When to Take Newborn Photos

September 8, 2022

The ideal time to schedule your newborn photos to be taken is between days 7 and 21. This is a very general rule that applies to full-term babies. If a baby is born 4 weeks premature, this window is adjusted to accommodate time in the hospital, healing, etc. When parents contact me to schedule their newborn photo session, I first ask about their estimated due date. I pencil in the newborn portraits roughly two weeks after that date to allow for some wiggle room with the birthdate. When the baby makes their arrival, parents send over a text or email to let me know!

Why are newborn portraits taken between one and three weeks?


There are a few reasons this is the perfect time. Birth is a major event for mom and baby, and having some extra days to heal is crucial. Waiting until at least a week or two after birth gives mom time to physically heal from delivery, especially if she had a cesarean or difficult birth. The baby needs time to recover as well. Babies sometimes get bruising or swelling of their face if they spent a lot of time in the birth canal. Giving them a week or two after delivery can help that fluid to go down. Overall, it’s just more comfortable for everyone if we allow for at least a week of recovery before attempting your photo session.

newborn boy in womb pose during newborn photography session

Feeding schedule

Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, there are a few reasons why waiting to photograph newborns for a couple of weeks is helpful. Breastfeeding moms have to wait for a few days until their milk supply is established. Before that time, babies want to cluster feed and are less satisfied overall. Full bellies and sleepy, happy babies during these sessions are the goals!

Carmel Newborn Photography


Babies are curled up and flexible while in the womb. They retain that flexibility and are very comfortable going right back into those curly poses in the first weeks outside of the womb. If you have had or been around newborns, you know they like their knees tucked up right by their bellies. Give them a few weeks and those legs stretch right out with all their new room! If we schedule the newborn portraits during those first couple of weeks, babies easily return to those womb-like poses.

newborn wrapped in basket during newborn photography session


Am I right? Let’s not jump immediately from giving birth into having to get ready and show up somewhere on time! Give yourself a week of rest, sleeping when you can, and wrapping your head around showering before noon! I’m gonna give you a little heads up. It is likely that you will not want to have your session the morning it’s scheduled. Something may go wrong before you leave home, someone will get their outfit dirty, the best planned schedule will be foiled somehow, it’s almost inevitable! But let me also tell you this – you will not regret getting out the door and having those newborn photos taken. However hectic that morning is, you will love watching your little one beautifully wrapped and posed. The session is designed not only to give you gorgeous and timeless images, but also to help you sit back and admire this beautiful new life.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to when newborn photos should be taken, some babies can be within that ideal window and not want to sleep much for a session. Some babies can be weeks older than ‘ideal’ timing, and sleep like champs! I have done newborn portraits as late as 6 weeks and had wonderful sleepy babies that liked being tightly swaddled and curled up, and two week old babies that were picky about their positioning and woke easily. Schedule your newborn photos and choose a professional that you trust will give you the best experience and chance of having those gorgeous, sleepy, curled up newborn portraits you can treasure!

newborn boy on olive green wrap during newborn session

Contact me to schedule your session!


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photography + design by Jessica Johnston © Jessicajohnstonphotography 2023

follow along @jessicajohnstonphoto

photographing babies and families in Noblesville, Carmel, Westfield, Fishers and Indianapolis