What’s the best age for baby photos? Great question, and it’s a fair question because babies are cute for a long time. There are so many milestones that are a great guide for planning professional baby photos.
Having run a portrait studio in Harlow, Essex since 2004, here are the options:
As a professional photographer, I work to babies development stage. So if they’re not quite ready to do something, then I don’t force it. I just adjust the photo session for them. If you are not sure, I am happy to chat it through with you, just call 01279 433392, and if I am with clients I will call you back.
I have photographed babies of all ages for quite a long time now. So I’m quite happy doing that. And just because your baby is say six months old, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re sitting yet. So these guidelines are exactly that, guidelines as to the best age for baby photos.
The best thing is to plan ahead and book a photographer whose style you like. Most photographers are booking a few weeks in advance, and with a newborn time is of the essence. Probably why I photograph a lot of babies that are around the six week mark and that’s fine!
I will happily photograph any age of baby, but I like to explain the options and manage your expectations.
Newborn Baby Photos – under 2 weeks old
The first key age that you could capture is the early days when they’re newborn, typically under 10 days old. Many specialist newborn photographers will only photograph babies in their early weeks (usually no more than 3 weeks old), any older and they may decline the photography session depending on their experience level of photographing older babies.
Around the one week old mark to 10 days is the best age for photos at this stage. After this period they may not sleep as well as you would like, as they realise they have some growing to do and start to notice the world around them.
The poses for a typical newborn baby photoshoot are mostly based on your baby sleeping soundly. I work a little differently and don’t insist at the newborn stage that your baby is asleep. If they are wide awake and curious, I will roll with that. It provides the chance to capture some different baby portraits.
I prefer to manage a parent’s expectations so if the baby’s awake, we’re going to do posing that suits that. And if your baby sleeps, then we can do posing that suits sleeping.
Newborn babies have their own timetable 🙂 And wonderful pictures can be captured at any age.
3-4 months old
The next key stage is when your baby is three to four months old, and it’s another great age for photos.
They’re starting to lift their head up, they may be pushing up on their tummy using their arms. I only need them to push up for a few seconds to capture that memory. You may well get a smile at this age. Some master it earlier than others!
Just to remind us that every child is different.
Between birth and them holding their head at three to four months is an interesting phase. It is still possible to get good photographs at this age. Your photographs will show a sense of scale because I like to use parents’ hands/arms creatively. There is no predictability to this phase, and your baby isn’t likely to smile, unless they have wind.
It’s often a phase other photographers avoid because they’re not quite sure what to do with them. I’m used to photographing that age cause I get a lot of people that have missed the newborn phase. And I have been photographing babies for a very long time.
Another good age for baby photos is when your baby six to eight months old.
6-8 months old
They will be either sitting up really straight or they will still be a little wobbly. Initially baby’s will often sit with their legs out and then their hands in front of them to aid balance.
It’s an ideal age to include siblings as well because everyone’s got used to each other. Things will usually run a bit more smoothly if they can be independent of each other, but will still interact. For me this is THE best age for baby photos, as their character is really emerging.
After this age, the next milestone to capture is around the 10 to 12 months mark.
10-12 months old
So they will typically be standing, and as a photographer, I like them to be standing, not running 🙂
It’s not a problem if they’re running. It just makes for a very lively photoshoot. I literally have to just direct, asking the parents (and older siblings) to keep resetting the baby back to where I need them.
I normally surprise the parents with how many beautiful photos we get, as for them it was just busy.
I have lots of, techniques that I use, and I only need them to be still for a moment. So, it’s not a problem. I think it’s just a case of rolling with it. If you start to feel stressed, then baby will pick that up.
So whilst we’ve talked about the best age for baby photos, I wouldn’t rule out starting with a maternity shoot. Ideally when you’re in your eighth month of pregnancy. So you’re not too tired, but you’ve got a nice bump shape.
It can be a great way to start an album of your baby’s first year. They will love looking back in years to come. Just to see what you and they looked like, and they’re quite fascinated by it. Actually. It’s quite joyful to go through baby pictures with them when they’re older.
Summary of the best ages for baby phtoos
- 7 days old for newborn photos during those early weeks.
- 3-4 months old when your baby is lying, or pushing up on their tummy,
- 6-8 months old when your baby is sitting
- 12 months old when they are standing or walking.
What age is best If you are only able to do one baby photoshoot ….
Then my recommendation would be when your baby is sitting confidently at around 6-8 months old.
Even if they have started crawling, they’ll still be very pleased with themselves, which makes for some super cute photos. Plus you get great shots when babies are on the move.
Other Relevant Resources
In my blog: 7 photos to take of your 6 month old, I share examples of the types of photographs you can capture at this age.
In my photographs in a shoebox podcast episode 25 : Baby Memories – the first 400 days, I talk more about capturing your baby’s first year in photographs. You can listen here.
And Finally ….
I don’t have any expectations that babies will do what I want ’em to do at all. Generally, a child won’t take any form of direction until they are about four years old.
With many years of experience photographing babies, I have learned to roll with whatever baby is doing and adapt the photography session accordingly. There is not a one size fits all approach. Obviously, I have lots of ideas of how to photograph your baby, but secretly they are in charge.
I hope that gives you some ideas on when to think about planning a photography session for your baby. But if you do have any questions, then please get in touch.
Next Steps …
In addition to a single baby photography session at any age, I offer a baby’s first-year photography plan. Typically starting when your baby is 4 months old it covers the three key milestones for your baby of pushing up, sitting, and standing.
There is the option to add a short maternity photography session to that. Your body is doing amazing things, so why not record it? It’s a great way to start a baby’s first-year album or a memory box.
Capturing beautiful photos or the tiny details of your baby, their tiny toes, cheeky smiles. Interacting with older siblings, or including a favourite toy are lovely memories to have.
Live Life. Take Pictures. Relive Memories. Repeat
Listen to the live episode here:
About the photographer: Sue is a professional portrait photographer based in Harlow, Essex and she specialises in baby and child portraiture. Being a parent, she understands just how special your child is to you and her aim is to produce a collection of images that are natural and meaningful to your family. No two moments are ever the same and she wants to perfectly capture those early precious memories and the natural character of your child. For more information please call 01279 433392, visit the Sue Kennedy Photography website and follow Sue on Facebook or Instagram.