10 Tips for Taking Better Monthly Baby Photos

My son’s monthly baby photo was something I looked forward to each month during his first year—both taking the pictures and selecting the ones that would forever represent each monthly milestone. It was always so hard to choose just one!

I put together a monthly photo collage of his first year, and I was blown away after seeing all the photos side by side. Didn’t he grow so much?!

I learned a lot throughout this year-long process, and I’m happy to share my lessons learned with you and what I would do differently next time. I am by no means a professional photographer, so these tips are intended to help you get started. If this is your first go at taking monthly baby photos, or if you’re looking to improve your photos from baby #1 to baby #2 or 3 or 4, give these tips a try!

10 Tips for Taking Better Monthly Baby Photos | Savvy Sweet Life

  1. Happy Baby

    Make sure you have a dry, fed and well-rested (read: happy) baby before you start snapping away. The best time for picture-taking is of course when your baby is happiest and you can capture those sweet baby smiles!

  2. Plan Ahead

    Get everything set up for your photo shoot beforehand. Nap time is the perfect time to do this. Remember, you only have a short window of time for picture-taking when an unpredictable baby is involved. You don’t want to waste any of it getting ready while your baby is quickly growing restless.

  3. Use a Prop for Size Perspective

    You want to have something in the photos that will stay constant for scale so you can see just how much your baby has grown each month. In our case, Baby C’s size compared to the bear and the chair showed his growth.

  4. Less Is More

    A simple background and simple outfit are best so that the attention stays on the main attraction—your baby! Try to avoid anything distracting in your shot that would take the focus off of your little one. I went with short-sleeved onesies in solids, stripes and simple patterns, and I stayed in the same color palette to match the month stickers. Plain white onesies are even easier and would work great as well.

  5. Include Baby’s Age Visually

    There are so many creative ways to display the monthly milestone in your images. You can use stickers (I used these), a chalkboard, a sign, etc. Or you can even add the month in later digitally using a favorite font.

  6. Lighting Is Key

    Use indirect natural light only—no flash, no indoor lights. Place your chair near a window that lets in a lot of natural light, and place it in a way that the light is not shining directly on it to avoid harsh shadows. For consistent lighting, try to shoot at the same time of day each month and pick a place that has great light year-round. My spot in the nursery doesn’t because of a big tree right outside the window, so my pictures varied in color from month to month. That and I left the ceiling light turned on half the time—don’t do this, trust me!

  7. See Eye to Eye

    Shoot at baby’s eye level (not above or below) by sitting right in front of your little one. C sat in the glider in his nursery, and I sat on the ottoman a few feet away so that I was at his eye level.

  8. Photo Assistant

    Have someone help you if possible. It’s easier to take the photos if someone else can stand behind you and be the one to jiggle a toy around to get baby’s attention/keep baby entertained. I only had a helper a couple of times, so don’t worry if you don’t. You can still get great photos working solo!

  9. Snap Away

    Take a lot of pictures for as long as your baby will let you. You can choose the best one later. There were times when I thought I had a great photo but realized later that C was covering up the sticker with his arm or that he was moving and part of the image was blurry. I was always glad when I had plenty of options.

  10. Display Your Hard Work

    Now that you’ve dedicated a year to taking these photos, don’t just let them sit on your computer! I printed all of them out and hung them on a banner to display at C’s first birthday party. I loved the way it turned out for all of our guests to see! I also framed the collage I made and hung it up in the nursery. It’s such a sweet reminder of all the wonderful memories I have of my baby’s first year.

I hope these 10 tips helped give you a good foundation for taking better monthly baby photos. Do you have any other tips to add? Share them in the comments below!

Featured on Manic Mondays by Mommy A to Z

38 thoughts on “10 Tips for Taking Better Monthly Baby Photos

  1. I would also add a note in the planning one to look back at what your child has already worn. With my daughter, I repeated an outfit! So annoying! Luckily, it was one of her weekly photos, so all is not lost in terms of monthly photos, but I could see myself repeating monthly outfits too if I’m not careful!

    1. Definitely, Colleen! That’s a great point. I did always look back at my previous photos before choosing an outfit for this reason and to make sure I chose one that wasn’t the same color as the month before. Otherwise, I probably would have done that too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tips! I’ll have to keep these in mind–especially about lighting! I always forget about ceiling fans and I’m terrible about making sure things aren’t washed out or too dark! Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!

    1. Thank you! I’m learning more and more about photography, but I think I’ll have a love-hate relationship with indoor photography and awful lighting color casts until I really learn to master it.

  3. What a great list! I chose to take a picture every day of my first son’s life and cannot wait to do the same with the second. I even have grand ambitions to put them in the same outfits. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will be the same size, but I can’t wait to try! Thanks for linking up at #MommyMeetUpMondays.

    1. You’ve got that right ;) It’s easier especially to take photos of our babies from our own perspective—looking down on them crawling, for example—but it’s always worth it to get down on their level for a few snaps too. Thanks for reading!

  4. OH great tips here hun for a better photo capture. I have been trying to practice my photography as always in the summer here in the states. I need to really sit down and put it to test. I am always in a hurry these days. Makes not so good photos. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. So glad you thought so, Jenny! I wish I had more time to really sit down and practice my photography too. It’s something that’s always on my to-do list. Hope you have an amazing summer back here in the States!

  5. I have a 4-month-old, and we look forward to snapping his monthly pictures! I have him laid on the same blue blanket for every photo, but I love the idea of an animal or something to keep the size perspective. The tip on natural lighting is so true… it is the most crucial element in a photograph (aside from the subject) in my opinion :)

    1. I loved monthly picture day too! It’s sad not doing them anymore, but I still take plenty of pictures of course :) Many of these tips apply to photographing your baby anytime—especially lighting! So, so important. I’m always happiest with my snaps when we’re in soft or diffused natural light. I swoon over those creamy skin tones!

  6. Great tips! I really wish I had done this starting with my eldest – and for all of them. And I think my kids would just get really jealous if I did this with my 4th baby now. LOL. But I think your tips still will work for other things – like taking a special birthday pic, or something like that, you know? Thanks!

    1. Oh, yes—many of the tips would definitely apply to everyday moments too, Janice! I think you should do the monthly pictures! I always hear that first babies get a lot of special things that future babies don’t, so it would be wonderful to do something like this for your fourth baby! :)

    1. I said this in an earlier comment too, but I really think that Pinterest is responsible for the growing popularity of monthly baby photos over the past few years! As well as the desire to take on a million other crafty DIY-type projects of course ;)

    1. You can still make an awesome collage, Lena! Pick your favorite photo you’ve taken from each month so far and use it to represent that month. For your baby’s 7-month picture, add a stuffed animal or another special prop and then wait to use it again for the year photo. This will give you the size perspective. Even better if you have an earlier picture with the same prop. An unstructured collage is just as beautiful of a representation of your baby’s first year, and you can add the months visually in postprocessing. I hope you’ll give it a go—it’s not at all too late, and it’s so worth it! :)

  7. I did a monthly photo for the first year and put them all in one frame with a matt of small ovals in a circle around one big photo. I put the one year photo in the center. One thing I read that changed my photos is to get close up. Although baby may be wearing an adorable outfit, close up on those chubby cheeks and bright eyes are consistently my favorites.

    1. I can picture the frame you’re talking about. So cute! I love closeup shots of baby too. I recently got a new lens for my camera, so of course I’ve been practicing on my little one, and you’re right—nothing beats those closeup shots of his delicate features and his expressions. Thank you for sharing how you displayed your monthly baby photos!

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