Documenting Milestones: Tips for Photographing Baby’s First Year

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I'm a mom, just like you. I've blinked and my 3 boys have jumped from babies to kids and I wholeheartedly agree believe that creating & capturing special memories together matters more than anything.

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Baby’s first year goes by so fast! There are so many developmental milestones your little one hits during this time, and you won’t believe how quickly they grow and change. This is one reason that, at Glean & Co, we recommend investing in milestone photography throughout baby’s first year, as well as capturing their newborn photos. We also realize that, with all the stages baby will go through, the cost of professional portraits can add up quickly! In this post, we’ll cover the ins and outs of documenting milestones, when to hire a professional and when to go the DIY route. Whichever you choose, here are our tips for first-year baby photography.

Month 1: Welcoming Your Baby

Hiring a Professional Newborn Photographer

This is one of those times when we really encourage hiring a professional photographer. A pro will know how to safely pose your little one, and can capture baby’s delicate features with beautiful close-up shots. Hiring a newborn photographer will also allow you to get in the pictures yourself and document that special bond between you and your bundle of joy.

If you ask us, we’ll recommend going the whole nine yards and doing a luxury newborn photography experience complete with professional hair and makeup.

Parents with toddler and twin babies seated on bed in front of window

DIY Shots for Newborns

If you decide to do your own newborn photos (or just want extras—we can’t blame you for not wanting to miss a single moment!) candid shots with family members are some of the best shots you can capture with your own camera. These don’t require any fancy posing or equipment, and are precious memories you can treasure always. Try whipping out your smartphone for moments like:

  • Parents holding the baby
  • Siblings meeting the newest family member
  • Grandparents cradling the newborn

Month 2: Adjusting to Parenthood

Hiring a Professional New Baby Photographer

While not essential, you may choose to hire a professional for a lifestyle photoshoot at home. This type of session captures the everyday interactions between parents and baby. That second month of baby’s life is also a great time to do a lifestyle shoot in the studio, capturing the first early smiles and eye contact from your tiny babe.

Baby with a towel over his head

DIY Shots for New Babies

The second month is a great time for snapping candid moments of the baby’s first social smile, their interactions with you and their siblings, and close-ups of their facial expressions.

Months 3-5: Discovering the World & Developing Motor Skills

Hiring a Professional Baby Photographer

This is such a fun stage, when baby is very curious, begins to hold their head up without support, and starts showing interest and ability to interact with toys. A professional photographer can capture baby’s expressions and reactions with toys or during tummy time, as well as cuddles with parents. This milestone is also a wonderful time to capture breastfeeding or bottle-feeding photos showcasing your bond with baby.

Mother nursing infant while toddler lies next to her on bed in Boise, Idaho studio

DIY Shots of Baby

As you continue to take pictures of your little one, be sure to get images that show the baby’s developing personality, their reactions to new sounds and objects, and the ways in which they explore their surroundings.

Months 5-8: Sitting Up and Exploring the Environment

Hiring a Professional for Sitter Sessions

This is another big milestone where you might want to consider hiring someone with experience to capture the baby’s expressions and reactions as they are learning to sit independently. Little moments like grabbing toes or trying solid foods for the first time are great moments that you might want to try during a sitter session. This is also a great stage to document baby’s interactions with pets or siblings. At this age, we love capturing candid shots of the baby crawling (or attempting to crawl), their curiosity about their surroundings, and their growing sense of adventure.

Baby milestone photography in Boise, Idaho

DIY Shots of Little One

At this age, every day brings something new! Be sure to get those candid shots of the ordinary moments, like baby’s expressions during mealtime, their growing mobility, and their interactions with food and surroundings. As babies get more active at this age, it’s also a good time to use the record button and get some video of those sweet baby babblings, their reactions to music or families voices, and their growing responsiveness to sounds.

Months 8-10: Standing and Cruising

Hiring a Professional for Pre-Toddlers

It’s so exciting when baby learns to stand! If you get professional photos at this stage, be sure they capture milestone moments like baby pulling themselves up to stand or cruising along furniture. And of course document those rolls before they start to stretch out!

First-year baby photography, little one playing in front of window

DIY Shots for Not-Quite-Toddlers

This is another perfect time to mix photo and video. You’ll want to document baby’s movement and balance, as well as their determination to stand or walk. This opens up so many opportunities for them to interact with the environment in a whole new way!

Months 10-12: Walking and First Birthday

Hiring a Professional One-Year Baby Photographer

This is another big milestone and a point where we recommend hiring a professional if possible. Those first steps or baby’s first birthday celebration deserve a professional photoshoot. You might even want to go all out with a cake smash and splash session! These are so much better when you can join in on the fun while we capture you and your little loved one laughing, playing, and feeding each other bites of cake.

Baby boy enjoying first birthday cake smash in Idaho photography studio

DIY Shots of Baby’s First Birthday

You’ll definitely want to document those first steps. Babies love their newfound mobility and exploring their environment by walking. And of course, if you throw a first birthday party, don’t forget to record the birthday boy or girl’s interactions with family and friends during the celebration!

First-Year Baby Photography

If you’re like most people, documenting milestones in baby’s first year will probably be a combination of professional and DIY photography. We hope these tips for first-year baby photography help you capture every moment. No matter what age your baby is, we’re here to help you document every stage, both big and small. Milestone sessions can happen anytime, so just let us know what adorable little things your kiddo is up to these days and we’ll create a session especially for them. Let’s turn these moments into art so you can remember this stage forever. Book your consultation to learn more.


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