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Best Ages for Baby and Infant Professional Photography

Aug 9, 2008
Babies grow and changes so fast in the first year that you can never seem to take enough pictures. Most parents also recognize that even though they are snapping away everyday, the baby's first year is an important time for professional baby photography that will produce beautiful artistic and archival prints to last a lifetime and more. But when are the best months to capture the baby, and how often should it be done in the first year? Here are some guidelines for what can be expected at the different stages related to professional baby and infant photography.

Newborn - The best time to photograph a newborn is the first 14 days, preferably day 5 to day 10. During that time, newborns are easier to work with, as they tend to cry less and they are less likely to have baby acne, which generally starts around day 16 and can last for several weeks. Most posing will be baby laying down naked, often sleeping, or with the newborn baby being held by parents, with siblings. These portraits are an amazing beginning to documenting a baby's life and should not be missed.

2 to 3 months - Still a newborn at this point, most babies are quite fussy at this age. They will have better head control than in the first month, and they also can smile a little by this age. But do not count on being able to capture that smile on demand until they are older. Posing for infants at this age will be similar to the newborn except that they will be able to hold their heads up a bit more when they are on their stomachs. Laying down shots, propped up shots, and being held in the family arms will be the majority of posing for this age group.

4 to 5 months - The infant usually is a fairly good smiler at this point, and has gotten quite chubby. Most infants at this age cannot sit up yet, but they are far better at interacting with people and objects, and are much less fussy. This is a great age for capturing chubby legs and bare bottom shots.

6 to 7 months - Around this age the infant is able to sit up, and there are many more options for photography posing. Outdoor sessions are now possible for six month old portraits, but remember that babies at this age love to put everything in their mouth, so choose the outdoor location carefully. This is a great age for portraits with pets, and siblings as the infant is usually not mobile yet - just able to sit up, laugh and smile!

8 to 10 months - Babies often start crawling at this age, and sessions become very active! Studio sessions with white backgrounds can be a great choice for this age. Bring some toys to interact with the baby and get ready to keep resetting the baby. Home sessions are another great choice so the baby can really roam and the photographer can chase.

11 to 14 months - Within this age range, most babies are pulling up, standing, "cruising" along furniture and then walking. This is a great age for location sessions to give the baby more room to move around than in the studio. A One Year portrait session should be done sometime in this age range to document the milestone of turning one and starting to walk. This is another key session to document a baby's development.

Now then - what are the best ages for professional baby and infant photography? Based on my experience as a baby photographer, I would recommend doing the newborn session (5 to 10 days old), a 4 month session (chubby baby parts), a 6 to 7 month session (sitting), a 9 month session (crawling, expressions) and then a One Year portrait session when the baby is standing and just starting to walk (12 to 14 months). The one to skip would be the fussy 2 to 3 month old. If you only do three - make sure to do the newborn, the 6 month baby portrait and the One Year Baby Portrait. When ordering prints, order professional archival prints that will last for generations. This is the best gift you can ever give this baby (they will treasure them as an adult) and your future generations.
About the Author
Anna Myers is a modern lifestyle San Francisco Bay Area Baby Photographer who specializes in infant photography.
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