I get this question a lot- what is the best age for photos? As with anything, there is no one answer. There are great things (and challenges) at every age, and I truly love each age for different reasons! Here is my best advice for photos at various ages from my experience photographing families.
The GOOD: They are wrinkly, sleep, adorable and so stinkin’ cute. They are young enough to sleep through pretty much anything, including being posed naked in adorable positions with hats and props and such!
Be Aware: This can take awhile. No joke. Sometimes 3 hours. The baby has to be in a deep sleep, and it can take a few hours to sooth the baby into that happy place. Some babies take no time at all. Scheduling can also be a challenge since the 2 week window is short and arrival time is not guaranteed! You also never know how you will be feeling so soon after delivery or sometimes major surgery. It’s never a guarantee they will settle in for the poses, no matter how hard we try! Babies are unpredictable and you definitely can’t reason them into cooperation!
2 weeks-3 months
The GOOD: These are some of my favs- the baby is still fresh and new and adorable, but a bit more alert. You get a lot more photos with their eyes open, and their eyes can focus better. Their features start to be a little more defined and their little personalities start to shine through. They have so many cute expressions and sometimes even some smiles!
Be Aware: You are not going to get the posed, sleepy baby at this stage. You are still subject to how they are feeling and they may sometimes not be “themselves” if something is off in their day. But regardless, they are super duper cute!
The GOOD: This is probably my all time favorite age to photograph. Why? This is when babies are super pudgy with those thunder thighs- they are usually giggly, smiley and they can’t yet run away from you! They are usually just about sitting up, and maybe crawling! Their eyes appear SO big in proportion to their body and they are in such a happy and exploring stage!
Be Aware: Maintaining attention can be a challenge- they are easily distracted by new discoveries (grass!) and it can take some coxing to switch focus! They may be smiley one day and shy and pensive the next!
The GOOD: One year is a natural milestone for photos. They are walking (or almost walking) even if that walk looks like a drunken sailor. It’s adorable and they are starting to grow into their bodies and look like a little person!
Be Aware: With all that walking comes a new surge of independence and not wanting to be told what to do or where to go! Thankfully bribery is strong at this age, and coxing with toys or food usually does the trick!
The GOOD: This age is out to conquer the world and they are active and chatty and are so excited to show you things and see new things. It’s easy to get them excited and the enthusiasm is priceless.
Be Aware: The “terrible 2’s (and 3’s and 4’s)” got it’s reputation from somewhere- these little cuties have very real and important ideas about how things should be done and can throw a good tantrum if something is not going right. The good news is they quickly move on and everything is once again right with the world! Going with the flow and what gets them engaged is essential!
The GOOD: This age is so active and everything is better with a game. The key here is making them feel like we’re playing rather than taking photos. Sitting still is not a favorite past time, so harnessing that energy with a game or outdoor location with plenty of room to run is a must!
Be Aware: With that energy can come very strong opinions and ideas of what should and should not happen. Understanding the things they are into is helpful to keep the conversation on point. But we work through whatever meltdown comes our way!
10 and up
The GOOD: Reason is finally at play here, and while we still want to have fun and not make the session feel like school, a request to sit and smile is much more easily attained! This is especially great when there are younger siblings that we need to cox into smiles and can count on the older kids to be cooperative!
Be Aware: This may not be cool, and we may need to make it cool. Otherwise the expressions will match the sentiment!
I love big families and more often than not it’s a mix of all of the above coming together for one session! The best advice is to go with the flow, make it fun, and don’t stress. That stress will transfer to your kids and once they feel that, it can be game over. Forced smiles never work, but the more they are enjoying themselves and feel like it’s fun, they will forget we’re there to take photos and just be themselves and that is what shines through so beautifully!