This is a guest post from Katrina Kennedy of CaptureYour365.
“We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.”
â€“ Henri Cartier-Bresson
I read the words and immediately thought of my son. I thought of how very quickly he is growing. It is so easy to imagine the day he will walk out the front door, bags packed, wave goodbye, and drive away to experience his own adventures.
From the moment children arrive in the world they begin to grow. Like any good mom, you want to capture that growth before it vanishes.
Photographing your child’s month-by-month growth can be fun and frustrating. Where do you start? Which idea do you use?
I believe it is most important to simply document your childâ€™s growth. Donâ€™t worry about what is right or wrong. Consider a few things for better photos.
Use something for comparison
Growth is much easier to see when compared to something. Youâ€™ve probably seen a few popular photos:
- In a favorite chair
- Beside a teddy bear or favorite toy
- In a laundry basket
- Wearing the same onesie for the first year
I used my sonâ€™s baby jogger for comparison. It was easy to maneuver to good light and we kept it for six years!
Include something sentimental like a favorite quilt or blanket. Keep the scene simple so the focus can be on your sweet little one. Hereâ€™s a collection of even more ideas!
Choose a good light location
Find a large, indirect light source:
- Next to a window. Look around your house for the best spot. My laundry room has the best light in my entire house.
- Near a sliding glass door.
- In front of the open front door (Not advisable in the winter, for obvious reasons.)
- Avoid using your flash. It can be startling for a little one. If that means you need to turn on more lights in your house, turn them on!
Feed the child
They will be happiest, most content on a full belly with a dry diaper. Try to photograph them on their schedule. If things start to get ugly, stop and try again later.
- Don’t worry about getting them to look at the camera.
- Make funny noises.
- Shake a rattle.
- Play peek-a-boo with the camera.
- Don’t say smile (they wonâ€™t know for a few months what it means anyway).
Their reaction will change as they age. At first they will stare into space. Then they’ll look at you. Then they’ll look at their reflection and then they may begin to try to crawl toward you or the camera.
Set a date
Set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar.
Pick a day, mark it on your calendar and each month for the first year grab your photo. Don’t worry about whether or not it is the exact day. With a little one, you’ve got a few other things to juggle!
But, what if you missed it? What if you’ve not been documenting and now they are 4 or 5 years old and too big for the suggestions above. What can you do?
Look around you for things that help to show size.
We love to use the height signs you can find at amusement parks, zoos, and the doctorâ€™s office. Even Ikea’s play place works! Think about places you go frequently that have signs or markers. Try a street sign near your home or even your front door as a background.
Even if you miss a month or two, any photos you take will still show their growth over time! Get creative and have fun watching them grow!
How have you photographed your little oneâ€™s growth?
Katrina Kennedy is a photographer, teacher, author, and mom. She is passionate about documenting the everyday moments of her life. Katrina has helped hundreds of people improve their photography skills in her online classes atÂ GetItScrapped. In October she is launching her newest class, Exposure. Katrina owns CaptureYour365, a community for ideas, support, and inspiration for your 365 project. Follow herÂ on twitter.
I took a photo of Emily in her bassinet each month up till 6 months, then the cot until 18months. It is fun to look back on her growth. 🙂 She’s in a big bed now, and I did snap a pic of her in there when she first moved in 🙂
When my kids were babies I took a picture of them every month lying on the same striped blanket. I would line up the top of their head with the same stripe each time, so we could really see how much they had grown.
I haven’t been actively photographing my daughter’s growth, but I do have a few planned (and accidental) “then and now” pictures. One is a dress that she was wearing when she was about 6 months old which turned into a little top when she was two and a half. Another one is our “Camp Crop-a-Lot” (an annual three day “camp” run by a local scrapper) that I started going to when I was pregnant with my daughter. I took pictures of her (obviously) the first year she was there, and then last year, I squeezed her into the clothes she wore to the first one (an oversized pink vest) and took photos to match the ones from the first year. One of them was Year One: Nana holding her hands helping her to walk, Year Three: Nana holding hands walking next to her.
Great article, thank you!