What Is A Sitter Session?

what is a sitter session in baby photography

As you start planning your baby’s photo shoot and researching photographers you may come across the term ‘sitter session.’ You might be wondering what exactly a sitter session is, and whether it’s the right kind of photo shoot for your baby.

In this article I’ll explain:

  • What a sitter session is.
  • The benefits of having a sitter session.
  • Your options if a sitter session isn’t suitable for your baby.
  • Information about the sessions I offer for ‘sitters.’


Surrey baby photos taken in studio

What Is A Sitter Session?

As you research baby photographers you’ll typically see three kinds of photo shoot available. Newborn sessions to capture those first, precious weeks with your new baby. First birthday or cake smash sessions to capture the huge milestone of your baby’s first birthday. And sitter sessions.

A sitter session, as the name suggests, is a photo shoot for babies who can confidently sit up unsupported. Typically this is from about 6 months of age.

Some photographers will specify that the sessions are for babies who can sit unaided but aren’t yet walking or crawling. Other photographers just have the requirement that your baby can confidently sit up unaided.

Related Article: What’s the best age for baby photos?


london baby photo studio

The Benefits Of A Sitter Session

So why do so many photographers specify this milestone of being able to sit up as the time they can photograph your baby?

There are a few reasons why this stage is wonderful to capture:


You can capture a much bigger variety of images when your baby can sit up

After the newborn stage, and before your baby can sit up the options for photographing them alone are limited. Typically photographers can only photograph a baby of this age lying on their backs, on their tummies or in your arms. Once a baby is confidently sitting up there is much more opportunity for different kinds of photographs, and the photographer can capture a good variety of images for you to choose from.

baby portrait by clare murthy london

We’ll see more of your baby’s personality in the photographs

Around the time when babies can confidently sit up we also start to see lots more of their personality. Babies of this age are usually quite comfortable to interact with strangers too – they haven’t yet become shy around people they don’t know. And this means they’re happy to engage with the photographer who can capture lots of wonderful expressions – from big gummy smiles to long, serious stares.

Once babies are fully mobile they want to explore

Once babies are very mobile they also enjoy exploring and enjoy exerting their independence. They may not be happy to be in front of the camera because they want to be able to move around and explore. Having your photo shoot before this age – when your baby is confidently sitting but isn’t fully mobile means you can capture lots of personality and variety in the photographs without your baby becoming frustrated.

Related Article: Six Month Baby Photography: Five Moments You Must Capture

london baby portraits by clare murthy

What If My Baby Is At The ‘Wrong’ Stage For A Sitter Session?

The first year with a baby is such a whirlwind, and for many parents their baby is past this sitter stage when they start to think about having professional photographs taken. So does that mean it’s too late for a shoot?

Absolutely not. In fact, many photographers including me offer baby photo shoots for a wider age range – not just this ‘sitting but not mobile’ stage. 

The differences you might find are:

  • If your baby is not yet sitting when you schedule your shoot you may find that the variety of photographs is not as large as you would have if you wait until they’re sitting confidently.
  • If your baby is already on the move you may find the shoot takes a little longer as they will likely want to move around more, explore and satisfy their curiosity during the shoot!

Baby Photography Studios Kew, London

The Sessions I Offer For ‘Sitters’

I offer Baby Milestone Sessions for babies aged 3 to 13 months, which includes this ‘sitter’ age group.

These sessions take place in my studio which is close to Hampton Court and usually last around one hour. As well as photographing your baby this allows us time for taking family and sibling portraits too.

Black and white baby photos london

Next Steps

The ‘sitter’ stage is a wonderful milestone to capture, when your baby can share lots of gorgeous expressions and engage with the photographer. 

I hope that this article has helped your research as you choose the best kind of photo shoot for your baby.

If you have any questions about having your baby photographed or would like to book a session with me please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

london baby photographer clare murthy

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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