Time flies during your baby’s first year and they change so much from month to month. Which is why monthly baby photos are so important. While your photographer would love to have you book a session every single month to capture your little one as they grow, it’s not realistic. As an alternative, many moms will take their own monthly baby photos.
How many of us start off with big plans on capturing that milestone photo of our newborn baby every month during the first year? How many of us actually complete that daunting task that we entered into with such enthusiasm? Not me, and I’m a photographer! I am on baby #4 and he’s the first one that has gotten past the first month’s baby photo. Life gets busy and we quickly pass that monthly baby photo session on to the next day’s to do list. Then before we know it, they are another month old. So, I want to help you stay on track with 5 helpful tips to capturing your baby’s monthly baby photos.
Keep your set up cute but simple so that it doesn’t become such a chore every month.
Using a simple and consistent set up will keep it easy to replicate each month.
Use a clean background that is big enough for growth if you’re shooting on the ground. Some people will use a chair from the nursery as their background, but a blanket on the ground is also a simple and easy set up.
Find a way to track their age. I used blocks from the dollar spot at Target.com, other options are the age stickers-one month, two months, etc.
Choose one item to compare growth each month: a teddy bear, an item from the nursery, a book, a hat, etc. I chose to skip this step to make it even easier for when the baby gets big enough to wiggle around and make it harder to fit another item in the picture.
NO FLASH!!– Natural light is most flattering. Choose to shoot in a well lit room or next to a window.
Take the photo in the exact same spot at the same time of day (11am-1pm).
Using the same spot will keep your lighting consistent from month to month. I recommend placing the baby next to a large window if laying on the ground or facing the window if sitting up. PRO TIP: do not point the baby’s face toward the light if laying on the ground. This causes unflattering uplighting. Instead, place the baby so that the light is coming from the side and falls across their face (see photo below).
Try to shoot only on sunny days.
Remember to stand in the same position so that you are getting the same view each month.
Keep clothing color scheme somewhat consistent. This will help if you decide to do a photo collage later. I decided to go with the colors from our nursery and I plan to display all the images together in a collage for his first birthday party. Afterwards I will display it in his nursery.
Shoot fast and take tons of photos. Babies tend to change facial expressions quickly and you don’t want to miss a good one! Also, keep in mind that they do not have to smile in every photo. If you plan for a smile every time, you are setting yourself (and your baby) up for failure which gives you another excuse to bail on next month’s session. I also take two different views just incase I cannot get the same view the following month or if I want a different look for displaying all the photos at the end of the year. One FULL BODY and one CLOSE-UP.
Don’t stress. We all know babies sense stress. If its a bad day, hold off and try again tomorrow. You do not have to shoot on the exact day your baby turns another month old.
PRO TIP: to avoid a dark shadow on the side of the baby opposite the window, use a reflector to bounce light back onto the baby and fill in the shadow. If you do not have a reflector handy, use a white sheet, white blanket, white curtain, white towel, etc. Or simply do what I did in the next photo and use the changing table pad so you do not need an assistant to hold it for you!