What is a Stork Bite?

Editing Stork Bites Out of Newborn Photos | Captures in Time Photography
What Causes Stork Bites?

I was just reading about editing stork bites out of newborn photos on a photography forum. It seems that many photographers feel differently about this. In talking with parents at the studio, sometimes they don’t know whether the mark should be shown or edited out. They often ask, “What do other parents do”? I thought the subject was worth some exploration and a blog post!

What is a Stork Bite, Anyway?

A stork bite, (also called a nevus simplex, salmon patch or strawberry} is a fairly common type of birthmark seen in a newborn. It is usually temporary. 30% to 50% of babies get them. They are basically just dilated and stretched capillaries under baby’s skin. They can darken in color when the baby cries or there is a temperature change. Because newborn photographers tend to keep their studios warm for babies to be comfortable, they may be more noticeable in newborn images if left unedited, especially for a studio session. Lifestyle sessions in a client’s home aren’t nearly as warm.

It is an old wive’s tale that instruments are what cause these marks. Babies are compressed and pulled during birth and they are just something that can happens due to no fault of the doctor. I remember asking about my own strawberry in baby pictures and being told the doctor was too aggressive with the forceps. Think of how many doctors must have been blamed back in the day!

Should I Ask My Photographer to Edit Them Out?

Because they happen so frequently and are not permanent, I am often asked if I edit them out. I leave this up to mom and dad. There is no right or wrong answer. There is a “natural” trend in regards to retouching in the last few years. Recently, there has been an increase in parent’s preference to leave them than in the past ten years.

Studio or “posed” newborn photography is all about the details, so I do a little skin smoothing and get rid of large flakes, redness, and jaundice if needed.  I want to show a before and after example (below) for my clients so they know what to expect in this case.

In the first photo, you can see Eli’s little stork bite. He’s adorable, I think the image looks just as precious as can be as it is. Because since the redness is usually temporary and the marks will probably fade in a few weeks, about 70% of the time parents choose to have me Photoshop them out. Some parents choose to just embrace them and I completely understand that. You will have adorable newborn photos whether you choose to have me edit the stork bite out or not! I will often send a sample to mom if she is unsure about editing the stork bite out of her newborn’s photos before I edit the entire session.

This Little man’s Session

A little about this particular session. Eli had one head of gorgeous hair and was just precious! I loved the oatmeal and blue tones that mom dressed the family in for their series with the wood backdrop. We had such a great session!

Interested in your own newborn session? See our pricing and booking page for details!


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