Ideas for Photos to Take of your Baby in the First Year
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
My oldest daughter is now 4 and we still regularly look at photos and videos from when she was a baby. She will sometimes even ask me to show her, and we go looking through the archives.
Having had three years to look back at the photos, here are the ones I valued the most:
Photos Surrounding the Birth
I am not sharing a photo for this one, but I definitely treasure the photos I have of me in the hospital with my little ones. I took my DSLR camera with me when my first was born, and as soon as she was safely on my chest, I asked hubby to take it out and capture that special first moment.
As a portrait photographer, of course I was going to do multiple newborn shoots of my girls. I used them for their birth announcements and have them on canvases throughout the house. Zara requested her newborn canvas to be in her room next to her bed, and she will often point out 'baby Zara' to me.
My prices for newborn photos are great value, but if this still seems out of your budget, have a search online for DIY newborn photos - Pinterest is always handy for this. There are some great tips out there to make a beautiful photo, even if it won't be quite as easy and high-quality as a professional shoot.
Special Family Photoshoot
Including family in the newborn shoot is lovely too. You can even include grandparents in this.
This first photo was a lifestyle shoot at the family's home, and the second was a studio shoot with bubs, mum, grandma and great-grandmother:
Photos with just one other family member are amazing too. This is from another lifestyle shoot at the family's home, where you can just see the instant bond everyone has with this little baby:
Babies change so much in the first year, so it is really cool to do a photo every month. You can use a little toy as a size reference, or you can use age blocks for props. They also sell special mats as backdrops and stickers or wooden rounds with the months on them. Don't worry if you can't always do it on the exact same day, no one will know the difference!
Photos Showing Real Life
In this blog post about creating photo albums, I mention that you don't want to just take 'perfect' pictures. What I also love to look back on are what our house looked like (especially since we've moved houses since), where the baby slept, and what I actually looked like most days - exhaustion and all.
Looking back, I am shocked at how few pictures I have of my babies with dummies. My girls both loved dummies, so it is a bit strange to look back and not see them in the pictures (I just instinctively took dummies out of their mouths just before taking a photo, and then put them back in after). Luckily I do have some photos that reflect reality. It reminds me of those sleepless nights and crazy days, and those are worth remembering as well!
The little snippets of everyday life can be so lovely to look back on. I enjoyed those 'newborn sleeping on me' moments so much, and seeing my husband play bass for his girl is also a great memory:
Milestones and Special Occasions
There are so many firsts for a baby in a year. The first bath, the first time in a pram, the first Christmas, the first time crawling, maybe even walking. I recommend taking photos wherever you can. I took photos of the first bath, first time swimming, I even managed to get a video of the first steps of my oldest and it was magical.
Here is a lovely in-home photoshoot I did for a family whose girl had just learned how to walk. How fantastic that I got to document that milestone for them:
I mentioned video with my daughter's first steps, and that is an important one. As much as I love photos, nothing transports you back to a time and place as much as videos do. The sounds babies make can be so funny and unique, and you can see the little quirky facial expressions on video. Whenever you can, take some videos, for special moments and also just little 'slice of life' moments that will prove so valuable once your child is in a different stage.
Newborn life is pretty busy, and you might not have much free time. I sure had my hands full the second time with a fussy baby and a cheeky toddler. But if you do find a moment... get creative! I went looking for inspiration on Pinterest, scoured the shops and the internet for props & outfits and came up with some ideas of my own. These were so much fun to create, and your baby will probably never be as willing to cooperate as they are in the first year.
First Birthday Photos
The very last thing you will be capturing of their first year will be their birthday. Most people mark the occasion with a little party, and definitely take lots of photos if you throw one. Please ask the people around you to take some of you so you can prove that you were there too! And if you want to do something extra special, you can do a cake smash.
I did cake smash photoshoots for both of my girls, and a year ago I started officially offering it to clients as well. If you're not sure what it is, check out this post. Here is an example of a cake smash shoot:
That's the end of this post. Please note that this isn't a checklist. You do not have to take all of these photos. But I hope I did give you some cool ideas and maybe help inspire you. If you think ahead, you can make sure you get all the photos you want to remember. Because you can't go back in time to take more.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about photos, or if you want to book in a photoshoot. I offer newborn photos up to six months old, milestone photos from six months up, and family photos for any age at all!