The New Parents Guide to Newborn & First Year Photos

Most photos in this post are by Lisa Lotter Photography, an amazing photographer located in Clermont, Florida. Her at-home studio is filled with backdrops, props and many adorable costumes, tutus and accessories. This can be a huge cost savings for new parents! Mention this blog post when booking with her for a special offer!  Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

I was recently asked why some Moms say, “”My child is 11 months old,” rather than “he’s almost one.” Or, “she’s 22 months” instead of “almost two years old.” The reason as many experienced parents know, is babies and young children change from month to month, or heck, even week to week! A 4-month-old sitting up in a high chair is very different than a 3 month old still laying on his back! It is so important to capture this time in your child’s life because it truly is once-in-a-lifetime stuff here.

Don’t Skip Maternity Photos

The first year technically begins a few weeks before baby’s arrival with maternity photos. Take this opportunity to highlight this special moment in your family’s life. Include your partner and any siblings.

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Photo by Bellies and Babies Photography

Our first maternity session! Photo by Bellies and Babies Photography

The Time to Pick a Photographer is BEFORE Baby Arrives

Of course you probably won’t know your baby’s exact delivery date (unless you have it scheduled with your OB), but at least choose your newborn photographer before the birth of your baby. Contact them to discuss schedule, costs, and any other logistics. This way you can get the photographer you want, they have an approximate hold on their calendar for you, and you can prepare outfits, backdrops and poses BEFORE baby arrives. This is the time as well to look for photo ideas on Pinterest or on your photographer’s website so you can share your vision with them. Newborn sessions are typically done after Day 4 until about 2-3 weeks old. The reason: you want baby to still be sleepy so you can position in them in those adorable poses. Plus they change so much in those first few weeks!

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Speaking of Outfits…

You will be so tired navigating parenthood, you’re not going to feel like navigating Etsy to find the perfect handmade outfit, or for that matter, wait for Etsy orders to arrive before baby is 3+ weeks old. Order your newborn’s outfits, coordinate your and your partner’s outfits (you may want to wear something over or change once there to avoid any accidents), and then gather and place all props and accessories into a bag so you are ready to go to the photography session.

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Gator baby photography

Go Gators!!!

Congrats– Baby is Here!

Don’t forget to take photos during labor, birth, and immediately after birth. You can always decide later if you don’t want them etc, but you can’t recreate those moments. There are specialized birth photographers out there.

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The Newborn Session

For your newborn session, be prepared for it to take possibly a few hours. The timing isn’t about backdrop changes, outfit/accessory changes… it’s about having a nice, sleepy baby for those adorable poses. Be prepared to nurse, feed, and soothe baby to sleep. If you have siblings included in your photos, make sure they are prepared for this as well with snacks, activities etc. Also, many photographers bring a portable heater to a session to ensure baby stays warm during those adorable baby bottom photos.

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Looking Ahead

Many photographers will offer a first year photo package, because it goes by so quickly and you want to capture these milestones! And babies do change so much from month to month. Plan ahead the types of outfits you may want. Look at the seasons/holidays during those monthly milestone sessions and incorporate those. For example, both our daughter and son each turned 6 months during Gator football season so we had to get some orange and blue shots in there!

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Gator baby photography

6 months: Our little baby Gator

You can also be subtle in your Gator photos by choosing Orange and Blue accessories/clothing rather than logo’d items.

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One year old!

One year old!

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Also, many children photographers will offer what’s called mini sessions around holidays to get those key shots you need for Father’s Day gifts, holiday cards, or just an excuse to see your adorable baby with a cute baby chick or dressed like Cupid.

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Some photographers, like Lisa Lotter, will even include the cake and balloons for smash cake photos!

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Photo by Lisa Lotter

Photo by Lisa Lotter

It’s easy to make excuses of “I have my own camera.” “My iPhone does just fine,” or “professional photos are too expensive.” Looking back, you will want to remember these fleeting moments with a professional photographer. Lighting, resolution, and shutter speed are key here to clear, high quality photos, and my phone just can’t capture that. There’s something to be said for professional photography — It really does preserve the essence of your child in a lasting format.

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