Over the years, I’ve photographed hundreds of Fort Mill newborns for their first official portrait. I love documenting this for parents with my stress-free portrait process. For more information on when to schedule your newborn portrait session, please visit this resource.
So, I’ve been asked a lot lately about newborn portraits and some expectations from first-time parents that aren’t realistic. So I thought we would do quick myths versus reality post today to walk you through the top three myths.
The Top Three Newborn Portrait Myths
1.) Can We Get a Portrait of My Newborn Smiling?
Can we get a portrait of my newborn smiling? The answer is probably not. I apologize to the first-time parents who have seen my work and think that an adorable smiling newborn is the norm. It’s really like seeing a unicorn and taking a photo. Some days we just get lucky, but the reality is newborns are expected to smile by three months old. That’s normal. And I photograph babies between 5-14 days old. So those adorable smiles you saw are just plain luck. Some babies smile in their sleep, and we get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to click the shutter at the right time. Most of the time, it’s just not possible. Nothing I say or do will encourage a smile from a newborn this young.
2.) Can we Get a Portrait of My Baby Looking at the Camera?
Here again, that milestone is around three months. Why, you ask? Baby’s vision and ability to focus just doesn’t line up with what’s going on in a professional camera. According to this AOA article about infant vision, “Their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to the parent’s face.” from birth to 4 months of age. As a general rule in professional photography with a standard lens, I need at least 3 feet between my subject and the lens to properly get them in focus. That’s at minimum 36 inches. Baby just can’t focus on me at that distance. They may look in my direction, but again, it’s like with the smiles, even if I shoot fast, it’s a lucky shot to get both eyes looking into the camera.
Secondly, babies at this age are very sleepy; just getting them to open their eyes is a feat. Newborns sleep between 16-18 hours a day during the first two weeks.
3.) Why Not Wait a Few Weeks to Take Newborn Portraits?
So now I hear the wheels turning. Why not wait a few weeks and photograph them a bit older or a bit bigger? Here are a few reasons for you.
- Baby acne – ugh, not a fun thing to think about, but it happens a lot, and it starts around two weeks old
- Cradle cap – this is similar to acne but on the scalp starts around three weeks old
- The newborn curl – Eek, so sweet. Honestly, this is what so many moms choose newborn portraits to capture. That newborn curl is the sweetest position and reminds us that our baby just spent nine months inside our bodies growing and becoming a baby.
Baby Sleep Doctor tells us, “Most babies grow out of the “newborn curl” within the first few weeks of their life” sad but true. This is the number one reason I encourage moms to call me before their baby arrives so we can get them in during the precious newborn stage.
The thing is, by three weeks old baby is more aware that we are moving her. She may have acne, cradle cap, or not. But she will sleep less soundly as the days go by, she will stretch more, and if you want portraits like you see in my gallery, they are best created by two weeks of age. The older baby gets, the longer the session may take, and the more post-processing is required to remove acne. Post-processing takes time and increases your costs for a newborn session.
Your Fort Mill, SC Newborn Portrait Photographer
I feel lucky to meet and photograph your sweet baby! I get to relive the precious newborn stage over and over again. To create the best experience for my clients, I can only take on a limited number of newborn sessions per week. I would love to be your newborn photographer. Just send me a message here to schedule a time to chat or to schedule your session. Tell me did you find these newborn portrait myths helpful? Please let me know in the comments.