Knowing Baby Milestones to Help Plan Your Photography

If you know what stage of development the baby you are photographing is in, you can plan ahead what photographs you can and cannot take and what props you should bring. When I’m photographing any child under one, I always ask the parents what is the latest developmental milestone the baby has reached. This really helps me think about my shots and whether or not I need to plan for chasing a kid around. Here are some baby milestones – remember that all babies develop at their own pace and may or may not have reached the standard milestone so be sure to ask the parents!

Newborns

We’ve had a few tips on photographing newborns already. All of the tips for handling and photographing newborns basically simulate their time in the womb: white noise, being swaddled, and warmth. When all else fails, feed, feed, feed. Newborns will typically sleep between 14-18 hours a day for about 2-4 hours at a time, so plan for a lot of sleeping photographs. Of course, we all seem to get those newborns that NEVER sleep while we’re there. From what I remember, they pee and poop A LOT, so plan to be able to clean up easily if you’re photographing them without their diapers on.

Plan for a lot of sleeping and cuddling photographs.

3-4 Months

Around this age, they can raise their heads while being on their tummies. However, I’ve found depending on the personality of the baby, they’ll either tolerate it or hate it and scream. You can introduce photographs of babies while on their bellies, but some sneaky ones also like to roll over. So, you have to be fast.

At this age, babies can grasp and shake toys. What props can you bring that a 3 month old can hold?

6 Months

A 6 month baby is my favorite age to photograph! Stranger anxiety has not set in and most can sit up on their own. So, not only will you get a lot of smiles if you’re able to amuse them, but being able to sit up opens a whole new world of ideas and props. You can sit them in all sorts of props without them toppling over.

A 6 month old will be able to bear their weight on their own legs when in a standing position, so if parents are able to support the baby standing up, this will also open up a variety of poses.

Teething may start around now as well, so you might have a teething baby to deal with.

9 Months to 1 Year

This is around the age that they’ll start learning how to walk. You can plan for them to be able to hold onto something and be able to stand up. If they’re not ALREADY walking, they’re crawling or cruising. If they ARE walking, expect to chase after them. Don’t expect a 1 year old to stay still for too long.

Stranger anxiety may or may not be present so be sure to ask the parents beforehand so you can change the way you need to approach the baby.

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