Leah O'Connell

client tips, favorites, newborns

When to take newborn photos

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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Between hanging over a toilet, planning a registry, and setting up the nursery, it starts to really sink in that you’ll be joined by a little human soon; it’s special, unique, and a complete blur… so let’s talk about when to take newborn photos with that miracle you’ve been longing to meet for the last 9 months.

The best time to schedule newborn photos is when you’re still pregnant, usually around the middle of your second trimester or early third.

This guarantees a spot on my calendar for around the baby’s due date so I can plan accordingly with my client load! We’ll set a tentative date around then, and once baby is actually born, I simply ask parents to reach out a let me know so we can nail down the specific date and time.

newborn photos in charlottesville with dog

Do newborn photos have to be taken within the first 2 weeks?

A lot of photographers will say that a session within the first 2 weeks is a must, but I’m more flexbile. To me, anytime within the first month is ideal for scheduling a date for your newborn photos if it allows you to feel more comfortable and settled. Babies change so rapidly in those early weeks; they also tend to develop baby acne and cradle cap as the weeks go on and can get more restless the longer they’re out of the womb, which is why many photographers will suggest shooting as early as possible.

But none of those things are show-stoppers in my book. I’ve seen and worked with babies who have colic to babies who have severe acne or eczema, and everywhere from the first 48 hours to 3 months old.

Babies are beautiful and perfect just the way they are, so don’t let the exact timing stop you from saying ‘yes’ to heartwarming newborn photos with your little one.

3 month old baby for newborn photos at home getting a sink bath

What if I’ve already had the baby?!

That’s okay! You can still reach out and it’s likely I’ll be able to work you in. I work with lots of families and babies, so I make a point to leave margin in my availability for things like weather-related or sickness reschedules. Planning ahead is always prefferred, but sometimes it’s hard to believe just how much you’re going to adore that little squishy babe (or how quickly they change!) until they’re on the outside 🙂

charlottesville va newborn photos with mom holding baby at home

I don’t know how I feel about being photographed that early post-partum… can the session just be of the baby?

Oh mama, I hear you. But that’s a hard no. You worked and labored to grow and deliver this child. You (and your partner!) are a part of the story of life. A crucial part.

My job is to show you the beautiful detail of that truth, make you feel amazing, supported, and awake (I know it’s hard on 2 hrs sleep!) to your stregth and beauty.

For that one hour we’re together and every time you look at the final photos.

Lifestyle newborn photos at home are so approachable and low-key – if you’re not ready when I first arrive, hand the babe off and finish your make-up with a cup of hot coffee. I promise, it’s happened before and I love it. No packing bags and trying to rush out the door for an appointment. Whew.

close up newborn photo details of baby skin

All my newborn sessions include the whole family – siblings, pets, and grandparents are all welcome. Not everyone has to be involved the whole time, as we’ll do lots of breakdowns of different groupings – including baby by him/herself. Transitions for feeding, diaper changes, getting some fresh air, or warming up your beverage are all natural and expected part of the flow during sessions at home.

I’ll provide what-to-wear advice and even links to shop recommendations for items that photograph and fit well in your early weeks (and beyond!). It will feel good to get dressed in real clothes, shower, and put some makeup on (promise).

In my sessions, we’re not going for glamorous or fancy – just feeling like the best version of yourself. That’s sometimes hard to do in this season, but it’s my job to make images that seal that confidence and self-love in place. Trust me, you (and your babies!) will be glad you were in the frame.

newborn photos in charlottesville with sibling and mom laying on the bed holding baby

Think we could be a great fit to create heartwarming, natural newborn photos together? Reach out here to get the ball rolling!

close up of newborn baby boy sleeping on a bed

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.