One of the first questions we ask as newborn photographers, is "how old is baby"? Why? You ask! She's a newborn - aren't they all the same?
The Golden 14-day Window.....
Newborn photography (pre-lockdown) had many rules as to what counted as a 'newborn' session. In the world of photography, anything over 14 days was considered an 'elderly newborn', and impossible to get those squishy, snuggly poses of baby sleeping, reminiscent of the womb. Some photographers would even turn down clients after the 14 day mark, as babies start to stretch out, become more alert and less 'compliant'.
So, what's changed?
Since lockdown we as photographers have come to realise that this magical 14 day window is not so magical. We have pushed back sessions weeks (or months!) at a time, and managed to still produce adorable, sleepy, squishy poses of your beautiful babies.
Yes, it takes time. No, they don't all fit into our tiny baby props, or outfits. BUT, with time, patience and practice, a newborn photographer should be able to achieve similar results to a 10 day old, in a 4, 5 or even 6 week old.
Every baby is different, and some 10 day olds won't want to co-operate with certain poses - and that is OK! As a professional photographer we should be picking up on these cues, recognising the rooting signals when baby needs a top-up, and absolutely not forcing them into 'end resistance' poses.
A large number of my images are 'composite images'. (I'll explain those in a different blog). This means that baby is never left to hold their own head, or hung up in a hammock meters above the ground. This imagery is all done in post processing (on a computer, in #Photoshop). The safety of your baby is as important to me as it is to you. So you can imagine, a 6 week old chunky baby may be more challenging to safely pose - and recognising limitations is my number one priority.
So, what happens at 6 weeks?
Since lockdown I have learned to practice the "6 Golden Weeks" rule, rather than the 14 day rule. This means that no parent should miss out on newborn photographs which they will treasure for generations.
With the re-opening of studios this April, I am hoping we do not go through another COVID lockdown. But, we still need to take into consideration isolation periods from exposure or illness - that's where my Baby Package comes in! After 6 weeks, I am still able to photograph babies but they are mainly wrapped images. This means baby is kept snuggled and cosy. We tend to see more eye opening, and get smiles and giggles!
At 8 weeks, they don't tend to like to be wrapped, but will lie flat... The point I am trying to make, is that with the constantly changing nature of babies we need to adapt our skills to meet their demands. Baby is ALWAYS in charge! Anyone who tells me otherwise has either not had a baby or has not photographed a baby before!
You will know when you walk through the door and watch your photographer whether they are experienced, have confidence, and pick up on those cues I mentioned. A professional, confident and experienced photographer will ask how old baby is, but that wont dictate how they pose the baby - they will listen to the baby, feel her wiggles, see her relax and dreaming.
It's all in the details.