Here are 10 tips for how to take adorable monthly baby photos based on our own experience taking our own little one’s monthly photos over the last year.
Before I even got pregnant I was pinning cute baby photographs I came across. Everything from pregnancy announcements, gender reveal photos, introducing baby once born, and more excitedly, monthly baby photos to document my future little one’s growth. I scouted out my house and knew I wanted to take the pictures in the chair in the corner of her nursery. I learned a lot over the last year and am excited to share with your my top 10 tips to get your own adorable monthly baby photos.
1 | Location
First and foremost, choose a safe location for you and your baby. Don’t be standing up on a chair and your baby also on a chair. If they suddenly drop a toy on the ground are you close enough to catch your precious baby if they go get it? Not speaking from experience or anything.
I was lucky enough that my husband works from home a lot so I was able to plan our monthly photo shoots around a day when he would be home and could be my spotter tucked right outside the camera’s view.
2 | Object
Choose one object or piece of clothing that can be in every picture each month. We chose to use Geoffrey the Giraffe. It’s fun to be able to see how your baby grows each month in comparison to the object.
Fun fact: Clara and Caleb were due one day apart. At 12 months though they weighed 6 pounds different. I love seeing the difference in baby sizes.
3 | Tracking
Choose a way to tell what month it is. Some people write how old they are on a chalkboard, others do monthly stickers on their shirt, or you can do what we did and have a balloon for each month.
Here are 6 ways to track how old your baby is for their first year of life:
- Numbered toy wood blocks
- Monthly stickers | You can buy some super cute stickers on Etsy. I’m loving these ones!
- Number of stuffed animals piled on the baby
- Text overlay on the image
Jane from In the Pink & Green had little Henry a few days after Clara was born. She documented his first year with adorable photos and each month took a photo of him with this rocking horse. What a cutie!
4 | Location of Photo
Have a marker or a guideline in whatever room you’re taking the picture in so you can get the camera at the right level and location. I made it difficult on myself. We had to struggle with a spinning chair, distance from the chair, height of the camera, and the angle that I shot at. I wish I would have used a tripod from the beginning and didn’t have to fight all those variables each month to get the “perfect” shot. Granted, I don’t think I have for the perfect shot but they look cute enough and I love them.
5 | Flexibility
Be flexible. Figure out your baby’s schedule and try to plan your photoshoot for right after nap time or after they eat but if your baby is cranky or if it’s not working out for some reason, don’t stress it. Give your baby a break and try again later. If it’s not on the exact day of the month that your baby was born, it’s not the end of the world.
6 | Lighting
Choose a location with good natural light. I used the glider right next to a huge window in Clara’s nursery. Also, make sure you pick a time that is reasonable. Whatever you choose the first month is what you should stick with for the next 11 months. Don’t choose early in the morning or late afternoon. Over the course of the year the lighting will fluctuate too much throwing off your pictures. The window in the nursery only got direct sunlight in the early morning so I planned for our photos around 1 pm each month. After lunch I knew her belly was full and it was well before nap time so I hoped she would be happy.
It usually worked out great. On the rare occasion that she wasn’t in the mood for pictures we would take a break, play, and try again an hour later. Just remember to be flexible. If they aren’t happy smiley for you, that’s okay. They’re little munchkins and don’t understand the importance of their Instagram-worthy photograph.
7 | Candid
Take the candid shots too. I love having photos from each month documenting how much she changed. The cute ones of her laughing or making faces. Or remembering how she used to yell “ooooohhhhh!” Or blowing bubbles constantly. It’s fun to look back at all the pictures from each month.
8 | Toy
Have a toy that baby loves behind the camera to make them smile. Clara went through a phase where she LOVED her bath rubber ducky. I always made sure to have it hidden and then if I needed to pull some smiles or giggles out of her I’d pull out the ducky and it was always instant smiles.
9 | Plan
Plan ahead. Put the dates on the calendar. Make sure that you have enough time to do the shoot, even if your baby is not cooperating. Buy multiple sizes of the same outfit before baby is born so that your baby’s outfit can be the same each month and then you won’t have to worry about trying to find the outfit again in stores months later. We also used the same headband in each photo.
10 | Document
If you plan to write on a blog or journal documenting your baby’s changes each month, have a list of the same topics you want to answer each time. Here are the topics I covered:
- Milestones – What milestones did baby reach this month? I referenced The Wonder Weeks app often to know what she should be doing.
- Eating – Is baby nursing? How often? Did baby start solids yet? What are his/her favorite foods?
- Sleeping – How often is baby napping? Did baby finally start sleeping through the night?
- Growth – Track any new measurements you have from that month: height, weight, clothing size, diaper size, whatever you can think of to help you remember how tiny your sweet little one once was.
- Fun Facts – Is your baby blowing bubbles all the time? Did baby start singing? Say a new word?
- Likes – What is baby loving? Mom? Dad? Dog? A certain toy? Long walks?
- Dislikes – Bathtime? Car rides? Avocados?
Just write down whatever will help you remember your sweet baby and all the fun things your little one did.
And one bonus tip…hand the camera off every month at least once and get in the photos with your little one. These are the ones you will cherish the most and want to put all over your house! Now that my little one is 14 months, I miss having an excuse to do a mini photoshoot each month with her. I loved documenting her life and might just keep doing it just so I can bottle up as much of her little fun personality as possible.
What tips would you add to this list?
You can find all of Clarabel’s monthly updates here.