Baby E is four weeks old. His tiny, teeny finger nails are still tiny and teeny, and the softest gossamer skin is still covered with the finest layer of downy hair. And yet baby E has become the new born photographer's ultimate challenge because we are about 2 weeks too late.
Colic has taken a grip. It has its claws tightened firmly around E's little tummy. Each time he falls asleep as is laid into position, the pain takes hold and the crying begins. Within half an hour I already know baby E well enough to know that once he starts turning red, our window has closed.
In addition the pain of colic, babies older than two weeks tend to already be less sleepy than in those early days, so the challenge of capturing baby at rest is exacerbated by any delays in organising the shoot. There is also the risk of the onset of those pesky milk spots and other mild irritations that new babies are susceptible to in the first few weeks and months of life.
Whilst a baby is beautiful in my mind at any time, the photography challenge with newborns is to master the art of timing. If you are expecting and thinking of arranging a newborn photo shoot, my advice is to book it before the birth. Many photographers will be understanding and flexible about the unknown quantity that is childbirth, and will happily accommodate date changes if a birth comes early or late, but better to book early and capture your new prize in the first two weeks of their time on planet earth than to be disappointed that you didn't plan ahead and missed the boat.