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Tips for photographing your baby’s first year

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Capture the memories

Your baby's first year is filled with changes and milestones. We asked the pros to share their tips on photographing this amazing time in your child's life.

Keep your camera handy

baby photo gummy grin

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

The first year of your baby's life zips by in a flash. Don't make the mistake of letting time go by without capturing the memories. Jade Brookbank of the letter b. photography says her best advice is to bring your camera wherever you're going and shoot a lot. “Some of my favorite photos from our kids' first year were completely unplanned and spontaneous moments.”

Get up, get down, move around

flying baby

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Some of the best shots are taken from unusual perspectives. Brookbank says, “Get down on their level – yes, that means the floor -- so you can see them from a more interesting perspective.” You also might try a photo looking straight down, or even from underneath your airborne baby (as seen above). Whatever you do, Brookbank advises moms, “don't forget the details! Gummy smiles, first teeth, sleeping, crying, chubby thighs - all of it.”

Keep an inspiration folder

pumpkin baby

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Johanna McShan of Hanna Mac Photography kept a folder on her computer called "inspiration" where she organized photo ideas for each month of her baby's first year. “When I saw something that gave me an idea, I put it into the monthly inspiration folder so I wouldn't forget.” (You might start by saving or pinning the above photo to remember to take a silly pumpkin shot in October!)

Relax

crying baby

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Don't fool yourself into thinking your baby is going to pose like a supermodel. Babies have so much to explore; their toes just might be WAY more interesting than staring into the lens of your camera. “Don't stress too much about getting your baby to look at the camera for every shot,” says McShan. Instead, she tells moms to focus on capturing the moment in time – whatever your baby may be doing. Those real moments (like that priceless sad face above) will probably end up being a lot more special than any forced shots anyway.

Take a daily, monthly or weekly photo

First Six Months

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

Photographer Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Co recommends planning a regular 30-minute photo shoot at an interval that works best for you – daily, weekly or monthly. Use the same setting like a favorite chair to show how much your baby grows throughout the year, or place him in the center of your bed surrounded by white sheets and pillows. “Stick to a formula,” says Hebenstreit, “so at the end of the year you have a fun set of images to document in a book or in prints.”

Hire a professional

baby kiss

Photo credit: the letter b. photography

If you think you want professional images, photographer Alicia Gould, Clickin Moms Mentor and teacher, recommends seeking out a newborn photographer well in advance of your due date. “You have enough to worry about once the baby is born. You don’t want this to be one of them!” The best part about hiring a photographer, Gould says, is getting in the picture yourself. “Your kids will thank you for that!”

Expert Tip:

Photographer Amy Smith recommends using natural light whenever you can. "Make sure baby is comfy, warm, fed, and things will be easier. While I do artistic photos of newborns, capturing them naturally is really my favorite way."

More photography tips:

Picture perfect: How to get the most from your camera
Temporary photo backddrops using what you already have
Expert tips for photographing newborns

Photo credit: the letter b. photography
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