What's The Best Age For Baby Photos?
The first year of your baby’s life is such a special time. They change and grow so rapidly, and there are lots of little milestones to celebrate along the way. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have thousands of photographs of your baby on your phone capturing these daily and weekly developments.
But when it comes to having professional photographs taken of your baby, chances are you can’t afford to have a photo shoot every week to capture every little change. And when you invest in a professional photo shoot, you want to be sure that you capture the best moment.
So what is the best age for your baby photo shoot?
In this article I’ll explain:
- why the best age for your baby’s photo shoot may depend on the style of photography you choose.
- the best types of photo shoot for your baby’s age.
- the best times during your baby’s first year to book a photo shoot with me.
the Best Age For Your Baby's Photo Shoot Depends on The style Of Photography You Choose
Before we dive in and look at the best ages to have your baby photographed, it may be helpful to look at the different styles of baby photography on offer, and how the best age for a shoot may depend on the style of photography you choose.
As you research photographers some of the styles and photo shoot types you may come across are:
- Posed newborn photography
- Lifestyle baby photography
- Documentary baby photography
- Sitter sessions
- Cake smash or first birthday photo shoots
Let's have a look at each of these styles, and why the best age to have your baby photographed might vary with each.
Posed Newborn Photography
In posed newborn photography the photographer will place or move your baby into special poses before photographing them. They may use special outfits, blankets or props, or may keep the photographs minimal.
Often posed newborn photo shoots happen in a studio, but some photographers will also bring their studio to your home to take the photographs.
Typically, the best time for a posed newborn photo shoot is when your baby is less than two weeks old. During this time babies are very sleepy and will usually be settled through most of the photo shoot. Many babies enjoy being curled up in the foetal position they were in in the womb, and this allows the photographer to capture lovely curled up poses, and all of the tiny details that make your baby unique.
After the first two weeks babies usually start to uncurl, stretch out and become more alert. This means that your baby may not be able to manage all of the poses, and may spend a larger portion of the shoot awake.
Make Sure You Book Your Newborn Photographer Before Your Due Date
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Lifestyle Baby Photography
Lifestyle baby photographers will capture your baby and the rest of the family in your natural environment. This is usually your home, but may be an outdoor location.
In lifestyle baby photography the photographer will probably give you a lot of direction about where to sit, stand and look and the photographs will focus on your baby and family and the connections between you.
Usually, there's no particular age limit for lifestyle photography; you could arrange the shoot for anytime in your baby's first year. But some photographers will have a preference. For example, some will prefer to photograph your newborn within the first 2, 4 or 6 weeks. Others will photograph them at any time.
- Related Article: Posed vs Lifestyle Newborn Photography. What's The Difference?
Documentary Baby Photography
In Documentary baby photography there is no direction from the photographer at all. They won't pose you or your baby, or tell you what to do. The idea is to capture life with your baby just as it is.
Because of this, you'll probably find that documentary style photographers won't have 'preferred' age ranges when they like to photograph your baby. Their goal is to capture your life with your baby, at a time of your choosing.
Sitter sessions are usually offered by studio photographers, and as the name suggests are aimed at babies who can sit up.
Some photographers only offer these sessions to babies who can sit but not crawl - usually between 6-10 months of age. Other photographers (like me) have a broader 'age limit' for these sessions, and may offer them to older and younger babies who can't yet sit.
As with newborn photography, there are a wide spectrum of styles out there; some photographers offer heavily styled shoots with lots of props, outfits, and interesting backdrops. Others will have a more simple, minimal approach.
Cake Smash Or First Birthday Shoots
As the name suggests, these photo shoots mark your baby's first birthday.
A cake smash involves your baby being sat down in front of a cake, and the photographer photographing them as they dig into it. Some photographers will also offer the option for some photographs of the 'clean up' afterwards, with your baby placed in a bath. Other photographers offer first birthday photo shoots without the cake - perhaps with balloons, or no styling at all.
What's The Best Type Of Photo Shoot For My Baby's Age?
Now that we've looked at how the best age for baby photos varies depending on the style of photo shoot you choose, which is the best kind of photo shoot for your baby's age?
Let's look at four distinct milestones, and the best kinds of photo shoot for each:
- 3-5 months
- 6-10 months
- 11 & 12 months
The Best Kind Of Photo Shoot For Newborn Babies
At the very beginning of your baby's life you could choose a posed newborn photo shoot, lifestyle photo shoot, or documentary shoot. You really have all three options open to you.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the best time for a posed newborn photo shoot is during the first two weeks of your baby's life, but you may find that some photographers will photograph your baby until they're four or six weeks old.
