This post was last updated March 15, 2023.
A newborn photography session can be a great way to capture those first few days and weeks of your child’s life.
Maternity photos weren’t for me, but getting professional photos of my child during the newborn stage was really important to me.
This was my first baby and I knew I wanted to capture as much as I could from the beginning.
For my husband and I, it was fairly simple to find a newborn photographer as I knew our wedding photographer did sessions and that I wanted to go with her.
But for others, it can be a struggle to even determine if a newborn photo session is the right or not.
So, to help, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of newborn photography sessions along with some tips to keep in mind throughout the process.
If you already took newborn photos, I encourage you to look into using The Short Years for your child’s baby book. I used this for our daughter and loved it.
But, if you are still on the fence about newborn photos in general, keep reading to learn more!
PROS OF A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
1. Professional pictures of your newborn that you didn’t have to take.
You just had a baby. The last thing you should be worrying about is taking pictures.
Time is fleeting in the newborn stage and before you know it, your baby will be opening their eyes more, rolling, walking, and soon they won’t even be a baby.
Combine that thought with all your loved ones asking you for pictures and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with making sure you capture those newborn moments especially.
That’s where hiring a professional can be a lifesaver.
My newborn photography session was right around the time she was two weeks old, and then it took about two weeks to get our photos back.
Since her newborn photo session was at the beginning of November, it was so nice to be able to take those professional pictures and print them onto a Christmas card to send out to all our friends and family.
It essentially became a newborn announcement too in addition to a Christmas card!
If we didn’t have professional newborn photos taken, I probably wouldn’t have even done a Christmas card, let alone a newborn anouncement.
2. It’s a great opportunity for family photos in addition to newborn photos.
Newborn photography sessions aren’t just about the newborn; they are about the entire family.
And, if it’s the first baby, it’s about a new family that has just been born too.
Having a newborn session allows you to capture those early moments as a new family, whatever that looks like to you.
If you have other kids, taking newborn photos will allow you to include them as well. By giving them one-on-one time with the newborn you make them feel special too.
And, looking back I think getting pictures of just baby and mom together is such a bonus.
Now that I’ve been a mom for a while, I’ve realized I’m often behind the camera taking pictures. It’s just what happens I think.
It’s not that you are forgotten as a mom, it’s just that you are the one that wants those moments recorded in some way, so you end up taking the pictures.
But, a newborn photo session allows you to get special shots of just you and your new baby together.
3. A good newborn photographer will have props you can use.
A lot of newborn photographers offer an option for either an in-home session or a studio session. If you opt for the studio session, you will get the benefit of all the things that come with that.
Although I loved my in-home session, I can see the advantages of having a studio newborn photography session.
The natural lighting will likely be better. You don’t have to worry about cleaning up your house or the baby’s room.
You also don’t have to buy a bunch of props or things for your photos (like blankets, stuffed animals, bedding, etc.). This will save you both time and money and frankly is just one less thing you have to worry about.
If you have a special stuffed animal or blanket that was passed down to your child or made for your child, you can still bring those and use them in the studio session.
But, overall you don’t have to worry about trying to make things look pretty.
Everything will be set up and ready for you and your baby. That’s a huge plus.
On the flip side of a studio session, opting for an in-home newborn photography session is easier in some ways.
You can snuggle on the couch, in your bed, or in your favorite rocking chair and the photographer will capture all of it.
Maybe you designed a beautiful nursery and you want pictures of that too…an in-home newborn session allows you to get professional shots of anything baby related.
I don’t have a fancy house and we didn’t spend a lot of time (or money) decorating our daughter’s nursery. But, we have some beautiful photos of her in her crib that I really cherrish and would never have captured at a studio newborn session.
Again you don’t have to have to do anything fancy. Less can be more when it comes to photography.
Just keep the areas of your house that you want photographed simple. Don’t worry about props or anything like that. Neutral colors and casual vibes translate best with newborn photography.
No matter what type of session you opt for, I do suggest you get a simple outfit or two (we used an adorable Footed Onesie from L’ovedbaby).
CONS OF A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
1. Newborn photography sessions can be costly.
It’s no secret that hiring a photographer can be expensive. And, if you are in a bigger area, photographers, in general, are probably more expensive.
On the flip side, if you are in a more rural area and don’t have a newborn photographer close to you, there could be travel fees on top of their normal rates.
This is where it’s important to do research and get estimates from different photographers.
Ask some mom friends or family memebers who have used photographers and see what their rates are like.
Then, set a budget.
I really can’t stress this enough, do some “market research” and set a newborn photo session budget.
If you know you only want to spend $100 then you probably need to look a little harder than someone with a $200-$300 budget (yes they can be that much!).
It all just depends on who you want and honestly where you live. But either way, be prepared ahead of time for this extra expense.
2. Not all photographers in your area will do newborn photography sessions.
Every photographer specializes in something. For some it’s weddings or portraits others are landscape and nature photographers.
