Monthly Baby Pictures: Must-Read Tips Before You Get Started (2024)

Monthly Baby Pictures: Must-Read Tips Before You Get Started (1)Monthly Baby Pictures: Must-Read Tips Before You Get Started (2)

You know those cute little monthly stickers that have become a staple at baby showers? You, soon to be mom, are probably super excited about them. Oh what fun it will be to take pictures every month to document the growth of your baby from newborn to one year!

And then you have that sweet little squishy, floppy baby… and you’re tired, and they are cranky when you set them down. When you look at them, they are like little angels of soft skin and whispy hair, but then you take their picture to share the cuteness and somehow, on camera, they look more like a little neckless obese blob with crazy old man hair. Why is it so hard to make a newborn baby look cute in a picture? As a mom who just powered through twelve months of DIY Monthly Sticker photo shoots, I thought I’d share a little advice from my trials and errors… and eventual successes from our monthly photos.

Think About the Collection

First of all, before you take the first month’s pictures, think about the end results. What do you want to do with the pictures at the end of the year? Make an Instagram collage, hang them up on a banner at her first birthday party, use them in his baby book? With that in mind, do you need horizontal, square, or vertical images? Do you want them to have a certain color theme (maybe tied to their first birthday party theme)? Do you want a doll or stuffed animal in the picture as a monthly growth comparison?

I hung mine up on a banner at our daughter’s first birthday party. Had I thought through this better, I probably would have shot vertical images each month and I definitely would have attempted to have some more consistencies. Though I loved each photo shoot, as a Type A, the collection as a whole made me cringe a little. Learn from my mistakes!

Consider the Background

I once read that Dallas blogger Jill Krause of BabyRabies.comsuggests buying white bedding or to at least keep a white blanket on your bed for impromptu baby photo shoots. When we were newlyweds, I bought a white quilt on sale but I never found shams to match and it sat in my closet for years. When my daughter was born, I remembered her tip, and draped it over the end of our bed. After a couple of months of trial and error, the white quilt evolved into the primary backdrop for our monthly photo shoots. I love the white because the baby is the entire focus of the picture. I’ve seen some really cute pictures though on a nice solid-colored tufted chair or a black-and-white chevron rug. A wood floor and a soft colored wall in the background can be perfection too with a few props while they are little and floppy. We have carpets and floor pictures just aren’t the same. But a quilt against a wall can make this work…or you can actually buy or make small wood floor props.

It’s All in the Lighting

Before you make a final decision on your background, consider the lighting in that room. This is actually the most important consideration. Find the room in your house that has the biggest windows and brings in the most light. If you’re home with your little ones, morning light is probably your best bet because they are usually in a better mood in the mornings, but if you work or get great afternoon or early evening light in a room, that definitely works too. You want to position your camera so that the light is coming in from the back of your camera, so behind you. My best light is mid-morning in our master bedroom. What I found to work best for us once my baby was sitting up was to drape my quilt over the bed and onto the floor to make a backdrop in my brightest room. Before she was sitting up, I laid her on the quilt on the bed and shot pictures from above.

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The Wardrobe

Do you want to do white onesies with stickers? Or maybe just a cloth diaper? Or do you want to show off a cute new outfit each month? I went with white onesies and stickers, but one thing I didn’t consider was that the stickers (that I bought back when I was just a boy mom) had an odd almost gender neutral, very limiting color scheme. I needed to match my girl’s bow to the stickers each month which lead to picking some of my not so favorite bows from our collection. Also, our bow preference evolved over time so some months I seriously want to go in and photoshop a cuter (read: bigger) bow onto her head! If I could go back, I would pick some more girly stickers to start with, and then enlist my favorite bow making friend to make me 12 coordinating 1 ½ inch twisted boutique bows like the ones below.

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Other Prop Considerations

Do you actually want the stickers? I’ve seen some cute cards and blocks, and now with so many editing apps, you can actually just take a picture and then add any information you want to the image itself. I haven’t used them, but there are apps just for this that will add cute scripts to your picture with things like their height, weight, favorite foods, and interests. Also, the chalkboard is all the rage with you moms with cute hand writing. It’s a cute way to track stats each month and to remember the cute things they are doing…but it’s also one more thing to do. Think it through.

Once they are mobile, you might need to add in some props for them to hold or sit on. Getting a crawling baby to sit still without putting something in their hands is simply not possible. And then, if you’re blessed with an early walker like us, good luck! If your pictures aren’t on a chair already, then you might need to add a chair or a stool or something for them to sit on in the later months. It keeps the little walkers sitting longer somehow. I wish I had invested in a little white or wicker stool, just for keeping the pictures all simple and uniform.

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Quality over Punctuality

Babies, weather, schedules, they are all unpredictable. My advice, if you want to do monthly shoots, is to completely and unapologetically let go of the goal to get pictures on your baby’s actual monthly birthday. Don’t force a photo shoot on a feverish baby who just wants to be held or try to pack it into an already stressful day. If it’s dreary outside and the lighting is terrible, wait until a sunny day. And once baby is mobile or cracking smiles, wait until Daddy is home so he can help reposition a crawling baby (approximately every two seconds) or make silly faces to catch that little grin on camera. Personally, my goal was just to get it in within the month, preferably the first two weeks of it. Trust me, you’ll get better pictures that you’re much happier with if you let go of the idea that it has to be ON the same exact day of each month.


Don’t forget to throw in the siblings every now and then. It’s amazing how much they change right alongside the new baby. At my daughter’s first birthday, I actually decoratedone wall with my favorite pictures of her and her big brother together and gave him a Happy First Big Brotherversary gift. Some of my favorites came from these monthly shoots where I pulled him in for a few quick impromptu pictures.

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Or Ditch It All and Just Enjoy Your Baby

Lastly, don’t be afraid to let it go, to decide this is too much effort. Choose the pinterest mom crazes that bring you joy and happiness and fulfillment…and let all of the others go! This first year goes way to fast to waste time stressing over perfect pictures. But if this kind of thing makes you happy, then I hope this advice helps you out so you don’t get to the end of the first year and think, “Ugh, why didn’t I think to do {this or that} from the beginning?”

What would you add to this list?

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Monthly Baby Pictures: Must-Read Tips Before You Get Started (2024)
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