Just after your baby was born or perhaps while you were still pregnant, what was the first thing experienced parents told you? I’m willing to bet it was that time flies. Of all the advice I heard, this rings most true. My son, my youngest, recently graduated from college. I’m so proud of him, and yet, it’s hard to believe he’s officially an “adult.” It feels like yesterday I was bringing him home from the hospital.
You can’t help but want to document every sweet and proud moment of your child’s life. While you might have thousands of photos on your phone or camera, there’s truly no comparison to the impact of printed professional photos of your child. Each piece of portrait art captures your child’s significant milestones and transformations.
The big question new parents ask me is what are the key milestones in a child’s life that you want to be sure to document? Which ones are worthy of a professional children’s portrait session? When is it “too late?”
Here are my personal suggestions for the key milestones you should consider documenting with professional portraits. If you have any questions, please always feel free to contact me or schedule a call. I’m always happy to answer your questions.
What Are Your Child’s Key Milestones?
Age 12 Months
Your baby has reached a true milestone—the first incredible year! The One Year Session is fun and celebratory and the perfect age to capture their first heirloom portrait. When clients reach out about when to schedule heirloom portraits, I love to suggest this age for the first one. If this classic vignette portrait is not your style, I suggest something simple and timeless that will last.
Age 18 Months
At 18 months, your baby has more mobility, is playful, curious, expressive, and has a wide range of emotions. A Sweetness Session is appropriate for this age because I am able to capture authentic and candid moments showcasing their sweet nature. Incorporating age-appropriate props like their favorite stuffed animal, toy, or book can add a fun and memorable dimension to the photoshoot. Your baby’s face is still soft and delicate, and I am able to turn these characteristics into beautiful printed memories.
Age 2 years
By age two, your child is running, laughing, and showing their personality more and more each day. This is definitely an age you want to remember. As your child gains more independence and starts to assert themselves, they are energetic and demonstrate their curiosity. From joyful smiles to those infamous “big feelings,” their emotions are genuine and can lead to some adorable shots. At this age, children usually have a strong attachment to certain toys or even blankets, which is fun to incorporate into our session. I call sessions with this age group the Active Sessions and always aim to capture your child’s growing curiosity and independence.
Age 3-4 years
By age four, your child has developed a distinct personality. Photographing your child at this age in a Personality Session showcases their unique traits, whether they’re outgoing, shy, silly, or serious – it’s all perfect. Four-year-olds, who still have their charming baby teeth, can display a wide range of expressions, from genuine belly laughter to pensive moments. This period can be endearing to capture in photographs, showcasing their transitional phase from babyhood to childhood.
Age 6-7 years
Gone are the baby years, and the softness of their faces is now giving way to more distinct “big kid features,” and they are fully in school. Big Kid Sessions are special because children can typically maintain their attention for more extended periods of time, which allows for more structured and composed shots. Furthermore, children this age are usually able to follow directions, making it easier to capture more natural-looking poses.
Capturing formal portraits in Tween Sessions is essential because changes come fast and furious now. Children this age can more actively express their individuality, and their emerging personalities become apparent in portraits. Just before the teen years, these sessions offer a unique opportunity to showcase children’s blossoming individuality and interests, such as sports and other activities.
Your child is now a teenager heading quickly to adulthood. They are likely driving on their own, have (or think they have) a clear set of goals before heading off to college, and are facing significant changes that both exciting and a little scary for both them and for their parents. Teen Sessions are fun because teens have their own identities, sense of self, and style. I love a collaborative effort for this age group because they typically have a good idea of what type of photos they are looking for. When they want exactly what 17 of their friends have, I try to help them creating something that is close, yet uniquely their own. If you are looking for portraits at this age group, encourage incorporating their interests into the session, which can lead to impactful and memorable photographs.
When Is the Best Time to Schedule Your Child’s Portrait?
In general, we recommend scheduling a portrait session every two years during a child’s younger formative years. You might alternate between casual outdoor and formal studio sessions to capture a diverse range of styles and expressions over the years. These age recommendations are flexible, of course. Regardless of the ages you choose, and whether it’s a family portrait session with individual break-outs or a solo session, you will never regret having legacy photos of your child. You won’t get this time back and you will cherish these photos forever.
Washington DC Family Photographer
As a parent myself, I know firsthand the whirlwind of daily life. I offer a stress-free, collaborative experience to create beautiful family art for your home. From design to delivery, I’ll guide you every step of the way, ensuring your cherished moments are preserved and celebrated. Contact me today to get started, you won’t regret it!