Is my baby too old for newborn pictures?

Is my baby too old for newborn pictures?

I often get emails with that very subject line – Is my baby too old for newborn pictures?

Most of my newborn clients book their photography session with me before baby is born, giving us lot of time to plan for the session.  I do get some frantic emails from parents looking for a photographer last minute once baby is born.  These babies are usually a little older, and parents are always worried their baby is told old for newborn pictures.  While each situation can be different, I can explain when a baby is toll old for newborn pictures.

 While some clients book their session early, I do my best to fit in last minute newborn sessions, especially when parents have an older baby and in a panic thinking their baby is too old for newborn pictures.  I do everything I can to get them in for a session, and reassure them they have been misguided that their baby is too old for newborn pictures. There is still plenty of time to fit in new babies for a newborn style session.

The two-week standard, and why a lot of photographers think more than two weeks old is too old or newborn pictures.

Most photographers, really like 95% of them, will only photograph newborn style sessions with babies that are under two weeks old.  Anything above that is seen as too old for a newborn session by many photographers.   The two-week age limit is a common time frame used within the industry, and passed on from newborn photography teachers and mentors onto students.  There are well known photographers both locally and internationally that will refuse to photograph babies over two weeks old.  I feel so bad for the parents that reach out to them, and leaving fully believing their baby is too old for newborn pictures.

Two-week-old babies are great for newborn sessions. They are still super sleepy, easy to pose in traditional newborn poses.  This is why many people that teach newborn photography use it as the date to gauge when a baby is too old for newborn pictures.  New photographers can pose two weeks old easier, and it gives them a standard to use when booking newborn clients.

Some newborn photographers also seem to think that suddenly when a baby passes that two-week-old baby date, the baby is too old for newborn pictures anymore.  That suddenly they are unable to be posed and a newborn style session is no longer an option for parents with little ones. I have had numerous clients over the years reach out to me after being turned away from other photographers and being told their baby is too old for newborn pictures. They were desperate to find someone willing to photograph their baby.

What to do when you have been told your baby is too old for newborn pictures

Don’t panic.  While there are photographer that won’t photograph babies over two weeks old, there are photographers that will.  While there will be some differences, for the most part your baby’s newborn session will look similar to session of two week old babies.

I have photographed babies up to 7 weeks old in newborn style poses.  Some of the poses might have to be modified.  As babies age in those first few weeks, they put on some weight and lose the ability to curl up as tight as they can in the weeks right after birth.  Again, that doesn’t mean that your baby is too old for newborn pictures, just that some minor adjustments need to be made. The adjustments are so minor that most people don’t even notice.

What happens when your baby is too old for newborn pictures

There are times when parents contact me and a newborn session isn’t going to work.  Once baby gets past that 8-week-old mark, newborn sessions really aren’t possible.  A lot of the props used for newborn sessions will get to small.  Another struggle is babies at that age are awake longer, making it harder to get those traditional newborn poses.

As your baby ages, the style of their sessions will change. They will focus more on the different milestone your baby is reaching, as they grow out of the newborn stage and more infant and baby stages.

Here is a break down of what to expect at sessions for babies in the first year.

1 – 7 weeks old: These are traditional newborn sessions.  Babies are sleepy for most of the day, making it easy to pose babies in the popular newborn poses.  Baies are swaddled, posed in buckets or baskets, and in sleepy poses laying on beautiful fabric backdrops.  I also include some great awake pictures, to document all those great baby expressions in the first few weeks.   Read more about my newborn photography sessions at my Northfield photography studio for more information.

8 weeks – 3 months: At this age baby is awake more.  They still enjoy being wrapped, enjoy tummy time, and begin smiling and mimicking facial expressions. Many of the poses are similar to newborn poses, but adjusted to accommodate baby’s growing body and decreased sleeping time.

4 – 6 months: This stage is different for all babies.  I often encourage parents to not get caught up in the month of when we take pictures, but focus more on the milestones you baby is reaching.  It is better to wait a few weeks until baby is able to sit unassisted.  This will give your sessions in the first year more variety and also show the big milestones baby has reached.

7 – 9 months: Babies at this stage are typically able to sit on unassisted.  This is also my favorite milestone for babies.  They are able to sit and crawl, have great facial expression – but can’t run away from me yet…. Because that will happen when they can walk!

10 – 13 months: Babies are up and moving at this state.  If they are not walking yet, they are standing (either unassisted or assisted).  They are even more animated, can mimic things like peek-a-boo and hand clapping.  It’s also a great time to look at doing a cake smash session.  Some parents want to have their 1-year session and cake smash session done before baby’s birthday.  Others like to wait until after baby’s birthday to truly document their baby’s first year and birthday.

Take-aways for when you are told baby too old for newborn pictures

Experienced newborn photographers can pose and photograph babies in newborn poses that are older than the two-week-old cut off some photographers use.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to other photographers when you have been told your baby is too old for newborn pictures.  Get a second of third opinion before giving up in the idea of newborn pictures.

When your baby is too old for newborn pictures, focus on the milestones in their first year and document them.   From tummy time, sitting, standing, and walking – there are so many big things to capture in that first year.

Don’t get hung up on the no you can get if your baby is too old for newborn pictures based on what some photographers say.  Book a session for them at any age, and capture your little one as they grow in that first year.  It really does fly by, and photographs help us remember each stage since they change so fast.

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