrive sleeping. Not every baby is identical, and most babies have their own quirks. However as a typical newborn session goes, we remove baby from the carseat and get started on the newborn poses. Sometimes certain personality types in newborns will try to let you know they don’t enjoy certain types of poses. Some newborns don’t love being unwrapped or naked on fabric. Some newborns don’t like wraps, and Some newborns don’t like to be on their back or stomach for various reasons. Some might have a little bit of gas, or perhaps like to cluster feed. But for the most part, when a newborn’s problem is resolved, they tend to close their eyes and go back into a deep sleep. If they have a full belly and are comfortable, chances are they will fall back asleep.
When an older baby arrives at the studio, simply taking off their sleeper may wake them up and because they are aware that you are not their mom or care taker they may alert themselves into a frenzy. This isn’t necessarily the case as babies under 6 weeks are generally still ok with strangers holding them and haven’t quite figured out stranger danger awareness. But just a simple act of movements they are unfamiliar with will awaken them enough to have a little baby dance party! They may either decide they want to practice holding their heads up, resisting your movements, or trying to kick free from the poses or wraps that you are trying to achieve. Normally of course this would be amazing because we want babies to meet these milestone achievements and continue to learn new things.
However when a newborn photographer is trying to achieve a beautiful posed newborn session for their client, this can present a large problem. Why? Because babies at this young stage of life can’t do anything other than lay on their backs. They can not sit up, or sit inside a prop, they want to have their arms waving around and generally in front of their faces too! Most props are not technically safe to have a baby in unless they are in a deep sleep and are able to be balanced properly. This balancing act is crucial to safety. We need to make sure that their head and neck are being supported properly and that they will not fling themselves out of that safety zone!
This is actually one of the biggest reasons why I will not pose an awake baby unless they are completely limp and happy to just watch me with their eyes. If they are trying to move all around I will try to soothe them back to sleep so that they can be safely posed for the remainder of the setups. A lot of babies have strong startle reflexes. Sometimes all it takes is their arms or feet feeling a little bit of freedom and then their legs and arms both kick out. This wakes them up and bam, wide awake baby! If we are not able to implement the safety techniques that we can use for brand new fresh babies, then we simply can not do our jobs properly. As a Newborn Photographer, I can genuinely tell you that it is something we strive for – to give our clients the most beautiful gallery possible! When our circumstances are limited to basic poses and basic images, this can lead to a very unrealistic view of newborn photography! Every newborn photographer will have a different method of doing things, but in general we all try to achieve the same results. We all want to provide our clients with a beautiful gallery of memories that freeze their newborn in time. When we fail due to the lack of control over our situation it can result in a feeling of complete devastation. No professional photographer wants to feel like a failure! So we set up limits on ages of babies that we will accept for posed newborn photography!
Controlled Environments benefit the client and the photographers | Edmonton Newborn Photographer
I have now explained why newborn babies photos should be taken under 14 days old. And I want to review quickly with you why we as newborn photographers book only a certain amount of newborns every month. As you know, newborns don’t come on schedule. They may even be booked in for a scheduled cesarean, but that doesn’t mean they will stay put until that date! Because of the unknown day and time of a babies entrance into this grand world, we must be certain that we only book a certain amount of babies per month to ensure that if every single baby that we all had booked that month arrived all within a few days of each other that we could actually guarantee doing their session on time! This is because as a professional, we promise our booked clients that we will positively schedule them in under 14 days old. If we were to book too many babies, and then not be able to fit them in until they were 4 weeks old and harder to pose, how do you think our clients and brand new parents would feel? We would leave them feeling bitter and unimpressed.
It is unethical to book an excessive amount of newborns ahead of time because we just do not know when they will be delivered! Sometimes the circumstances work out perfectly and we are even able to fit in one or two last minute sessions. This is a great opportunity for those that didn’t have a chance to book ahead of time. But because babies are booked so many months in advance, I can tell you from 10 years as a professional newborn photographer in Edmonton, we just want to do the best we can and make sure we can fit all of our clients in on time as promised!
Older babies can still be photographed | Edmonton Newborn Photographer
I don’t want this blog post to discourage you if you were unable to bring your newborn in for a newborn photography session. As you can see from these images in this blog post, that we are still able to provide beautiful works of art for you of that gorgeous little baby! We just must be careful not to over promise what we can deliver. Older babies come in sort of like a gamble. It could either go exceptionally well, or be quite difficult! But regardless of how the sessions go, don’t worry. We are trained for this! We know how to handle babies and we love what we do. I can tell you that being a newborn photographer is one of the most rewarding career choices I could have ever made. Being able to document the growth of your family is something I cherish close to my heart.
I hope this makes sense to you on the reasons behind my answers for when newborn photos should be taken.