Not all photographers specialize in newborn photography.
Not all photographers will do newborn sessions and that’s just something you need to keep in mind while looking.
Always make sure you are looking at what the photographer offers as far as services go so you can find the right one for your family.
3. Your child (or children) could not corporate.
Any mom who’s ever tried to take photos of a child before (either professionally or just with their iPhone) will tell you that children rarely corporate when you actually want them to.
And babies are just as unpredictable, especially in those early days and weeks.
Some babies sleep a lot, some don’t sleep at all.
Others only want to be held by mom.
Just be prepared for some added stress…and, maybe some bribery with your other children if they are going to be involved with your newborn session.
Try to have a bottle or boob at the ready for your newborn and some special snacks on hand for the older kids if you have them.
Even better, try to feed your newborn 20 minutes or so before your photographer arrives so that baby is fed and happy (because generally, a fed baby is a happy baby!).
4. You have to get dressed.
After my daughter was born, getting dressed some days was a chore. (And don’t even get me started on showering…).
Everyone wants to look their best for professional photos, but try to remember you just had a baby too!
Wear comfortable, neutral-colored clothing and keep your hair and makeup simple.
I wore a simple, comfy, plush pink sweater with a pair of jeans.
Being comfortable is what matters most.
And make sure you are taking care of yourself too momma.
TIPS FOR A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
1. Do your research.
If you don’t know where to start, do a quick google search in your area to see what photographers appear.
Searching for something as simple as a “newborn photographer near me” should turn up some results.
Read reviews, look at photos on their website, and reach out to get pricing.
If you have a photographer that you love, but you can’t tell if they do newborn photography (ie you don’t see anything on their site), just send them an email and ask.
It may not be in their standard packages/offerings, but could still be something they provide.
Or, they may have an amazing recommendation for someone that does newborn photography.
Regardless just do some research and don’t rush the decision.
2. Reach out to a photographer you’ve already used.
Building a relationship with a photographer is great because they get to know you and your family as well as what you like and are comfortable with.
Additionally, some photographers will offer a discount if you come back to them again and again.
Our wedding photographer offered us a discount and even traveled to our house to take the pictures! It was perfect and a lot less stressful than having to pack up and go somewhere (or meet someone new!).
3. See if you can find a newborn photographer who is also a mom.
This is not a knock on any photographer who is not a mom but still takes newborn photos.
It doesn’t matter if you are mom (or dad for that matter) or not.
But, having a photographer that is also a mom do your newborn photography session can be a blessing in many ways.
If you are breastfeeding it will probably be less awkward if you have to feed in front of the photographer (it was for me when that happened).
Your photographer will also just understand what you are going through, especially if you are a first-time mom, because she’s been there too.
And at the end of the day, she knows what it’s like to give birth. She knows what you are going through emotionally, phyiscally, and mentally. There was just a comfort for me personally knowning my photographer had been there too.
In my experience, a lot of photographers that do newborn sessions are moms themselves.
But, just in case, it’s a good thing to keep in mind if you are trying to decide between different photographers.
At the end of the day, someone who’s also a mom might be a better fit for you.
4. If you are doing a home session, don’t worry about the state of your house.
You just had a baby…seriously, don’t worry about how clean your house is.
Don’t worry about dishes in the sink or toys on the floor from your other kids or the laundry pile that keeps growing.
Try to make sure the baby’s room is clean and the crib is made up. Maybe get a shower yourself that day (but if you don’t, honestly, no one will know).
I promise your photographer won’t care what your house looks like.
And frankly, any good photographer can edit something out of the image if they really need to.
5. Don’t put finding a newborn photographer off!
Like everything in life, don’t leave finding a newborn photographer to the last minute.
First, you never know what could happen with your baby. You could deliver early or late. Or, there could be complications and you could spend longer at the hospital than expected.
You just never know what may happen.
So try to hire a newborn photographer by the the beginning of your third trimester.
Reach out to some photographers and get pricing and check their availability.
They will want to know your due date and then generally will plan a timeframe of +/- a few weeks.
We did our newborn session when my daughter was about 15 or 16 days old.
Looking back at our session, I think it would have been better to do them a little earlier. But, I was completely overwhelmed those first few days (and honestly for many months after).
But, regardless of when you do them, just try to do them early enough. They are newborn photos after all!
Despite the cons I’ve listed, I think doing a newborn photography session is a great investment, especially if this is your first child.
Yes, it can be expensive, and yes, you just had a baby, but you are getting something that (despite the cost) is priceless.
You will never get those first few days and weeks back with your child, and it can be hard to remember what they look like after a while.
But having professional photos of your baby that you can look at forever is truly special.
So, if it’s in your budget, I’d highly suggest doing it.
Did you take newborn photos of your new baby? If not, do you wish you would have? Share your story in the comments below!