I want to be real with you: the most difficult subject IN THE WORLD to photograph are your own children. Exhibit A: Ellie. Even with state of the art photography equipment, technical expertise in photographing children, and all the best tricks in the book, this is what happens sometimes. I know you want great monthly photos of your babies to track their growth, so I’m sharing my best tips for photographing babies and children at home!
Location and light
Ideally, you want to take your monthly photos in the same location each month, and you want it to be free of distractions. Many parents start with the classic “baby laying on cute blanket” for month 1, but I strongly recommend propping baby up in a recliner or on a bed instead! It’s fairly easy to photograph babies on a blanket until about month 7 or so when they get mobile, so save the hassle and prop baby up in the recliner in his nursery.
Light is THE most important aspect to a great photo, especially when using phones or entry level cameras! You want natural light to be hitting your child’s face so that you can see catchlights in their eyes. The simplest way to do this is to pull the rocking chair away from the wall, face it towards a window, and turn off all other lights.
Outfit & Props
I recommend keeping it timeless and going diaper-only for your monthly photos, and definitely avoid onesies with words on them! It’s going to be very difficult to get a good shot where you can both read the shirt AND baby has a cute expression, and since baby is most important, focus on expression. Besides, who doesn’t love those adorable baby rolls?!
I loved to incorporate a stuffed animal or a decorative pillow in my girls’ photos, because you could see how fast they were growing in comparison. As they get older, it’s always fun to use their favorite lovie too!
What to Say
So you got a great photo – YAY!!! Obviously, post away on social media. I recommend creating an album where you can add each image as time goes by.
Most importantly though, be sure to record things about your baby. Try to dig a little deeper than just how much she weighs or that she likes sleeping, go for unique memories! Some prompts to get you started:
-who did baby meet this month?
-did baby take any trips or vacations?
-any new firsts for baby?
-write a letter to your baby
-did she try a new food?
IMPORTANT: back up your photos!!! Do not just rely on Facebook, and never ever print a photo from Facebook. The quality is awful! Be sure to save your images to your computer at the highest possible resolution, and always use that version when printing.
When to Schedule Professional Portraits
You can handle the monthly progress at home, but it’s so important to make sure YOU get in a few photos too! Your baby will love images of her whole family together more than anything, and these are the images that truly become heirlooms. I recommend a newborn session at 5-15 days, a family portrait session around 6 months, and a birthday session to celebrate baby’s first year.