Any day is the best day to photograph your baby, but there are 4 major milestones you don’t want to miss getting photographed as a part of your baby’s first year. Most people think that waiting until their baby smiles for the camera is important but babies don’t smile on command for several months after birth. So instead of waiting for that perfect moment that may not come for quite some time, you’ll want to capture all those sweet moments from the newborn age up to the BIG ONE YEAR birthday.
Newborn (7-14 Days Old)
The first stage in your baby’s life you’ll want to have professionally photographed is the newborn stage. Typically this session is scheduled when your baby is anywhere from 7-14 days old. This is the time when your baby is still in that sleepy, curly stage. Of course, younger than 7 days old is okay but at least waiting 7 days gives mom and dad a little be more time to adjust. And babies older than 14 days can still be photographed as a “newborn” session, but the older the baby gets the less they sleep and the more they like to stretch out (making flattering newborn poses a little bit more of a challenge).
You’ll also want to make sure you feed your baby right before the session – so they are nice and full and ready to sleep!
It’s best to schedule your newborn session when you are about 6 months along in your pregnancy. A tentative session date can be scheduled based on your due date (or your best guess if you don’t know yet).
3-4 Months Old
The next best stage to have professionally photographed is around 3-4 months. This is the time when the baby has a little more tummy time and really starts to develop a little upper body strength. At this time, your baby will have mastered the “baby push up”. Here at Sheila Hebert Photography, I like to wait until the baby is closer to 4 months. Babies are a little bit stronger and will tolerate a little more tummy time. This is also a fun time when they find their feet and it makes for adorable portraits.
6-8 Months Old
Around 6-8 months, your baby will start to sit on their own. At first, they may be a little wobbly, then they advance to the “tripod” stance, and eventually, they’ll be able to sit all by themselves. This is the perfect time for the next photo session to capture that big boy or girl. Babies at this age may also be starting to crawl. At Sheila Hebert Photography’s Baby Bear Sessions (a baby’s first-year photography plan), we like to schedule this session at 8 months. Babies are usually solid sitters at this age and full of smiles.
This is a fun age with lots of personality coming out. Babies also start to feed themselves (or at least try) around this time, which can bring some great expressions during photo sessions as well!
The last major milestone of your baby’s first year is at 12 months as a part of their birthday celebration. Most babies are able to stand at this age (with or without assistance) and sometimes babies are walking by this age, but not all. As a photographer, I do have to confess that I prefer babies at this age who aren’t walking. It just makes my job a little easier lol. But I do love a good challenge so bring on all the 12-month old walkers. Another fun part of a 12-month milestone session is a cake smash. Messy, but oh so fun (and also the reason I have a large single basin sink in the studio bathroom – to give bath babies after cake;).
From the newborn to the first birthday, your baby will make such a huge development, and at no other time will you see so much growth and change – you don’t want to miss one single moment.
And one side note, every baby is different and develops at their own pace. Use the above as just a general guideline and reference, just remember it is not a definite timeline. I’ve photographed babies as young as 6 months who were walking (OH MY), but have also seen babies not take their first step until many months after their first birthday (my own baby included).
If you’d like more information on Baby Bears (my baby’s first-year photography plan), just give me a call or an email and I’d love to give you all the details.