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 DIY Photo tips for capturing all your baby’s milestones

As your newborn + family photographer, I would love to be available to come by every month/week/day to capture your baby’s milestones but since we know that’s not possible I want to help you with some of my favorite tips and tricks!


First things first. You are going to need a camera. Are you going to need the latest equipment and a master’s in fine art? Absolutely not! Modern point-and-shoot cameras (see this post on which one to buy) have amazing capabilities and don’t even get me started on the iPhone. It’s seriously amazing – especially if you take a little time to poke around and test out some features! (Check out this post on how to take better phone pictures!)


When it comes to light, daylight is key. For this reason, I recommend, when shooting indoors to limit your light source to just daylight. That means turning off the lights. The reason for this is natural light is quite cold (blue) by nature and lightbulbs are warm (yellow). Your camera will try to neutralize the color (this is called white balance) but if you have the lights on and you are near a window, you will confuse the camera and get all sorts of crazy skin tones.

Create “Instagram corners”

Once you find your pretty light pockets, carve out a space that you keep clean and ready to shoot in at the drop of a hat. One trick is to look for “catch lights” in your baby’s eyes. If you can see reflections of light in their eyes, you know you have good light on your subject.

A freshly made bed is often a great spot to try and plop your littles for a quick snap!

Change your angle

Try changing your angle when taking pictures of your baby. Shoot from above, lay on the floor, keep trying different angles and compare to get the best composition. Zoom in – get really close for those little features – and zoom out to capture the space / size and energy of your little ones!

Rule of Thirds

Speaking of composition, this is a great rule of thumb to follow. It is natural to try to place the subject in the center of the frame, but by following this simple composition rule, you can generally make more compelling and well-composed shots.

How to achieve it: turn on the grid lines on your camera or phone or visualize breaking up the viewing screen into thirds. Place your subject in the left or right third of the image.

Here is my favorite tutorial describing the rule of thirds among other rules of composition based on the work of Steve McCurry.

Month by month

The month-by-month grids have become a very popular trend and there are a lot of templates available on the internet. Just be sure to give it some thought and map out the year with consistency. Always shoot in the same place with the same light source (remember the white balance note) with the same props so show how your baby grows to the best advantage.

Each month of his first year I put Fitz in a plain white diaper, laid him (WHOA this got difficult as he got mobile!) on a white blanket by our living room window with his monthly blocks. I LOVE how it came together when the year was done! I used this frame from Amazon and got the pictures printed via Shutterfly!

Don’t say cheese

Instead of getting your baby’s attention and always going for the smile, get them used to you having the camera out often so they act natural in front of your lens. this will allow you to more authentically capture connections and everyday moments. Bonus, there is no bribery involved 🙂


Right now, your house probably looks like it’s full of stuff. Toys, crafts, and baby decor that is appropriate for your baby’s development. Over time these things will adapt and change but you want to remember these days. Be sure to capture the details. Walk around your house while your baby is napping and the house is quiet to document your ever-changing surroundings.

The same thing goes for your little ones! Get close. Document their tiny toes, their cute little noses, and the curl at the nape of their neck. These are the special little things that I want to remember forever.

A special note to moms

Whether or not you are the family historian, moms have a tendency to either intentionally or not, forget to put themselves in the frame. We have a million excuses (I don’t have any makeup on, I want to lose the baby weight) but you are a part of your family’s history and your children are going to want to see you in those photos someday. Make an effort either once a week, once a month, or just occasionally, to have your partner hold the camera or experiment with the self-timer and get mama in the frame! And of course… book a session with me!! 🙂

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I believe in all things bright, happy & colorful! Specializing in capturing the JOY of life's greatest adventures!

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