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Milestone Photos: Advice from a Professional Photographer

little girl in pajamas on her 8th birthday

Any parent will tell you — kids grow up so fast! That's why we're firm believers in capturing as many memories as possible and documenting the milestones as your baby grows. 

Photographing a child, regardless of their age, comes with its challenges and can feel daunting. But it doesn't have to! We interviewed professional family and lifestyle photographer Emily Young to get her advice on monthly milestone photoshoots. She has lots of practice capturing the little details in everyday life, and we were grateful to get her advice.

Where is the best place to take monthly milestone photos?

Select a space that feels personal and special during this phase. Natural light is always a huge plus. Take advantage of floor space to spread out and move around! Bassinets or cribs also work well for younger babies. 

Try to get in a position near a large window, or open your front door and create a set up on the floor where the light floods in (although this is tricky if you live in cold temperatures for part of the year!).

What are your favorite props/creative themes for milestone photos?

I love a changeable letter board or blanket with the months printed on it, but it's also fun to think outside the box. A dear friend of mine used a different kind of pie each month for her "sweetie pie," it was so unique and special, and I always looked forward to seeing what pie would be featured next! I've also seen a family show how much their baby grows each month next to a french baguette. How cute is that?!  

Of course, special Lovies or stuffies add a personal touch, and flowers are always beautiful. The key is to remain consistent and avoid stressing out too much, or it will become an arduous task every month.

How should I position a non-mobile baby? 

I always like to have babies lying on their backs, looking up at the camera overhead so you can clearly see their sweet faces. Although it does get harder to keep them in place as they learn to roll and crawl! 

Any tips for when they become mobile?

Distraction, distraction, distraction! Funny songs and faces, peek-a-boo, silly dance moves, noisy toys. And be ready to shoot fast! 

What's the best time to take photos of a baby or toddler?

Every baby is different, of course, but in my experience, the mornings after waking and eating are when babies and toddlers are the calmest and most alert. But if your baby (or the light in your home) is different, just do what works for you and your family!

What should my child wear for milestone photos? 

I love a simple, clean, cozy outfit like their Little Sleepies. Babies should be able to move freely without anything too fussy getting in their way. And Little Sleepies' adorable prints and patterns are a fun way to subtly change it up every month!

Any tips for photographing your child at different stages of development? 

As a mom of three, my best tip is just to do your best. So many of my "monthly" baby photos happened on the final day of that month, and that's just what I was able to do at that time. Be kind to yourself and know that one day you will love every single photo of that time in your baby's life regardless of how perfect or not perfect your setup is. 

Also, don't just stop at 12 months! Continue each year or a few times a year, taking time to have a great photo to celebrate your little one growing. I always do a portrait on or around my kids' birthday to celebrate!

We are so grateful for Emily's advice and expertise! If you're looking for a photographer in Los Angeles, check out her website. We can't wait to see your milestone photos and hope these tips were helpful! 


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