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As a newborn photographer in Los Angeles, I hear this question a lot: Is it too late for newborn portraits? Since we’ve been through a year of intermittent Covid lockdowns, I’ve heard this question from my clients even more often. I thought I’d do a post to help my clients understand what to expect from a session with an older newborn.
Is it too late for newborn portraits?
The short answer is no, it is not too late for newborn portraits! However, it is worth understanding what to expect from a session with an older newborn. These sessions do not run exactly like traditional newborn portraits, but they have their own magic!
Traditional Newborn Portraits
Most photographers, myself included, prefer to photograph newborn portraits in the first 2 weeks of baby’s life. This is because newborns at this age are more likely to sleep through their session, more comfortable in curled-up poses, and haven’t yet developed baby acne. You can read all about this magic window in a post I wrote about the best time to photograph your newborn.
The majority of the newborn portraits you see in my portfolio and on Instagram are taken in the first two weeks of baby’s life.
I won’t take credit for the term “oldborn”. As far as I know, it was coined by the extremely talented newborn photographer Francesca DB.
I consider an “oldborn” to be any baby between about 4 weeks and 2.5 months. After that, we are creeping into 3-month milestone territory! Photographing an older newborn takes a bit more patience, but the payoff is huge.
What you get from a baby this age can vary widely. Some older newborns will sleep through their sessions, some will be awake the whole time. If you’re lucky, you’ll get both!
I recently photographed this adorable “oldborn”, who was about 2 months old at the time. He was a teeny-tiny baby, so you’d be forgiven for thinking he was only a couple weeks old. However, once you see his engagement with the camera and range of expressions, you’ll see that he was in fact about 10 weeks old. I hope you’ll also realize the magic of having your “older” newborn photographed.
During a traditional newborn session, I try to start with your baby asleep. This is the best way to get through my workflow quickly, with the least amount of disruption for baby. However, with an older newborn, we usually start the session with a well-fed and wakeful baby. This window of time when baby is fed and happy and not yet too sleepy is a great time to capture all their newly developing expressions.
After we get some wakeful images, we’ll try to get your baby to sleep. With a one-week-old I can run through a variety of sleeping poses without the baby stirring. However, with an older newborn we may only get them into one sleeping set-up. This little one was most comfortable on his side and tummy. We were able to get a fair amount of variety before he woke up.
Of course, he was still sleepy, so we swaddled him and put him in mom’s arms. This was the best way to get him back to sleep and made for another round of gorgeous portraits.
As you can see, your portrait session with an older newborn will run a little differently than a session with a two-week old. But, is it too late for newborn portraits? No, it’s definitely not!