What Is The Best Age To Have My Children Photographed?

best age child photographed

Life with children can be a whirlwind of things to do, places to be and in the blink of an eye another year has passed and your little one has changed and grown all over again.

A family photo shoot is a wonderful way to preserve each stage of childhood – freezing the moment so you can look back and remember how little they were and enjoy your memories from that time. 

So if you’re planning to invest in some beautiful new photographs of your family, when is the best time to do this?

In this article I’ll explain the best times to have your baby or child photographed, from the first year up to the teenage years. And which times tend to be easier than others.

But first…


When is the most popular age to have children photographed?

Before we look at the best time to have your child photographed, you might be interested to know what the most popular times to have children photographed are.

The most popular times (and some reasons for choosing these times) that I hear from families who book shoots with me are:

  • During their baby’s first year – because they want to capture some photographs of them as babies before they grow up and change too much.
  • Between 12 and 24 months – often families who schedule shoots around this time haven’t had a shoot during their baby’s first year and want to capture their little one before they grow even bigger.
  • Age 4 – many families want to capture the time before their child starts school.
  • Age 5 to 6 – I often hear that parents want to have a photo shoot before their child’s teeth start falling out!
  • The teenage years – sometimes families haven’t had a shoot since their children were very little and want to update their family photographs, or have a shoot before their children leave home.


best age to have baby photographed

Having A Photo Shoot During Your Baby’s First Year

There’s no time during your child’s life when they will change as much as they do during their first year. And for that reason this is a very popular time for a photo shoot.

Generally speaking there are three stages during the first year that are best for a baby photo shoot:

  • The newborn stage when your baby is between 5 & 14 days old
  • Approximately 3 to 5 months when your baby is comfortable and confident doing tummy time, and has good neck and head control
  • Approximately 6 to 10 months when your baby can confidently sit up on their own, and isn’t yet crawling.


You can read more about each of these stages in this article dedicated to the best time for baby photographs: What’s the best age for baby photos?

what to wear for outdoor family pictures

Having A Photo Shoot With Your Toddler

Having a photo shoot when your child is a toddler can be a very positive or a challenging experience. All children are different and have different personalities so everyone’s experience will be different, but having photographed hundreds of families, I find that the toddler years are the time when experiences are most variable.

Some toddlers are very happy to engage with new people (i.e. the photographer), happy to sit or stand still with mum, dad or siblings whilst they have their photo taken and follow along with what everyone else is doing.

On the other hand, once they can walk some toddlers discover their independence and have a natural preference for exploring and investigating their surroundings over sitting or standing in one place for a photograph. They want to do what they want to do and will become upset when they aren’t able to.

This is all completely natural and understandable – after all this is exactly what children are supposed to do at this age!  But if your toddler is strong willed and does not want to be held, or sit with the rest of the family during the shoot it probably won’t make for a happy relaxed photo shoot for the rest of the family.

So if you think your toddler falls into this second category does that mean you shouldn’t book a photo shoot?

In short, no. But I would recommend considering which photographer you choose carefully.

For example a photojournalist or documentary style photographer, who will just ask everyone to be themselves and capture what they see without any posing or direction may be a better choice for your family than a photographer who has a more planned style and would give you lots of direction.

Related article: How to choose the right family photographer for your family

prepare children family photos

Having Your Pre-schooler or Older Child Photographed

From around the age of 3 years old, photo shoots can become a lot of fun! From this age children can take direction for short periods, enjoy engaging with me and playing games and this all makes for happy, energetic photographs.

As your children grow older and start school they will generally become even better at taking direction and engaging with me, which can make the experience even easier. Sometimes children develop awkward smiles or very intense grins. Sometimes they can get a bit silly and pull funny faces for the camera. And sometimes they can be a little shy to start with. But as we play some games, or talk about other things they will relax and we’ll be able to capture the lovely, natural expressions that you know and love.

Surrey Family Photography At Home

Summary – The Best Age To Have Your Child Photographed

There’s no right or wrong time to have your children photographed. After all, photographs of them will be special no matter when you have them taken.

In summary, the ages and stages that are most likely to give you a relaxed and enjoyable experience are:

  • The newborn stage when your baby is aged 5-14 days
  • 3-10 months, from when your baby has good head and neck control and up until they start crawling
  • From 3 years and upwards

The toddler years tend to be more varied depending on your little one’s personality. So you may find it particularly helpful to consider the style of shoot that will work best for your family at this stage.


Over To You 

I hope you’ve found this article helpful as you decide when to book a photo shoot. If you have any other questions about booking a photo shoot please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. You can send me a message using this form and I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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