Professional advice giver, amateur advice-taker, twin mom, and delightful family photographer serving Chicago and Oak Park, IL.
Hi, I'm Rossie (like rosie)

You are starting to wonder about how to time your newborn session. It can be daunting to think about getting photographed with your new baby just days after they are born. Preparing for a photo shoot can feel overwhelming, whether you are a new or seasoned parent. Here are some helpful tips to help you decide when is the best time to get photos with our new baby. I suggest you contact a photographer well before your due date or just after the birth, but no worries if you are reading this with your one-month-old in your lap. Ultimately, the best time to book your newborn session is when you can make it happen, but there are benefits to each stage. Read below to learn more.

Fresh baby

Hospital newborn photos are usually referred to as fresh 48s because your photographer will show up at your hospital or birthing center within the first two days of your child’s life. They will likely be the first person outside of your immediate family to meet your baby!

Document all those very first moments.

Your baby will never be this small again! These sessions are all about documenting those baby details that you promise yourself you don’t want to forget, but you’ll be in such a haze that you inevitably will. Think crinkly baby skin, umbilical cord, baby in a hospital kimono and bonnet, or sleeping in the hospital bassinet. Your photographer will also capture those first moments together as a growing family like the first diaper change, first bath, first attempt at swaddling, first family cuddle, and meeting the siblings. Parents love to use these photos for their birth announcements. Most big hospitals have a photography service you can use for these photos, but I recommend finding your own photographer to ensure you get photos that match your style.

newborn baby stretches out with umbilical cord exposed.
Mom and dad snuggle their firstborn in hospital room.
Mom and dad snuggle their firstborn at Prentice Women’s Hospital
father sniffs his newborn while mother looks on

Timing your newborn session: your baby’s first two weeks

The first couple of weeks of a baby’s life is a magical time. Yes, you might be a little tired, but you are likely not sleep-deprived or overwhelmed yet. There is also a chance you’ll be riding high in that euphoria that comes from the early stages of this new phase of your life. The benefit of getting your first family shoot completed early is that your baby is still quite sleepy and unfussy. This means there is more flexibility in the types of photos you can get. When I photograph my new families I generally keep the parents in most of the portraits and I let the baby pose themselves. Once in a while, though, parents will have a request for a specific photo and I have a better chance of accommodating that request when the baby is pretty much happy as long as they are comfortable and fed.

In this phase, everything is still so fresh and new. It’s the next best thing to getting hospital photos if you want to capture your little one’s smallest details.

week old baby lays on her fathers chest
newborn baby curled up on bed
mother gazes lovingly at her newborn daughter
newborn baby yawning

Timing your newborn session: your baby’s first month

You’ve started to hit your stride, and you and your baby are better acquainted. You have a handle on home life, and things don’t feel as unpredictable anymore. Your baby is eating well and has started to fill in a bit, but they are still quite small.

This is a great time to get newborn photos if you have other children to include in the family session. It can take some time for siblings to acclimate to life with a new member of the family. After the first month, they will likely have started forming a bond and are comfortable holding or snuggling with their new sibling. Bringing a baby home can be challenging for little ones who are not used to sharing their time with you. This is an excellent opportunity to get some individual time and photos with each of your children.

infant boy dressed in long sleeve onesie and thigh high socks
father gazes down at infant son
mother snuggles newborn son.
Mother, father, and daughter bond as infant girl looks directly camera.

Timing your newborn session: the second month and beyond

You spent all your time and energy preparing for your baby’s arrival that you didn’t think to book a newborn session while you were still expecting! Now your baby is developing those luscious rolls, and you want to hire a photographer before more time slips away. Not to worry! It is never too late to invite a photographer to your home for a family session.

Benefits of a family photo shoot with older newborns and infants.

By this point, you are in a pleasant grove. Both parents feel more confident in their skills, and your baby is more alert and might even be smiling! Sessions at this age will have few portraits of your baby on their own, but you will have many moments of connection in your images. Your child’s personality is shining through these months. And while they might be more opinionated about how the session goes, by this point, you’ll have an arsenal of tricks to make them happy.

As with every phase with babies: you might think they are SO big now and it might be too late. Don’t let that stop you from scheduling your family session. When you look back on these photos years, and even months, from now you will be grateful you didn’t let the later timing stop you from documenting this season of your life.

infant baby sleeps comfortably in her mothers hands.
Father holding baby looking at mom
mother gazing lovingly at baby while baby looks on

Chicago in-home newborn family photography by Rossie Schwartz

I hope these tips help you time the newborn session of your dreams! I am a newborn and family photographer in the Chicago area. My work is influenced by lifestyle, documentary, and candid photography. All newborn sessions take place in the comfort of your own home or birthing center. I would love to photograph your growing family if you are in the Chicago or Oak Park vicinities! Reach out today to learn more about my process.

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