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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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