One look at these newborn portraits, and you can tell that this session went a little differently than most [i.e. he’s awake]. I heard a story not long ago about another newborn photographer whose tiny little client refused to sleep during their portrait session. Eventually, the photographer sent the family home without taking any photos at all. There is some pressure that comes along with photographing a newborn session, certainly. It’s kind of a one shot thing. Families hire a professional to photograph their new little treasure during a very specific and fleeting window of time. New parents are typically exhausted and struggling just to get to the appointment, particularly if they’re first-time parents. As a photographer of these tiny people, you’re definitely very aware of the fact that the newborn session is basically the one chance parents have to capture those newest newborn portraits. You can’t really get the same images with babies that are even a few days older. Portraits of newborns are taken within the first 14 days for a whole host of reasons; one of which, these babies will not curl up in that womb-like position for long. After two weeks, they’re lifting their heads and stretching their legs. In other words, the pressure is on to get those adorable images, because rescheduling within that window might be quite a challenge for everyone. You could say it’s now or never when it comes to newborn photography.
So, when this little one showed up at my studio with eyes wide open and a strong refusal to sleep, I photographed him anyway, wide awake. I tried to make him sleep, of course, but he had absolutely no interest in closing his eyes or even pretending to take a nap. He didn’t arrive until a full week after his due date, and by the time he came in to see me, he was already well beyond the curled stage. He was very alert, and he wanted to lay flat, stay awake, and take in everything around him. He did that, and ultimately we stopped trying to get him to sleep, we photographed him anyway, and the results are the most adorable, personality-driven, precocious newborn portraits I’ve ever taken. These facial expressions of wonder and awe are priceless.
Parents have so many fears around bringing home a new baby, just generally, and bringing a baby who won’t sleep to their newborn session shouldn’t be one of them.
Jennifer Najvar is a Newborn photographer in Austin, Texas. Sessions are scheduled during the first 14 days after your baby’s arrival. The best time to reserve your Newborn photography session is during your pregnancy before you reach 30 weeks.