If you’re a parent, you know how quickly the first 12 months can go. One minute they’ve just been born and the next they’re running around making catastrophic messes! But once they get older, we often miss each phase of their development and wish we could have the littler version of them once again, even just for a day. Capturing each moment of their rapid growth on camera can help us remember every stage of their development, and ensure that these precious moments are kept safe for decades to come.When taking photos of your baby, there’s no need to feel pressured to take a million photos of each and every moment. Being a new parent is tough enough as it is! Instead, try being intentional in the way you photograph. This will save you time and effort, and hopefully also result in better photographs. With these tips and tricks, we hope to help you take great photographs of your baby as they develop during their first 12 months.
Photographing your newborn baby (0-3 months)
They’ve just arrived! This is such an exciting and exhausting time for everyone involved. You’ve got a million things to think about, and photographs probably aren’t at the top of the priority list (in fact, there’s probably little that precedes sleep!). But believe me, you’ll be thankful later on for having taken the time to photograph these precious first moments.
At the hospital
Naturally, you’ll want to take some photos at the hospital when your baby is born. Although it’s tempting to dress your little one in the outfits you’ve carefully curated and prepacked in your “hospital bag”, I’d recommend also taking photos in the hospital-issued items. Although they may not bestow personal meaning, they do represent an unmistakable moment in our lives. So be sure to take a few photographs of your newborn with the hospital-issued swaddle blanket and hat, in their bassinet, and with their little medical ID bracelet.
Now that you’re home and hopefully better rested, you can take your time to relax into a new routine with your baby and capture these precious photographs at your own pace. Newborn babies require 14 to 17 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, and often wake every 2 to 4 hours for a feed. So, most of your photos will include a peaceful sleeping baby (or sometimes a crying baby!).
Capture all the little details
Your baby will never be this small again, so make sure to capture all those precious little details whilst you’ve got them! Take some close-ups of the tiny lips, fingers, toes, little yawns and every other detail you fall in love with. Intimate moments such as breastfeeding between mother and baby can also make for beautifully telling photographs.
Newborn babies have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so if it’s cold outside, I’d recommend photographing them inside whilst they’re swaddled in a cosy blanket. You might also like to photograph your newborn baby next to a teddy bear for a cute size comparison!
Photographing your baby (3+ months)
At this exciting age, your baby is starting to become more aware and will respond to the environment around them. This makes for excellent photos! They’re still largely immobile in the sense that they cannot yet sit-up, but you should be able to get some nice photographs of them whilst they’re laying flat on their tummy. Generally speaking, babies at this age can support their own heads so you can take some adorable photos of your baby on their tummy whilst they look directly at the camera.
Around this time, you’ll notice that your baby is becoming increasingly responsive and will begin giving you genuine smiles and might even laugh for the first time! This is seriously exciting and a great opportunity to start taking beautiful photographs. They’ll also be more interested in the world around them, so you can photograph them as they explore how to hold, scrunch and rattle their toys.
Photographing your baby (6+ months)
You’ll notice now that your baby is starting to develop his or her own little unique personality, which is super fun to catch on camera. They’re becoming ever more curious and mobile. At this age, babies are starting to work out how to sit-up and roll around (and some might have even started crawling… or at least trying to!). And just when you thought your baby couldn’t get any more beautiful, this age will definitely prove you wrong. They’ll have big wide eyes, chubby cheeks, more hair, and maybe even a little tooth or two.
There’s plenty of room for fun and creativity when photographing babies at this age. They’ll love cuddling, smiling, sitting and rolling around. Babies have often started eating solids at this stage as well, which makes the perfect opportunity for their first messy eating photo! They’ll also be very curious about their toys, and portray a wider range of facial expressions – all brilliant material for great photographs.
Photographing your toddler (1+ years)
The baby days may be over, but don’t let that get you down because you’re about to enter the exciting and mischievous toddler era. This is a gold mine for gorgeous photos that you can treasure for a lifetime. At this stage, your baby (now toddler) will have his or her own fully-fledged little personality to capture on camera.
At 12 months, most babies will be experimenting with walking and will be able to walk whilst holding onto someone or something. This opens up Pandora’s box for photography ideas. The only problem of course is that as they become more mobile, they’ll also be more difficult to photograph, so be ready!
Go outside and explore
Now that they’re older and becoming ever more curious, it’s time to hit the outdoor world. Take your little one into the garden for some photos in the sunshine. The garden, park, local playground etc. provide perfect backdrops for your makeshift photoshoot whilst leaves, flowers and the slide can make for great props.
At 12 months, your baby will be super curious and enjoy exploring new things. Setting up an activity such as drawing with crayons or a piece of chalk can provide a great setting for your photography. Alongside an inquisitive mind comes a short attention span! So, I’d suggest turning on live-mode on your camera and shooting frequently and quickly. This will ensure that you end up with at least one frameable photograph!
Hire a babysitter
At this age, your little one will be getting evermore curious about their surroundings (and be increasingly difficult to keep an eye on!). To take beautiful photographs, you might consider hiring a babysitter to help you. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple children, or if you want to be in the photos too! If you’re looking for babysitters in Sydney, you can check out Babysits – Australia’s babysitting community.
This article is written in collaboration with Babysits. Check out our community resources for more parenting tips!