I received my first camera – a huge purple and green Vivitar point and shoot – for my sixth birthday and instantly fell in love with photography. Through the years, I've enjoyed documenting my family's travels and special holidays with friends. Now that my husband and I have a little one, I've upped my game and probably take an average of 15 photos a day. This may sound crazy but I love being able to look back and see just how much my baby has changed. I've since created a go-to baby photography cheat sheet for all those who want to capture the special moments throughout baby’s early months!
The bonding begins when your baby is still growing in your belly, so you definitely want to document that amazing time! Have your husband help to take monthly shots or set up your camera's self-timer. To label the months represented in your photos, you can edit your shots later like I did or you can also hold up a chalkboard, bunting banner or even just your fingers! Don't think that you need to take the photo in the same exact spot every month. We were on vacation at the Greenbrier in West Virginia one month and took advantage of the vibrant Dorothy Draper wallpaper as a backdrop. I loved how the splashy pattern added color and life to the group of images as a whole.
That first peek at your babe is the sweetest thing! I immediately framed ours and took a photo of the frame next to baby's very first ultrasound. I also took some photos of his ultrasounds next to highlighted (in blue) Bible verses. While the focus for these photos is obviously the ultrasounds, it's nice to add some personal details, too!
While the baby was still in the womb, my mom was busy smocking and sewing him some very special outfits. I felt that they deserved documentation of their own, so I hung them on baby's crib using the cutest baby hangers and shot them in their pristine condition (before baby spit-up and drool got all over them!). I can still feel the stillness of his nursery in that moment – those weeks and months before his arrival, all filled with bubbling excitement and joy.
Invite a friend or family member who enjoys taking pictures to help with a newborn shoot. (If it’s in your budget, you may even want to hire a professional photographer.) Even though my husband and I were completely exhausted in those early days, I'm so glad we pushed ourselves to clean up and do a family session in the baby's nursery. They are some of my favorite shots to this day.
When we first brought baby home from the hospital, I couldn't stop marveling at how itty bitty his hands and feet were ... and I took *loads* of photos of them. I especially loved taking shots of his hands intertwined with mine or his grandparents' hands. These photos evoked a feeling that was simple, sweet and oh so tender. I was also obsessed with taking detail shots of his eyelashes while he was sleeping – he looked like a sleeping angel to me.
As your baby grows, the months can start speeding by in a big blur. Try to remember to take some photos at a designated time each month so you can eventually look back and see how much your little munchkin has grown and changed. It's wild to look back at how teeny tiny he was at 1-2 months. He almost looks like a completely different baby! For our monthly shots, I like to use his baby blocks to indicate the month and dress him in a current favorite outfit. I also use this time to quickly snap some other shots that I do each month so that we can compare how much he's grown. For example, I'll place some of baby's favorite stuffed animals next to him and I’ll also sit him in the nursery glider with his monogrammed pillow. It’s fun to document the progress – while he used to only be able to lay down on the glider, now he is on his belly and sitting up!
I've found that the holidays are so much more fun with a little one, and I've loved coming up with fun (but not cliché) ideas for photos. He was just a tiny little peanut around Halloween, so I ordered a soft lambie hat on Etsy for him and took some shots while he was still sleeping all the time. For Christmas, we found the cutest tartan pajamas that had his monogram on the pocket and I styled some Christmas decor around him. I don't think you need to go overboard with themes and holidays to create treasured photos – whatever feels right and beautiful to you is perfect!
I chose to do baby's nursery in shades of soft blue and purposely did not choose a distinct theme. This way, his room could be malleable to different ideas and themes as we saw fit. After my husband and I purchased the cutest airplane pedal car, my mom made the baby a darling Easter outfit adorned with airplanes. It just felt right to take some aviation-themed photos of baby in his outfit next to his plane. This mini photo shoot was completely unplanned, but it's one of my favorites to date! Candids My biggest tip of all is to just have fun and enjoy your baby. Some of the best photos come from those candid moments of true joy. Here's an example from when my husband and I first brought him home:
I hope these tips have helped to spark some creative ideas. Enjoy photographing your baby during this special time!
Newborn photos by Sarah Jayne Photography