What is the perfect age or stage for a professional picture of my baby?

This is a great question, and planning ahead ensures the perfect baby pictures for the first year of your child’s life.  I know every parent is smitten by their new baby and wants to capture every moment.  And you should!  While I certainly recommend a good camera (an entry level SLR is perfect) for capturing lots of candids, it’s important to have professional pictures of your baby as well.  So, the next big question is when should that be done?  Actually there are stages, more so than ages, when pictures will be the best.

The first one is newborn.  Ideally around 5 to 7 days old.  The baby is usually eating full meals by now but also still in that super sleepy stage.  Baby acne hasn’t started and they still look brand new.  It’s amazing how fast they change!  This portrait session is inside by a bright window in your home, so the naked baby stays nice and toasty warm and sleeps through the shoot (hopefully!).

(The optional age to photograph is the rolly polly stage around 3 or 4 months, they’ve found their toes and can prop themselves up on the elbows.  At this stage there’s not as much to do with them from a photography perspective, except that some of the headshots at this age are my favorites.  It also completes an almost quarterly photography schedule for the first year of the baby’s life.  Usually this will be outside, in the grass or on a blanket.)

The next stage is sitting up – really well – but not trying to crawl.  This can be anywhere from 5 to 8 months.  The baby needs to be sitting up for an extended amount of time without falling over, so a parent doesn’t need to be inches away to catch.  Babies also tend to think their parents are hilarious during this stages, so it’s easy to catch lots of cute smiles.  Once they start leaning forward and trying to crawl, we’ve lost their attention till they’re 5.  This photo session is one where we can take full advantage of the scenery, benches, flowers, doors, etc. – there are so many cute places to put them!  This is my favorite age to photograph (with newborns a very close second).

The final “baby” stage is the standing but not quite off and running stage.  This is somewhere around one year old.  The baby is interested in standing more than crawling and may be taking a few steps.  Holding onto things is fine.  Again, once they are walking confidently, it’s hard to get them to stop or slow down or look up.  This is an outdoor session as well, with plenty of room to let them explore.

Sometimes these stages are a little hard to predict.  But it’s better to contact me early, even for a tentative session date, so we can plan ahead for the best pictures at the perfect time.

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