Baby’s First Year: The Ideal Age For A Family Portrait Session
What is the ideal age for a baby photography session?
Children really do grow up incredibly fast – blink and you’ll have a pre-schooler standing where your tiny newborn once lay.
There’ll be so many phases that are adorable where you’ll think “We really should get family photographs sorted out soon.”
Did you know, though, that there are particular ages and stages that work particularly well for photographs?
Based on my years of experience, here are my recommendations on the ideal ages for a photo session in baby’s first year.
Rest assured that I can take beautiful photographs at any age. As part of the pre-session consultation, we’ll discuss your baby and how he / she is getting on, and any games or toys they especially enjoy so we can get the most out of them on the day.
In more detail…
Over the years, I’ve found that the key ages that work well for family photography correlate closely with baby milestones:
See some examples of these milestones from baby portrait sessions:
For newborn photography, I recommend either 7-10 days after their due date, or the baby’s six week milestone.
For natural photography at home, it’s not necessary to have photographs taken any earlier than that – take the time to allow any jaundice to settle, as well as for your baby to adjust to the world and relax a bit.
• Consider waiting: 2 months
Your baby will no doubt still look super-cute, but it’s a slightly in-between age for portraits: not quite a newborn, but also not yet a plumped out baby. If you can, hold out and arrange your booking for when your baby is 3 months old!
• 3 months
This is a great opportunity for a baby portrait.
At this age, babies are smiling and laughing, and can usually hold their heads up steadily and do mini push-ups.
Three month old babies are starting to roll, and recognise the sound of their parents’ voices – which can be helpful during a photo session.
Babies at this age tend to have more regular sleep patterns too, which makes it easier for you to predict a good start time.
They will also start smiling at strangers, and are generally becoming more animated and engaging.
• 4 months: consider waiting
Babies at this age are often busy with teething, and not at their jolliest. If you can, hold off and we can book in your portrait session for when your baby’s 6 months old. Even if teething and stranger anxiety are still rearing their heads, your baby will be much more easily distracted and amused by 6 months!
• 5 months: consider waiting
5 months can be a sweet age as your baby will be just on the cusp of developing the skills outlined below at 6 months – which can be just as adorable in photographs! Just be aware that your baby may be teething hard at five months old.
• 6 months / sitter session
Six months is a classic age for a family portrait.
Babies are becoming more social, and have a markedly different kind of look from very young babies.
Six month old babies enjoy playing with their hands, and will explore toys and other objects – these are great photo opportunities.
Your baby is also likely to be sitting at six months, which makes for gorgeous photographs.
• 7 / 8 months: consider waiting unless your baby’s full of beans
This can be a difficult phase as separation anxiety can peak, and teething can also be a real problem. That said, if your baby’s relaxed and happy, it can be a lovely age to photograph as babies are often just on the cusp of mastering skills like standing up – those wobbly legs are so gorgeous! Your baby will be sitting more confidently too. We can always book in your session at this age, and move it to 9/10 months if you find that teething is causing too much trouble for your little one.
• 9 / 10 months
This is one of my favourite ages for family portraits. Babies at nine and ten months are crawling, and can often hold themselves up standing if holding onto furniture – or holding onto your hands.
Babies at 9 and 10 months old understand a lot of what’s being said, which can help with reassuring uncertain babies during a portrait session. At 10 months, your baby may be able to stand momentarily without support, and their personalities will really be coming out.
Your child will be getting ready to take their first steps, or they might already be walking. Your baby will respond to simple instructions and suggestions, helping to engage your baby throughout the portrait session.
Bandy-legged toddler walking must be one of the cutest things on the planet! This is a lovely age to capture your child’s emerging interests and playing with their favourite toys.
So which age should you choose?
If you’re only ever going to have one family portrait session, I’d recommend choosing between a newborn session, nine or 12 months old when your little one is mastering some adorable skills and his / her personality will be really shining through.
If you’re planning on documenting your baby’s first year with a series of photo sessions, the most popular combinations are:
- 3 sessions: Newborn, 6 months and 12 months
- 2 sessions: Newborn and 6, 9 or 12 months
So, in summary:
- 7-10 days: so fresh and tiny
- 6 week milestone: still very tiny but starting to smile, more alert, life is starting to settle down a little
- 3 months old: mini push-ups, smiling and laughing, starting to roll
- 6 months old: sitter sessions, becoming more social, playing with hands and toys
- 9/10 months old: crawling, and pulling themselves up
- 12 months old: first steps
Find out more about baby milestones
Baby milestones from a child development expert
Do get in touch and we can discuss what you’d like from the photographs, and I can advise on which ages would suit this best.