During Aiden’s first year I had a lot of fun taking monthly milestone photos of his growth each month. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get cute pictures of your little one’s first year. I couldn’t decide on just one type of photo so I actually combined a few different set-ups for each month. There are so many fun ways to document a baby’s first year that I thought I would share a few of my favorites. Most of them are easy and inexpensive to do. The key is to try to decide what you want to do from the beginning so that you can see the progression/development.
Things you can use for monthly photos
Every month on the anniversary of Aiden’s birth day we would pick up a newspaper. We used both the sports page and the front page to take photos. Although some of the headlines during his first year were not the most pleasant, I think it is a great way to mark what was going on in the world the year he was born.
Sports Jersey From Your Favorite Team
We purchased a Nationals jersey before Aiden was born. We are huge baseball fans so we were so excited to get him a jersey of (one of) our favorite teams (I am really a Red Sox fan). We bought it in a size 2T because it was one of the more expensive clothing items for a baby and we wanted it to last a long time. One unexpected benefit was that it made for really cute monthly pictures because you could see how each month it fit a little better.
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Pottery Barn has the cutest comfy arm chairs for kids. I love the idea of monthly pictures in the chair because every month he will be able to sit a little better and ultimately fit in the chair. We didn’t get ours until Christmas so Aiden was over a year, but if we have another child we will probably incorporate this from the beginning.
Monthly Milestone Swaddles
I just love the monthly milestone swaddles. I love this one and this one. This is a good one for boys. I started seeing them too late for us to use, so I didn’t bother getting one. However, it can’t get much easier to get a cute milestone picture. Once your baby is sitting and standing you could hang it up on a wall.
Design App/Web Program
If you don’t want to get props for monthly milestone photos you could use a design app like LittleNugget, PicMonkey, or Canva. I would suggest dressing your child in a similar outfit each month, like a plain colored t-shirt so they are cohesive. Using the app or web program you can add the month and some fun updates with lots of layout options, fonts and stickers.
Message Teddy Bear
I found this bear too late to take all our monthly photos with it, but it’s perfect! It has Aiden’s birth details on it and I love the idea of watching him grow in comparison to the bear!
Probably one of the easiest way to get a cute monthly photo is to use a milestone card or stickers. This Turn Wheel Photo Card is a great easy option for monthly photos. I love the milestone stickers from Lucy Darling. The cards can be placed next to baby and the stickers, of course, can be placed on baby. We used Nationals stickers which went perfectly with our jersey.
There are tons of ways to incorporate chalkboards into monthly pictures. If you aren’t super crafty there are template chalkboards that you can buy that you just need to update like this one. My mom and I actually created two boards after Aiden was born. My mom, who is really good at drawing on chalkboards created a board that was basically a template — the design stayed the same I just updated the month, height, and weight with chalk markers. I updated the second board every month with little updates about Aiden’s milestones for that month. I got the chalkboard from Homegoods, but here is a similar option. I couldn’t find a small chalkboard that I liked so I made one using supplies from Michael’s, but here is a similar option.
A few months ago I came across Devon from U Ready, Teddy and found out that takes the most amazing chalkboard photos for her adorable little guy’s monthly pictures. I am so excited that she is sharing her secrets on how to do these amazing chalkboards! I will definitely be trying this with baby number two (Mom, something to look forward to haha)
Devon’s Chalkboard Instructions
- A large piece of plywood. Tip: a square board makes it easier to upload to Instagram
- Chalkboard Paint.
- Chalk and a chalkboard eraser.
- Chalkboard spray paint is the easiest, but you can also mix your own chalkboard paint using any color of latex paint and some un-sanded grout.
- OPTIONAL: For an extra challenge use a second smaller piece of plywood. Paint the plywood piece(s) according to the directions, then rub a piece of chalk all over the board back and forth in all directions, and then erase to prime the surface.
- Draw your chalk background with a piece of chalk. Tip: I lay a pair of footie pajamas down to use as reference for where the baby will be positioned.
- Put your board in a well-lit place and put a ladder next to the board where it won’t cast a shadow on your board.
- Lay the baby on the board, climb the ladder and take photos from overhead.
- Snap A LOT of pictures quickly because if you have a wiggly baby you don’t have a lot of time before the baby rolls over and messes up your chalk drawing. Tip: It also helps if you have a helper to lay the baby on the board while you are already in position on the ladder.
- To make something look like it is in front of the baby (like in the Christmas picture or Thanksgiving picture) use a second smaller board and have a helper hold it on top of the baby.
- Get creative!
Tips For Getting a Great Shot
In the 14 months that I have been taking pictures of Aiden I have figured some things out that make it a little easier to get good monthly milestone photos!
- Set up in a well lit area. Walk around your house for a day and figure out where you have the best light. Outdoor light will look the most natural so if you can get near a window with a lot of light you will get the best results. Taking photos outside on a cloudy day or in the early morning (when babies are usually awake!) will work well too. We took a lot of ours on our balcony.
- Take your pictures after your baby has napped and eaten. A happy baby will take better pictures. Try to avoid taking pictures if your baby is hungry or tired.
- Have a helper. It was SO MUCH easier when Dan or my mom or sister was around to help. I would get in position with my camera and Dan would place Aiden.
- Take LOTS of pictures. As soon as Dan (or whoever) placed Aiden I would rapid shoot the camera. You can always delete the bad ones, but babies are so wiggly that you will have a better chance of getting a good shot if you take a lot of pictures.
- Don’t be afraid to act like a fool to get your kid to smile. Dan was usually jumping around, dancing, and/or singing to get Aiden to smile!
Did you take monthly milestone photos? What props did you use?