I always love working with clients and getting to see their children grow through the years. I especially love documenting the first year of a baby, and their important birthday milestones. My how they change from newborn to toddler and I enjoy seeing the differences in the babies and toddlers at each of their birthday sessions.
I have been blessed with three beautiful boys of my own and contrary to what everyone assumes, I have not been the best at always documenting the important stages of their lives. Taking everyone else’s portraits, often leaves me with little or no time to document the lives of my own babies. As I looked through some of the old photos I had of my two older boys and it made me sad to think I had not taken the time to document each little stage. I decided that when my last baby arrived, I would be diligent about taking the time to make sure his life was captured, and in the process try to make up for lost time with my other two boys. When Tyson was born I made time to take portraits of him and the boys at every stage. It is hard to imagine my sweet baby grew from a precious little baby to a bright-eyed. blonde toddler.
It’s now one month until my sweet baby boy will turn 2 and I am waxing nostalgic, as I look back over these two years and how quickly he has changed and grown up. What a difference from newborn to the 6 month stage.
After six months, the baby has turned into a rambunctious toddler, then it’s on to a big boy from there! Last summer it was finally time to capture my baby’s first year portraits, along with his smash the cake session. Here are some helpful hints for parents when scheduling your baby’s first birthday session.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – Selecting the right location sets the tone for your portraits. I found an amazing spot for his cake portraits and I just knew the portraits would be bright and colorful and everything I wanted, once I found my spot! If you have a location in mind, talk to the photographer about it in advance, or let them recommend a location that they think would work with your wardrobe or props.
WARDROBE – Selecting a wardrobe is always important for portraits. Typically, girls and boys wear a fun and special birthday outfit that could include a tutu for girls with a headpiece, or for boys, a pair of jeans and no shirt, like the photos below. Some parents of baby girls also choose just a fun diaper cover, with ruffles and no shirt.
SMASH THE CAKE – Baby’s first year portraits are some of my favorite ones to capture. The smash the cake sessions are always so cute! Some babies LOVE the yummy cake, and I have had some that don’t want any part of it!~ Either way, it makes for a good time and some great portraits! My little guy was more than cooperative and was shoveling in as much cake as he could possibly get in his mouth. I recommend parents take advantage of the FREE Publix cake for baby’s first year. If you order a cake from Publix for your baby’s birthday, you also get a FREE mini-cake! Just register at the bakery. Another option is a really big or colorful cupcake, which is what I did for Tyson’s portraits. Be sure to grab some colorful balloons, which set the tone perfectly and add to the portraits. The balloons also come in handy to keep a busy toddler still for a few standing shots.
Be prepared to have some towels or baby wipes to clean up the mess. Also, keep in mind when choosing your clothing for the portraits that if the birthday outfit is the one they will wear in the smash the cake session make sure it can be washed.
BOOK BEFORE THEY WALK – I recommend as well that baby’s first year portraits are taken around 11 months, after your baby is standing, but not yet walking. This way, we can keep them still long enough to get the shots we want! Tyson walked early, so I had to catch him around 10 months. If they are already walking, you can still get some really cute portraits, like the ones below I got of Tyson right after he started walking. Just make sure they aren’t off and running!
PROPS – If you have a toddler, plan for a fun prop or something they can can use to distract them long enough to keep them in one place. This helps to get that perfect shot! Balloons, a wagon, tricycle, or a prop or toy that matches the theme of the party is also very cute. I used a red wagon and a sentimental tie for Tyson’s two year portraits. Tyson wore the little tie in his newborn portraits, and I always knew I wanted to use it again, before he was too big to wear it. It was a perfect compliment to the little red wagon.
I am so happy I took the time and have these precious memories of my boy at every stage…they grow so fast, and they go from baby to boy in the blink of an eye. If you are interested in information about a Baby’s First Year package for your newborn, or toddler portrait packages please email me at JHJRice@aol.com, or call me at 407.462.7189.