Newborn Photography – How to Photograph a 7-week-old Baby
Emma and Eamon brought their gorgeous, 7-week-old baby Finnigan, into the studio for his newborn photography. I’ve photographed Emma and Eamon quite a few times now; first at their wedding, and then when their first baby Lochlann arrived. And recently they dropped in for their second baby Finnigan’s newborn photography.
Now, Emma and Eamon aren’t local to Brisbane. So, by the time they managed to get to my north Brisbane studio, both their boys were 6-7 weeks old. And some photographers won’t do newborn photography at this age. The “ideal” age for newborn photography is typically by 2 weeks of age. This is when babies are sleepiest so, from a newborn photography perspective, it’s much easier to pose babies into those adorable squishy poses. It’s also when your baby is tiniest so it’s a lovely memento of those first few weeks when baby is so little.
However, it’s not always practical for new parents to venture out in those first few weeks. Particularly if, like Emma and Eamon, you’re traveling interstate for your newborn photography. And while photographing a 7-week-old baby can be a little daunting for some photographers, newbron photography for older babies can be done with great success!
If you’d like to book a newborn photography shoot, please drop me an email here.
Here’s some tips…
Photograph Baby Awake
Forget about the sleeping photos that are typical with newborn photography in the first 2 weeks. While the sleeping shots are gorgeous, the awake photos are just as good! And honestly, I prefer the awake ones as they show the baby’s personality. So many parents have told me how much they love the photos with their baby’s eyes wide open or pulling funny faces. So, don’t stress if a baby won’t settle. Just pick up your camera and get those funny baby faces.
The Sleeping Baby
However, it’s still possible to get those sleepy poses even at 7 weeks-of-age. Because babies up to 3 or 4 months of age STILL need 14-17 hours of sleep in a day! So, chances are the baby will be ready for a sleep during their photography session.
Babies Hear Everything
By 7 weeks-of-age, babies are aware of all sorts of sounds. If your studio is in suburbia, the baby can hear the neighbours mowing the lawn, the barking dog next door and the noise from cars driving by. So, a great tip for your newborn photography session is to use some background noise. There are many options available from White Noise apps for your phone to a White Noise Sound Machine from Amazon. This machine offers 7 soothing sounds such as White Noise, Storm, Rainforest and Ocean all designed to help you help settle the baby.
There’s also a range of toys that help to soothe and settle a baby. From cute stuffed animals, to dolls, to fluffy owls and vaporisers. The list is long! So if you’re looking for something to calm a baby during newborn photography, check out this list of cute products here.
It’s A Wrap – Newborn Photography
Another great trick for photographing an older baby is to wrap, wrap, wrap! By keeping baby wrapped during the newborn photography session, you’ll have greater success at settling baby. And again, it’s a great opportunity to photograph baby while he or she is awake, without worrying about flailing arms or legs. It also helps to keep baby warm which, as any good newborn photographer knows, is one of the most important tips of newborn photography.
Keep Baby Warm
Because babies cannot regulate their own temperature, it’s important to have the studio nice and warm. Particularly if you’re planning on photographing baby with little or no clothing on. The ideal temperature for newborn photography is a toasty 24 degrees Celsius. I have a reverse cycle air-conditioner in my studio which I’ll have set on heating mode. And I’ll adjust the temperature during the session to suit the baby. If you don’t have an air-conditioner, then a small fan heater pointed in the direction of the baby will do the job. Be careful not to point it too close to baby and never near baby’s face. Of course, some babies like it a little warmer but in my experience, if I’m sweating, the baby is usually pretty chilled.
Full Baby = Happy Baby
This one is pretty obvious. A baby with a full tummy is far more likely to sleep or settle quickly. And if you advise baby’s mum to hold-off on feeding baby until they arrive at the studio, baby will be nice and hungry, feed better and sleep sooner.
It’s also a good idea to get mum or dad to change baby before feeding. This will wake baby up in preparation for feed time, but also make sure baby is clean and comfortable for their newborn photography session.
Timing Is Everything in Newborn Photography
Schedule your newborn photography session for the morning. Most babies are sleepiest first thing in the morning. Particularly if they’ve had their parents up all night! And because a newborn session can last up to 3 hours, it gives you time to finish before the parents have to collect older siblings from school or kindy.
Be Realistic About Newborn Photography
Make sure you set realistic expectations for yourself and for the parents if you’re photographing a 7 week-old-baby. It’s impractical to think that a 7 week-old-baby can be posed the same as a newborn baby. The average weight of a 7 week-old-baby is anywhere between 5kg and 6kg. Now, compare that to the average newborn weight of between 3kg to 4kg and that’s a big difference.
Newborn props are designed for small babies so don’t try and pose an older baby the same way. Choose your bigger props and ones that don’t require an older baby to be in a curly position. Newborn babies are generally more comfortable in a curled-up position but this changes as they get older. So be sure to pose older babies in positions appropriate for the baby’s age, weight and length.
Newborn photography must always be safe! This is of utmost importance. Never leave baby unattended, even if baby is wrapped tightly and on a bean bag. Older babies are more likely to move so just like ANY newborn photography session, if you must leave baby, always have a parent or assistant with their hands on the baby.
And as with any time you’re handling a baby, make sure the baby’s head is always supported. This applies to any props you put baby in. Always make sure there are pillows or blankets supporting baby’s head and neck.
So, there you have it! Don’t be frightened of photographing older babies! If you follow these tips and tricks, you will have just as much success photographing a 7-week-old baby as you do with a 7-day-old baby.
About Alison – Brisbane Newborn Photography
Having a baby? Alison Cooke Photography specialises in Brisbane newborn photography, wedding and portrait photography and is an award-winning member of the AIPP. With over 20 years’ experience in the wedding, family and newborn portrait industry, Alison will capture all your favourite moments! Alison is a communications specialist, writer and freelance public relations specialist. You can view more of Alison’s writing here.