How Old Should Baby Be for Newborn Photos? Ideal Age Range

It’s no surprise that newborn photoshoots are becoming more popular. The early stages of a baby’s life are incredibly special, but they pass by quickly, making it important to capture and preserve those memories.

Parents know that those first few weeks are a whirlwind and often become a blur in our minds. That’s all the more reason to take newborn photos so that the memory of your precious little one isn’t blurred with time. 

Most photographers recommend taking newborn photos when a baby is between one and two weeks old when they still sleep a lot and are easy to pose in cute, cuddly positions. Professional photos can be taken later, but the baby will not likely be as compliant and will look older.

In the following, we will discuss all of the basic things to know about a newborn photo session to help you as you begin planning your own! 

When To Take Newborn Photos

Ultimately, it is entirely up to you to decide when you and your baby are ready for your pictures to be taken. Some mothers are ready a few days after arriving home while others prefer a bit more time to settle in.

It also depends on what you expect in terms of the types of photos you receive and what you want them to capture.

Your baby’s age can make a big difference in their size (obviously) and the types of poses and scenes that can be captured during the photo session. 

Best Age for Newborn Photos

When it comes to newborn photos, there is a “sweet spot” when your baby is between 7 and 14 days old.

In their first two weeks of life, newborns will spend long periods of time asleep and will naturally be in the fetal position, trying to mimic being in the womb.

This makes it super easy to pose them in the adorable newborn poses since they are comfortable being all bundled up and they will likely sleep through most of your session, which is super helpful for getting beautiful pictures. 

Is 2 Weeks Too Old for Newborn Photos?

There really is no time that is “too old” for newborn photos. Don’t refrain from getting memories captured just because you missed the 2-week mark. 

Most photographers prefer doing newborn shoots within the first two weeks because that is when the baby’s behavior is most compliant and they are most likely to get those beautiful photos of your newborn all curled up and swaddled.

However, even if you are unable to book a shoot until after your little one is 2 weeks old, you will still get amazing photos!

Your baby may just spend more time awake during the session, and you may have to work around him uncurling and stretching.

It might be a bit more difficult to get the classic “newborn poses” that we all love, but it is still possible to get gorgeous photos!

Is 3 Weeks Too Old for Newborn Photos?

At 3 weeks, you are likely to have the same experience as you would at 2 weeks. Your baby will likely be awake for some of your session and may be harder to soothe for picture time.

By three weeks, your baby is likely to have gained some weight, so the pictures will not capture just how teeny he was originally.

Regardless, it is still worth capturing memories of your little one even if the poses are slightly different than they would be for a baby who is one week old. 

Newborn Photos at 1 Month

Newborn photos at one month are likely to be a challenge. It is doable, but it is not recommended by most photographers.

Not only do one-month-olds spend more time awake, but it is around this time that skin problems, such as baby acne, pop up and cluster feeding is in full swing, making a long shoot difficult.

Many photographers will recommend waiting until 3 months if you miss the 2-3 week window and opting for milestone pictures instead.

At 3 months, your baby will be alert and smiling and have the head control necessary for some ridiculously adorable photos! 

A newborn baby being held aloft by his parents' hands.

What if My Baby Was Premature?

If your baby was premature and possibly had to spend some extra time in the hospital, no worries! You can still get breathtaking newborn photos of your little one.

Most photographers will calculate your session date from your projected due date rather than birth date. This way, your baby has time to catch up and fill out just a little bit for their photoshoot.

So, while your baby may be older than one month when you have the photos done, they will be right on track according to their adjusted age. 

When To Book Newborn Photo Shoot

You will definitely want to book your photo shoot in advance before the baby comes. Depending on the photographer, you may need to book as far as 3 months in advance.

Obviously, no one can predict when your baby will arrive, so your photographer will likely pencil in your due date and make sure their schedule is open and flexible during the first two weeks following your due date.

When your baby comes, whether it be early, on time, or late, you will contact your photographer to set a firm shooting date. 

How To Prepare Baby for Newborn Photos

Before you head off to your shoot, you will want to know in advance what preparations to make in order to have the smoothest shooting experience possible.

Take a look at these tips offered by experienced professionals: 

Sleepy and Hungry!

You want your baby to be sleepy and hungry when they arrive for pictures.

You should begin preparing them two hours ahead of time by stimulating them as much as possible. A warm bath usually does the trick!

