Crystal Lee 


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What Is The Best Age For Newborn Portraits?

Apr 23, 2024

There’s nothing sweeter than looking at photos of teeny, tiny newborns all curled up in sweet poses. As a new Mom-to-be you might scouring the internet for cute baby photos and wondering “What is the best age for true newborn photos?”

When should I have my newborn photographed?

This answer will likely vary from photographer to photographer, but the general consensus is that posed newborn sessions should be done within the first few weeks of life.

According to the World Heath Organization, a newborn is a child under 28 days, or 4 weeks, of age.

The wonderful thing is, a skilled photographer can take beautiful portraits of your baby at any age! What’s important is having a realistic understanding of what poses are possible at each age.

It is also worth noting that my sessions are baby-led, meaning I will take your little ones lead to determine what poses we can comfortably and safely and safely achieve. Not all babies will do all poses, regardless of age. But rest assured, we will still capture beautiful images of your sweet babe.

1-3 weeks old

In my studio, I offer posed newborn sessions between 7-21 days of life. At this age, your little one is still super sleepy and can easily curl up into those sweet newborn poses.

Posed sessions consist of tummy, prop, and swaddled poses.

If we try to photograph earlier than 7 days we’re likely to run into cluster feeding, which can result in a stressful session for all involved. After the first week baby is more accustomed to eating, not to mention you as parents will have had time to better adjust to life with a newborn and the new sleep schedule (or lack thereof, lol).

While I prefer to photograph posed sessions within 3 weeks, I will accept them up to 4 weeks. Just keep in mind that every baby is different, so after the 3-week window, we’ll have to follow baby’s lead more carefully to determine what poses we can safely achieve. In most cases this means more swaddled poses and less, if any, tummy poses.

3-6 weeks old

After 4 weeks your baby starts heading into “older newborn” territory. This means they may be awake more often and not as flexible or easily posed as their little bones begin to harden. Baby acne also makes an appearance if it hasn’t already.

I highly recommend doing a swaddled session for babies over 3 weeks of age and I will accept them up to 6 weeks. Some photographers will go up to 8 weeks, but I personally do not go that far because after 6 weeks baby is usually too big for my swaddle wraps and has most likely outgrown my newborn props.

Swaddled sessions are a great way to still get “newborn” photos even when your little one is beyond the age of belly posing.

Portraits after 8 weeks

After 8 weeks your baby is what I would consider a “roller.” This is that sweet in-between stage when your little one is no longer a newborn but hasn’t hit that big milestone of sitting up on their own yet. It is certainly not an ideal age for portraits if you want the sleepy, tucked-in newborn look.

I have a whole article about what to expect from a roller session linked below:

Preemies & Multiples

Preemies (babies born before 37 weeks) and multiples (twins, triplets, etc) tend to write their own rules when it comes to newborn posing. In most cases, multiples are born early. Babies birthed before they reach full term tend to be smaller and spend more time in the sleepy newborn phase.

Generally speaking, if the doctor clears your little one to go home then it is safe for them to come in for a newborn session.

The “oldest” baby I’ve photographed was a sweet little boy who arrived at 25 weeks. He was photographed at just under 16 weeks of age (4 months!) after spending much of his life in the NICU.

When should I book my newborn photographer?

Because of the small window we have to take posed newborn photos, most photographers will limit the number of due dates they accept per month. This is why it is super important to book your photographer as soon as possible, ideally in the second or early-third trimester. This is the only way to guarantee that they will have availability when your little one arrives.

Of course we certainly do our best to fit in last-minute sessions, but it is not always possible. It breaks my heart to turn away families when my schedule is just too full, so if newborn photos are a priority for you please remember to book in advance!

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I might be the newborn photographer for you if...

You want bold, true to color portraits. 

You're looking for a detailed but relaxed photo experience.

Safety training and a dedicated studio location are a priority.

You want more than just digital files that will live on a lonely hard drive.

You want an unforgettable luxury experience

Ready to book?
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Let us take the stress out of planning and ordering! You will leave this experience feeling confident and taken care of, instead of getting stuck trying to figure everything out on your own.

Because honestly, you have enough on your to-do list already.