At what age should I get my child photographed?
I often get asked by parents what is the best age for photos of their child before booking a professional photographer. For some reason this is especially true of those parents of newborns or very young children.
Rather than write another post where I’m sarcastic and flip it on you at the end, I’ll start with the obvious answer. Your family is worth photographing whatever stage you are at…
I’d love to tell you to book a photoshoot every three months because your child will change so staggeringly quickly, especially when they are teeny tiny babies. That first year goes by in a flash and it feels like every week they hit a new milestone!
However, I also know, this simply isn’t possible for most parents so let’s have a look through the different ages, the various benefits of pictures at these ages and what might suit your situation best.
I will also leave it here that if you want four shoots across your baby’s first year then I have a special four for the price of three offer on that to help you get more of that wonderful first year covered!
Maternity sessions (32-37 weeks pregnant)?
If you’re looking to start documenting your child’s journey before their birth then a maternity session is a great way to show them their life before it even began officially!
For many couples pregnancy is a time full of anticipation and excitement as you look forward to becoming a parent. Having photos at the home you’re looking forward to bringing your child home to or on location, can be wonderful way to celebrate and remember this special time.
Older siblings are, of course, welcome in these photos too – it is all part of family photography!
Timing wise, 32-37 weeks is usually the best time to do this so your bump is nice and round but you’re not feeling super uncomfortable but that will be down to you and your bump largely. Some bumps are still pretty dinky at 32 weeks!
Hello baby! A newborn session or fresh 48 shoot (0-4 weeks)?
There is a misconception that babies are boring. They’re not going to be doing the Can-Can, but you’re not trying to capture them doing anything. You’re booking photos for you. That newborn fog will lift and the details will feel a little fuzzy round the edges. The photos bring them back into sharp focus through those photos.
A more recent trend is to have photos taken at hospital (or wherever you give birth) immediately after you’ve welcomed your new arrival. I love these shoots so much as those first 48 hours are just incredible. I know that in these early days it can feel like the last thing on your mind but everyone I’ve photographed in this way has been so happy they’ve made space for a shoot like this.
A newborn shoot captures your family growing from two to three people or when your daughter becoming a big sister for the first time. These moments, rather than your newborn doing anything, is what makes newborn shoots amazing…
That being said, if your newborn can do the Can-Can, I NEED to see this!
These shoots will take place at your home and be indoors (or maybe in your garden if the weather is great), but babies this age do best closer to home. Similarly, I love to capture your relationship with your baby and how your life has changed, rather than wrapping your little one or highly posed photos. I’m happy to recommend a great photographer who does this kind of posed newborn work if that’s what you’re after, but it’s not me!
I love to use your home at the backdrop and capture all the natural cuteness your bubba brings with them.
The baby year: rolls, crawls and smiles (4 weeks – 1 year)?
Babies are just adorable to photograph… they are starting to really let their personalities shine (plus they often get those adorable chubby leg rolls!). I always think it’s amazing that you can plonk a baby down and a room full of adults will watch them for hours on end. That’s what’s fascinating about babies – we are as transfixed by their achievements as they are!
Now they are a bit more interactive the images do stand on their own merit a little more; tummy time, the smiles, the sitting up, the crawling or pulling up all make for a more varied gallery. There is so much rapid change taking place for your baby that pictures at this age are always a fun reminder of an active and happy time in their development. If you want some beautiful pictures then cute, chubby babies are probably what you’re after!
Again, these shoots work really well in your environment; home and garden. Babies are happy in their own environment largely and they have their own toys around them which you’ll love seeing in the photos when they’ve moved on to new hobbies and interests.
Photographing toddlers and preschoolers (1-4 years)?
Well, toddlers certainly come with their own challenges, especially as they learn to push boundaries, say no and throw things, but in my experience these years are as hilariously funny as they are frustrating! This age group can really deliver some wonderful pictures.
For every tantrum there is also something that probably has you in stitches as they jumble words and the most enthusiastic hug you could possibly imagine to follow! I loved hanging out with my child at this age so much and I couldn’t take enough pictures of him…
Preschoolers start to get their speech and coordination down but are just as amazing to have photos of because they’ve yet to develop any sense of self-consciousness that afflicts us as we grow older.
With kids this age you can easily get out and about this more and pick a location they love visiting like a local playground or park. If you pick somewhere local to home a split shoot between home and location is equally possible which gives you a great variety of photos to choose from. As with smaller babies, incorporating their favourite toys is always going to make these photos special for you as you can look back and remember exactly what they loved at this age.
Photography for school aged children?
I know it seems hard as your kids get older to get them in the photo. They are getting a little more reluctant, a little more self-conscious and so maybe it seems all too hard to try and arrange?
The benefit of having a very fun-focused, relaxed photoshoot is that your kids will relax and show their wonderfully unique personalities in your photos. Plus, if you let them be themselves, you avoid the horrific cheese faces they’ve somehow become masters in during this period!
I think because kids in this age group are more reluctant to get in the photo, it’s doubly important to make photos a priority. My son isn’t quite five yet but I can already see him becoming wary of my endless photo taking so efforts must be doubled 😉
Making the effort to photograph pre-teens and teens?
Is it the holy grail of parenting a pre-teen or teen that you dream of having a photo when your child isn’t sneering at you with disdain or gurning at you?!
When I was at this age, complete with train tracks and a terrible Tina Turner haircut (why?!) I felt horrific in photos. I wish someone had taken the time to let me be myself in photos rather than trying endless to get me to smile through my awkwardness.
Get kids this age involved in their favourite activities, let their personalities shine and you’ll be able to preserve how they navigated this awkward half-child, half-adult portion of their development.
Yes, they may list Playstation or taking selfies as their top hobby, but don’t dismiss either quite yet. Both have a place in photos to remember who they were at this point in time.
For kids / young adults in this age group I would recommend a shoot at home again if you feel it’s right. Let your kids do their own thing for the majority of the session and capture them in a very documentary style so that it really is just a record of them living their life, unless you feel they will be more amenable to being photographed in ‘family activities’.
Kids of all ages are worth photographing…
As you can see, all ages have their merits for getting in the photograph and I hope this has helped you figure out what age is best for booking your photoshoot.
By letting your kid relax and be themselves, they will shine in photos and we will capture your family navigating whichever stage of family life you find yourself at right now.
Obviously, I love having photos taken so it’s a priority for me and we take photos at least once a year. The callous business person in me wants to say it’s a necessity to have photos at least 3 times a year, every year, FOREVER! But I know that’s a financial luxury that is out of reach for the majority of us. So I’d be happy to help chat through what might be the best age for photos for you to get photos you think might be the most emotionally valuable to you.
Drop me a line below, I’d love to chat.