Way back before Griffin was even born, I was already thinking about how quickly he would grow up and how I wanted to cherish his time as a sweet little baby. (Little did I know just how fast it would go!) One thing I knew I definitely wanted to do was take monthly baby photos. Looking around Pinterest, I saw lots and lots of monthly baby photo inspiration. I was able to learn a lot from ye olde Pinterest about how I did and did not want my own monthly baby photos to turn out. But of course, I learned even more after completing my own year long baby photo adventure.
- Choosing the location of your photos is one of the biggest decisions. You are tying yourself to shooting photos in this spot for the next year. It needs to be in your home – anything else is just not practical.
- Even though outdoor photos are beautiful, they are a terrible idea for baby photos. If you are taking baby photos every month for a year, that includes winter…and summer (obviously). So unless you live where it is perpetually seventy degrees (in which case I am very jealous!) outdoor baby photos just aren’t going to work.
- Choose a well-lit area. Flash photography is not usually the best when taking pictures of little babies. When they are tiny, you really don’t want to be shining that bright flash in their eyes to begin with. Not to mention, a lot of photos taken with a flash end up completely washing out the subject. There’s no way we want to wash out that gorgeous baby skin.
- Be sure to pick a spot with good light year-round. This was my own biggest mistake. I chose to take photos in a chair in the nursery – it gets great natural light in the winter, but in the summer the windows are completely blocked by a huge leafy tree. Which is why my middle month photos are much grainier/darker. (Though I did deal with this the best I could using some DIY photo lighting).
- I love sweet close ups of babies’ little faces…but not for monthly baby photos. Close ups are sweet but they don’t work at all for showing change over time. Photos of baby laying a cute blanket also aren’t great; they look nice but don’t give enough perspective to show change. You want to be sure to include something in the photo with baby that lets you see how the little one is growing over time. I chose to use a certain chair in each photo. But if you don’t have any furniture you love, you could also shoot your photos against a blank wall or blanket but include a certain stuffed animal or framed chalkboard each month so you can still see how baby is growing in comparison.
- Choose a spot that can accommodate a newborn as well as a one year old. This can be tricky. A one year old is not going to lay still for a picture; a one month old is not going to be able to sit up without a lot of support. For this reason, my big cushy nursery glider worked great.
- Choose a time when your baby is fed, clean, and happy for photo-taking. My favorite time was just after nap. Throw on a clean onesie and you’re ready to go!
- Before you get the baby ready to go, make sure you have your props and background all set up. Babies have a short ‘working time’ so you don’t want to waste their agreeable time getting things ready.
What to Wear
- Keep your baby’s outfit simple. You don’t want the cute clothes to take the attention off the cute baby. I love the simple white onesies I used in my photos. Some people like to add months of the year stickers to plain onesies or just Photoshop each month on later on. Solid colorful onesies are also cute as is a sweet little baby in just a diaper.
- If at all possible, have someone to help you. This is especially helpful in the later months when your baby starts to move around more and more. It is also nice to have someone to keep the baby happy and entertained while you are taking the pictures. But if there is nobody around to help, you can definitely still get great photos alone.
- Take a lot of photos and then choose the best one. Try to capture their little personality. The best part is seeing them bloom from a little sleepy lump to a fun, curious toddler.
- Don’t crop your photos too closely. Remember you need to be able to see more than just the baby to see the changes over time.
- Stick with it! Around ten months, I was getting really tired of setting up these little photo shoots as Griffin became harder and harder to keep in the chair by myself! I seriously considered not doing the last few months but looking back now I am so glad I stuck with it. Somehow, having monthly photos of baby’s first nine months is not nearly as special as having photos of the whole first year.
- Keep your pictures organized. A few months down the road, it isn’t always so easy to tell the difference between a four month old and a five month old. If you used stickers or a chalkboard labeling the month in your photo this won’t be a problem. If you didn’t be sure to name your photos with the name of the month before you take the next month’s photos. I kept all of my monthly photos in a specific folder on my computer.
- Once you’ve taken all of those photos, do something with them! I made a banner of Griffin’s photos to decorate at his birthday party and am considering hanging the same banner in the nursery. And of course there will be a spread of these in his baby book – when I get around to making it! Another idea is to get an inexpensive poster frame. Tape your photos to a plain white poster (the non-shiny side) and stick them in the frame. The poster will mimic the look of a large white mat. Or have them printed as a collage poster print (affiliate link).
Okay, so now that I have given you tons and tons of advice on how to get beautiful keepsake monthly baby photos…keep in mind that things don’t always go exactly as planned. That is especially true when squirmy, little babies are involved. Remember, even though you want your photos to turn out super cute and fun, the point is to capture your sweet little baby as they change and grow, not to be the most artistic photographer!
Did anyone else out there do monthly baby photos? What did you do with your when you were finished? Any tips you would add?