As a Metro Detroit Baby Photographer, I often have clients ask me for recommendations about when to have their children and family photographed...everything from age of their children and time of year.
I am a big believer that a successful photo session begins with me understanding exactly what my client wants and ends with me handing over a tangible heirloom quality product that fulfills the expectation. And so, my recommendations vary client to client. However, there are a few elements I try to weave through Milestone Photography plans.
The first element I am a bit obsessed with is telling the story of time passing through the changing of the seasons. Each season in Michigan is beautiful and unique and when paired with a growing baby or family simply having photo sessions in different seasons has a wonderful, poetic storytelling affect.
The second aspect is the timing. Many Grosse Pointe parents want newborn, 3, 6, 9 and 12 month photography sessions...and I will do that; however, due to developmental milestones I really think 3-4 sessions in the first year is more than enough to adequately capture your baby's story.
Here is what I generally recommend for each client from Maternity to young childhood.
Maternity Session - Best held around 34 weeks of pregnancy. I offer petite session* with just the expectant mom or a full session** with mom, dad and kids.
Newborn Session - Best held in the in the first two weeks of life. I offer petite sessions* for just the newborn on a bean bag as well as full sessions** with the newborn on the bean bag, a couple different setups, the option to do something outdoors (I also offer a couple outdoor shots for winter babies) and the parents and kids.
First Milestone Session - Best around 4 or 5 months old. I like to call this the smiley stage. By 4 or 5 months most babies are becoming more social and love making eye contact and smiling! They are often comfortable on their tummy, which makes for some really cute photos that every parent should have in their photo collection. I also love to include parents and even siblings in this session.
Second Milestone Session - Best around 8 or 9 months old when the baby is sitting (some are even standing). I absolutely adore sitter sessions! Babies at this age are just too cute and seem to really love having their pictures taken. I like to keep this session all about that baby and while I will do this one indoors, I love to get the little ones outside, even in winter (some of my winter images of babes this age are my favorite).
Third Milestone Session - The One Year Old Session. In terms of milestones, celebrating the first year is one most parents do not want to miss! This is a great opportunity to try and include the parents and other kids, or even have a cake smash!
Continuing Sessions -18 months through 3 or 4 years can be a hard time to have photos...once kids start walking getting them to sit still for a few images can be tough, let alone an entire session, and family sessions can be, well, interesting! But like most things with kids, the most important thing is having realistic expectations. It is ok if your kid(s) wants to make funny faces or over exaggerated smiles or even not smile at all....after all those sort of behaviors are age appropriate and once they grow out of these stages, parents tend to remember them fondly and love that their photo collection has these imperfect moments captured. And most often there is a few 'perfect' images taken. For kids 18 mos- 3 or 4 years, I often include nature in the images...sticks, pine cones, rocks and sometimes toys. These objects captivate the little ones and lets me capture them in what they do best...explore and play.
Once kids hit 4 and 5, there can still be challenges, but they are much more cooperative and easy to pose. Depending on the child, I may still give them something to hold onto for a photo or use a pile of leaves or a handful of flowers to capture their attention, but for the most part photo sessions are a breeze.
For those interested in milestone sessions, I do offer a unique Four Seasons package, where I work with each client to develop a shooting plan that includes each season of the year over a one-two year period.
Interested in booking a session with me? Let's talk!
Dana Zarycki is an on-location, natural light photographer, specializing in newborn, child and family phot