If you've missed this window, but would like a studio photo shoot, I recommend waiting until your baby is three months old. Between one and three months of age, babies are very limited in what they can do - they can all lie on their backs, but probably can't spend long periods of time on their tummy and may not have good neck control. This really limits the variety of photographs that a photographer can take in a studio.
For lifestyle newborn photography you may find that some photographers have a preferred window when they like to photograph new babies. For others, you can have the shoot at any stage. You'll probably find that documentary newborn photographers will be happy to photograph your baby and family at any time of your choosing.
- Related Article: Older Newborn vs 3 Month Old Photo Shoot. Which Is Best For Me?
The Best Kind Of Photo Shoots For 3 to 5 Month Old Babies
By three months babies can usually hold their head steady. Some may even be able to lift themselves up when they’re having tummy time, and all of these characteristics are lovely to capture during a shoot.
At this age we'll also start to see your baby's personality emerging, meaning the photographer might capture laughs, smiles, and more serious expressions!
Whilst your baby will be more alert than a newborn at this age, they will tire quickly.
As they can't yet sit up, it will usually be helpful to have comfortable places to photograph them on - such as soft surfaces in a photographer's studio, or a bed, cot and play mat at home.
For this reason it will be most comfortable for your baby to have a photo shoot in the studio, or a lifestyle or documentary photo shoot at home at this age.
The Best Kind Of Photo Shoots For 6 To 10 Month Old Babies
Between six and ten months most babies will be able to sit unsupported but aren’t yet crawling.
This is one of my favourite times for a session! At this age babies love to interact and engage. They have lots of little personality traits that a photographer can capture, but don't become frustrated because they want to crawl away.
At this age you have lots of options when it comes to the style of photo shoot. As well as studio, lifestyle or documentary photoshoots, you could also choose an outdoor session.
The Best Kind Of Photo Shoots For 11 To 13 Month Old Babies
At the end of the year your baby is becoming a toddler, and may even be walking. This is a popular time for a photo shoot - capturing the milestone of them reaching their first birthday.
Once your baby is on the move, sessions can take longer! Once babies can crawl and walk they can often start to assert their independence - they might not want to stay in the place that your photographer wants them to sit.
For this reason, if your baby is confidently walking but you would like posed photographs I recommend choosing a studio photo shoot over a lifestyle shoot at home or outdoors; once a baby can walk (and run), they will naturally want to explore their surroundings - in a studio the space to explore will be limited, but outdoors or at home it can be difficult to keep a baby focussed on the camera.
The Best Ages For A Baby Photo Shoot With Me
I offer both studio and lifestyle baby photography. So what age do I recommend that you schedule your baby's photo shoot at?
- My posed newborn photography sessions are best suited to babies aged two weeks or younger. For this reason I recommend booking your session before your baby is born so that you can guarantee my availability during this 14 day window.
- My baby milestone sessions are suitable for babies aged 3 to 13 months of age, but the best age is when your baby can sit unaided, but isn't yet crawling; usually between 6 and 10 months old. At this stage babies love to engage with me, and make lots of lovely expressions for the camera but don't get frustrated because they want to move around and explore.
- My lifestyle baby photo shoots are suitable for any time in your baby's first year. If you would like a lifestyle session during the newborn stage, I recommend booking before your baby is born to make sure we can capture the early weeks.
- I also offer outdoor mini sessions. These are family photo shoots, and are ideal for families with babies aged 6 months and over who aren't yet walking.
Over To You
As a mum I know that whatever age you have your baby photographed, the photographs are going to be extremely precious to you. I love looking back at photographs of my children when they were babies, and remembering how little they were then.
But as you can see there are some ages that are better than others for a photo shoot; you might get better results at one stage than another. You might find that the shoot will be more relaxing and comfortable for your baby if you wait a few months to have it. And you may find that the style of photography you like requires your baby to be a certain age.
Either way I hope that this guide helps you to choose the best age to have your baby photographed. I'd love to hear which age you decide on and why - let me know in the comments below.
If you've just started thinking about booking a photo shoot for your baby, you may find these articles helpful as you research different photographers:
Make Sure You Book Your Newborn Photographer Before your Due date
Find out how to choose the best one with our free buyer's guide.