Monthly Pictures in the First Year

Documenting change. Documenting life. It’s one of the most amazing things about photography. Our lives are moving and morphing so quickly and while we think we’ll remember it all, we can’t. That’s why we go back to old pictures and “can’t believe how little they were.” It’s amazing how pictures can allow us to relive those moments.

And there’s no time in which a person changes more than in the first year of life. A 3 month old is SO incredibly different than a newborn. And a one year old is practically a different person! So, how do we document change in the first year?

One way to do it is with monthly pictures. You’ve all seen the various iterations. Holding signs. Stickers on shirts. Sitting in the squishy chair (bonus points if the chair has the child’s name on it!) There are so many ways to do it. But whatever way you choose, there are a couple of things to think about before starting.

First: Think about all of the elements of the picture and make some decisions. For example, day of the month, location, time of day, who is in the picture, clothing, style, etc.

Second: Prioritize!!! What’s important to you? What matter? Remember: these are little humans. You’re not going to get everything in every picture every month!

Third: Make it happen. Put it on the calendar. Make it an event. Whatever you need to do. If you skip one, you’ll SOOOO regret it. I promise.

Here’s my story: My third delicious person was born — a little boy with two older sisters — and we decided to do monthly pictures. Here’s how I prioritized:

What mattered:

  • Date. I wanted the pictures to be on the 4th of the month… his birth-date.
  • Location. I wanted the pictures to be in the same location every time. We chose our bed for that. (And, actually, for one month, we were on vacation on the 4th. So I decided that the date meant more than the location so we did it on the 4th on my in-law’s bed.)
  • People. All three of them needed to be in the picture. Not negotiable.
  • Fun! I wanted it to be fun. And it was! We jumped on the bed and had a ball.

What I was flexible about:

  • Time of day. I wanted to pictures to be to take pictures at the same (approximate) time of day. But if that did not work, it did not work.
  • Posing. All of their faces needed to be showing but the pose could change from month to month.

What did not matter:

  • Clothing. I knew that if I stressed about what they were wearing, it would become not fun and stressful. So they wore what they wore.
  • Clean hair/grooming. Again. If I worried about everyone “looking good,” I’d only have grumpy faces. I prioritized happy faces over grooming.


Finally, and maybe most importantly, keep it short. In my case, that went right along with the “fun” requirement. Get that picture and get out! And if they want to keep playing/posing/shooting, let them. But if they don’t, keeping it short will make leave them with a perception that it was fun and they’ll want to come back next month. Because, you need next month!

As always, we at Pollack Photography are focused on you.

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