Every pregnant mom looks forward to taking those monthly baby photos to commemorate their first little year of life. I know I did. For nine months I pinned those cute ideas for taking those adorable photos.
Then our precious daughter was born. And somehow, her first monthly photo turned out like this…
I believe I was thinking something along the lines of “oh what a cute cloth diaper! I love cloth diapers!” without thinking whether or not I actually wanted to take every single monthly photo in fluff butt (which I didn’t).
Unfortunately, I can never go back and retake that picture. The moment is gone. That’s what happens. Our babies grow up and we’re left looking at memories.
At least this picture makes me look back and laugh at myself. As much as I would like to be the picture perfect mom who’s got everything together and has beautiful family photos, that’s just not reality.
For me, reality is that my kids are always trying to strip their clothes off when I’m trying to snap a picture. Reality is that my house is a disaster in every shot. Reality is that my kids seem to always be the ones screaming in the family picture.
I tried to salvage the rest of the monthly photos by choosing a different blanket each month to see somewhat “consistent.” But they weren’t how I imagined them. (But isn’t she cute though anyway?!)
I look back on baby pictures of my daughter and cringe at my photo skills. Fortunately, I have learned a lot about photography (even smartphone photos) since then, and I’m glad that I can use my new skills with my son’s monthly baby pictures. (Keep reading for side by side comparisons!).
With my daughter, I was a first time mom just trying to tread water. Monthly photos? Here plop her in this rocker that she loves and throw a blanket over it for a backdrop. Cute, right? As you can see I didn’t even take the sticker off of the pad!
When I found out I was pregnant with our son I determined to do things a little different with his monthly photos. He is now 10 months old and here is how his monthly photos are going…
Better isn’t it?
If you’re pregnant or wanting to get pregnant and wondering how you’re going to do your little nuggets monthly photos, Here are the three big tips I learned after messing up my daughter’s monthly photos. So hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!
1) Use monthly stickers that match everything
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I grabbed the first monthly photo stickers that I saw on clearance, putting no thought into it.
They are an ugly orange and yellow and blue colors and matched literally none of her clothes.
I tried my hardest to come up with clothes that went with the stickers but I just didn’t like the stickers.
And unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I could change them after I started using them. So I made the best of it.
Looking back I wish that I had picked out some stickers that I really liked. I mean liked enough to use every month for an entire year.
And, I wish that I had chosen neutral colored stickers that match anything. If you’re looking for something like that, then check out these monthly photo stickers that I made. They’re elegant, cute, and guaranteed to go with any background and outfit. Unfortunately, I didn’t come up with these until after I had used the same ugly monthly stickers for my son’s pictures.
You can get these lovely monthly baby stickers for free by signing up for my mailing list!
I will say, if you’ve already made the same mistake and chose stickers you don’t like, there is hope! I used the same stickers with my son (see #3 below) and with the photography skills I’ve learned, they’re actually turning out decent this time.
That and they’re more boy colors anyway.
But that’s why I created these gender neutral monthly baby photos and milestone cards—to help save you from making the same mistake I did. Hopefully, you can use stickers that match everything. Just make sure you love them enough that you’ll love them looking back 12 months (and 20 years) from now!
2) Use a better background
Use a background that will grow with your baby like throwing a large, neutral blanket that matches anything on the floor and snap a picture from above. Or, use a prop like a rocking chair or some other special piece of furniture that’s been in the family.
Whatever it is, make sure that it will fit an infant and a walking toddler at 12 months. And, if you use a prop, find something special that means something to you. Something that you’ll look back on in pictures and remember why you chose it.
As you can see from the photo above, I just threw a blanket on a rocker and called it good.
It wasn’t a big enough blanket to use for the whole 12 months. And, later I didn’t think that I could come up with outfits to match pink every month and the stickers didn’t always match it.
It was just bad color choices all around.
And I was stuck with it.
Also, she started to outgrow the rocker and not want to sit in it for pictures around the time she started crawling. I failed to think through that one too.
To remedy my mistake with the blanket, I chose to use a different colored blanket each month and stick with the rocker because I had already used it and I wanted to maintain some semblance of consistency… which brings me to my next point.
3) Be more consistent
Consistency is key.
This was my big lesson. However, you want the monthly photos to look at 12 months is how you should start out. It takes some planning in advance.
And more planning than just pinning your favorite ideas and hoping they come to mind the moment you go to take that one month picture.
When planning the monthly pictures, keep it simple. Overcrowding the picture looks messy. And it can be hard to keep track of when you go to snap the picture but forget what you did last month.
For my son, I simply threw a blanket on the floor and snapped a picture each month.
Now, you can also find apps that you can put overlays on the picture with stats such as age, height, weight, and fun facts about baby at that month.
Also, keep in mind that the first month with baby (especially for first-time moms) can be really hard. Between the lack of sleep and trying to get to know your new addition to the family and figure out his/her different
screams ways to communicate, that first month can leave you exhausted and mentally unable to think about a picture.
Bear in mind, this is not always the case. However, this was the case with my first baby because she was colicky. Sometimes you get lucky and have a baby with a quiet, peaceful personality who sleeps all the time and even smiles for that first month photo. That was my second baby. Praying you have the second but no matter what they’re a blessing and you look back and love every minute!
So, go with the flow of your baby and remember that even if the pictures don’t turn out dreamy like you had planned, it’s ok and they’ll turn out exactly how they were meant to.
To help keep things consistent, I would suggest snapping pictures of a bunch of different things at month 1 (as long as your baby goes with it and isn’t colicky and screaming the entire time).
That way, you can choose which one you like and then stick to it. If you only snap one picture, then you’re stuck with it and have to do the same thing for the next 12 months even if it’s not how you wanted it.
Remember, you can never go back and re-take that one month photo. So, make it what you want and enjoy each big accomplishment each month!
Hopefully these big tips will keep you from making the same mistakes that I did.
What other tips do you have for taking baby’s monthly photos?