Refrain from feeding your baby within those two hours, and try your very best to keep them awake on the car ride to the studio or wherever your photos are being taken. 

Once you arrive at your destination, your baby will be sleepy and hungry. Sounds like an unhappy baby, right? How in the world does that yield beautiful pictures??

You will feed your baby just before your shoot begins. Many photographers include this in your session time; however, speak to your photographer beforehand to clarify their procedures. 

Once your baby is fed and burped, they are primed for those adorable photos.

Once they get swaddled up tightly in the warm, cozy blankets, they will likely snooze for the rest of the session while your photographer works their magic! 

A newborn posed wearing only a white blanket for a photo shoot.

Newborn Photos at Home

It is becoming extremely popular to have newborn photos taken in your own home.

These photos are meant to capture the essence of how life was in the first days after you brought your baby home and to freeze those precious moments in time. 

If you are doing your photos at home, whether on your own or with a professional, keep the setup simple in a spot with lots of natural light.

You will need to think about timing and choose a time of day when there is lots of even light throughout the space — most photographers prefer mid-morning for this type of lighting.

You also need to make sure your home is at a warm temperature so that your baby will not get cold as he is wrapped and unwrapped during the shoot. 

If you are attempting to do your newborn shoot yourself, here are a few tips to help you out:  

  • Have props at the ready! Baskets, blankets, wraps, and stuffed animals are some of the most common props for newborn shoots. 
  • Use a boppy pillow covered with a pretty blanket for the perfect positioning of your baby.
  • Swaddle baby tightly.
  • Keep the poses simple! 
  • Let go of expectations that they will look like they were done by a professional. 
  • Go for the close-ups — capture the tiny hands, feet, mouth, and eyes. 
  • Take the sibling shots first, and aim for candid shots. 
  • Have extra hands on deck to help with your other toddlers while you are taking photos. 
  • Use a tripod to get shots of yourself with your baby.
  • Do your photoshoot in stages over the course of a few days. 

Newborn Photography Ideas

A newborn posed in a metal tub and cute hat for a photo shoot.

If you are booking with a professional photographer, they will likely be ahead of the game on the cutest poses and ideas for your newborn shoot.

However, it doesn’t hurt to search for some inspiration or come with a few ideas in mind. 

Baskets and Blankets

Simple items that you have around the house make for the most adorable and cozy newborn photos.

Wicker baskets, picnic baskets, Moses baskets, galvanized tubs, or cast iron baskets — they all will look stunning!

Add some cushion and color with a neutral-colored plush blanket, and you have the perfect prop for your little one. 

Seasonal Touches

Your photos can have a slight theme, depending on the season when they are being taken. Selecting a color pallet that reflects the season’s colors is one idea. 

Another option is to ask your photographer to throw in some seasonal touches regarding props, colors, etc.

My twins had their photoshoot in October, and our photographer sprinkled some beautifully colored leaves and mini white pumpkins around the basket. It made for stunning photos!  

All the Cute Curly Poses!

Newborns are so sweet with all of their natural fetal and sleepy positions. Capture the natural poses, and do some of your own!

Some of my favorites are the arms-behind-the-head-while-sleeping pose and sleeping with their hands under their little chin. 

In-Home Lifestyle Pictures With Parents

These are a must, in my opinion. I cherish the photos of my husband and I holding our twins when they were so tiny in a natural, simple, everyday living space.

To me, it captures the essence of what it means to “bring home a baby” and all of the emotions and feelings that surround it.  

Close-Ups of the Details

Those tiny details need to be captured so that they are never forgotten! Be sure to get close-ups on the tiny feet, hands, eyes, and mouth. 

Related Questions: 

Should Parents Be in Newborn Photos?

Absolutely! You will cherish these photos that freeze those first precious moments in time.

Take lots of pictures of you snuggling your little one! You won’t regret it for a moment! 

Should Siblings Be in Newborn Photos?

It is up to you! Many families with multiple children choose to include a few sibling shots as part of their newborn photo shoot.

It is a beautiful memory and scene that makes for heartwarming photos. 

Closing Thoughts

If you are on the fence about newborn photos — do it! I have never regretted doing a newborn session for my twins, and I look forward to the day I get to do it again.

Babies are only itty bitty for so long, and the memories frozen in those pictures are priceless!