I've had several moms ask me how to take better monthly photos for babys first year. Since I'm just starting to capture Hudson's mostly photos, I thought it was the perfect topic to share here. I prefer my monthly photos to be all the same set up so that I can more easily see baby's growth. Also, by repeating the set up I'm not having to recreate the wheel each month, which means I'm more likely to get the shot done.
When deciding a set up, keep it simple! You're going to have to do this every month. The simpler the better. Otherwise you'll find yourself at the end of the month and not having taken the photo. For Hudson, I laid a blanket on the floor and put her in a plain white onesie. I normally suggest a more neutral blanket than the one I selected for Hudson, however, this blanket has meaning to me (it's the first blanket I crocheted and I made it just for Hudson) so I wanted to include it in her photos. For every month I will use this same blanket and Hudson will be in a plain white onesie. Simple!
Now that I know what my set up will look like, the next step is to select a location with good natural light. Below is a pull back of where I did Hudson's shoot (and will do it each month). I cleared a space on the floor in her nursery near the window. For my images I then positioned myself between Hudson and the window to allow best lighting on her face.
When photographing babies I always suggest you put your camera in continuous shooting mode. If you've ever watched your baby (which, if you're like me, I'm sure you do daily!) you notice how many facial expressions they can make in a matter of seconds. That can make it tricky to get the elusive smile or smirk, or whichever expression you're trying to capture.
Whenever I'm photographing my kids I always set a time limit. Take the pressure of yourself and your baby by setting a limit for how long you will try to capture your baby. This series of photos is from my 2nd attempt at trying to photograph her. The first time she was not happy about having to lay on the floor. Instead of pushing it, I decided to try again later. I'm so glad I did. Pushing kids past their limit for photos never turns out well! That's why the above tip of keeping it simple is extra important. When Hudson didn't want to cooperate, it wasn't a big deal because it didn't take me long to set up her shoot.
Once you have the straight overhead shot try other angles and capture details. If you normally shoot vertically, try shooting horizontally, or vice versa. In the image above, I wanted to include all of her in the shot, so I needed to turn my camera. Then I started capturing a few quick details, like her tiny feet kicking around!
I love a sleeping newborn, and since Hudson is happiest in a swaddle, I wrapped her up, rocked her to sleep and took a couple more quick photos to capture her sleeping on the blanket.
This series of photos may seem basic and lacking in complexity, but they capture exactly what I'm going for - Hudson as a newborn. Although I don't want the year to pass quickly, I will be glad at the end of the year when I have a group of photos that are similar to each other that show her growth over her first year of life! And this is all done in a way that is easy for me to recreate so it won't feel like such a chore when it is time to capture her each month!