The first year of a baby’s life is an incredible journey filled with precious moments, developmental milestones, and countless memories waiting to be made. It’s natural for parents to want to capture every smile, every milestone, and every tiny detail of their newborn’s life through the lens of a camera (or phone). Often wondering exactly what photos to take during Your Baby’s First year and stressing you missed something important. As a new mom, this was a huge topic for me. Being a professional photographer I felt this intense urge to take ALL the photos and to make sure they were amazing. I put so much pressure on myself and my family. As the months went on it became even worst. Every time I felt he had changed or was doing something new I not only felt the need to photograph that but I also felt sad for what I didn’t capture in the last stage. It became overwhelming. So I though I would share a few tips I wish I had been given all those years ago.
1. Embrace the Present Moment:
One of the key reasons not to stress about capturing every moment is to fully embrace the present. Parenthood is a unique journey filled with unpredictable twists and turns. Instead of constantly worrying about getting the perfect shot, focus on being present with your baby. Engage in eye contact, cuddle, and savor the tiny moments that make parenthood special. These moments are often more meaningful than perfectly posed photographs. If there is spit up on your shirt or your kid is not in a cute beige outfit that is okay. Just roll with it.
2. Authenticity Over Perfection:
Authenticity trumps perfection when it comes to capturing memories. Candid and unscripted moments often tell a more genuine story than meticulously staged photos. Allow your baby to be themselves, capturing their unique personality and quirks. Remember that imperfections and unexpected expressions are what make memories truly special.
I remember looking at other peoples newborn photos and feeling overwhelmed that I didn’t get a shot like that of my son. So I would try to stage that moment or that shot for my own family. One of my biggest regrets is not just turning social media off for a year and just taking pictures of our life as it was. Messy, chaotic, beautiful and full of love.
3. Prioritize Well-being:
Stressing over photos can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. The first year of parenthood is already a period of adjustment and learning. Prioritize your well-being and that of your baby over achieving the perfect photo. A happy and stress-free parent creates a positive environment for the baby to thrive.
4. Live in the Now, Edit Later:
Instead of constantly having your camera or phone in hand, set aside specific times for capturing moments. Enjoy the spontaneous and unplanned aspects of your day-to-day life with your baby. You can always edit and organize photos during nap times or when you have some downtime. (which might not be for a year or so and that is OKAY!). This approach allows you to strike a balance between being present and documenting memories. You do not need to post a cute shot to social media. Just shoot for your self and then put the camera down.
5. Quality Over Quantity:
It’s not about the number of photos but the quality of the moments captured. Choose your photo opportunities wisely, focusing on significant milestones and memorable experiences. This way, you can create a meaningful collection of images that truly reflect your baby’s first year. Remember if you take 1 photo a day. Just one photo but you make sure it is a decent photo you will have over 365 photos of you kid at the end of the year to choose from. You don’t need many to make an album.
6. Incorporate Photography Into Daily Routines:
Integrate photography into your daily routines in a way that feels natural. Capture moments during feeding, playtime, or bedtime rituals. By incorporating photography into your daily life, you’re more likely to capture genuine moments without it feeling like an additional task. Early on I decided to have a small camera set up and ready to go in my kitchen. (where we spend most of our time). This way when I felt the need I would grab it and take a few shots and put it down. Now I have a cabinet in my kitchen that has my camera stuff. I know that not everyone would do this, but find out what works for you. I jus suggest keeping it close by because it if s far away or in a bag you will not go for it very much.
7. Get Creative With Photo Ideas:
Spice up your photo collection by getting creative with your ideas. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and backgrounds. Incorporate props or themed photo sessions for special occasions. By making the process enjoyable, you’re more likely to have fun capturing moments without the stress. I would take one morning a week and just watch him play. I would try new light and angles. It made it fun for me to document him while he was playing.
8. Share the Responsibilities:
If the responsibility of taking photos falls solely on one person, it can become overwhelming. Share the duties with your partner or other family members. This not only eases the burden but also provides different perspectives and varied memories. I taught my husband photography and I couldn’t be more happy for this. He definitely does not take nearly as much as me, but every now and then I hand him the camera and get int the shot with my son.
9. Celebrate Unconventional Moments:
Some of the most memorable moments are often unconventional and unexpected. Celebrate the messy, chaotic, and unpredictable aspects of parenthood. These moments may not fit the traditional definition of a “perfect” photo, but they capture the essence of real life.
10. Reflect and Appreciate Growth:
As the first year unfolds, take time to reflect on your baby’s growth and development. Look back at the photos you’ve taken and appreciate the journey. The progression from tiny newborn to a more active and expressive baby is a remarkable transformation worth celebrating. Don’t worry about what you didn’t capture just focus on what you did. When I was a baby there was about 20-30 photos of my first year of life. Trust me when I say they are not all good or even in focus. (Thanks to dark rooms and film cameras). But I love them. I especially love the ones with my parents in them. So make sure to get in the frame as much as you can.
All the images here were captured but my husband or myself. We used my Full frame Nikon, Cell phones and some film. However, I learned quickly that the camera is less important. Just use what you have. Don’t over think it.
The first year of your baby’s life is a unique and fleeting period that deserves to be savored. While capturing memories through photos is a wonderful way to document this journey, it’s crucial not to let the process become a source of stress. Embrace the present, prioritize authenticity, and focus on enjoying the moments. By finding a balance between being present and capturing memories, you can create a meaningful and authentic collection of images that truly reflect the joy and wonder of YOUR baby’s first year.
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