My clients are always asking how they can best prepare for their sessions with me. I have guides that I send out to help them be ready for sessions, but I though I’d share a few of my top tips for getting ready for a one year old milestone session with you on the blog today. I’ll be using images from a recent session with little Camden, who I also had the pleasure of photographing as a newborn (here), to help show you how successful you session can be when you follow these tips.
Camden is crazy adorable, isn’t he? He was born with a great head of hair and mom and dad wanted to keep it long until after the shoot so we could document it. I love this!
If your child has something unique that helps showcase their personality, bring it! In this case it was Camden’s hair, but if they have a special lovie or toy, the milestone session is a fantastic way to capture that love and help take your mind back to that point in time.
Celebrate and Document Accomplishments! It’s my job as the photographer to make sure we capture all of the hard work your baby has been doing as he or she is growing. Above we see an excellent sitter and below shows all of the standing and mobility that is taking place.
Have several outfits on hand. Camden’s parents are huge Orioles fans. We incorporated this into the newborn session and continued that theme for part of the milestone session. Studio sessions can benefit greatly from multiple outfit changes. This helps create variety in your gallery. It’s good to bring extra outfits so we can coordinate with background and props, but they are also great to have as a backup in the event of spills or accidents. Even if your baby doesn’t like being changed, it’s better to have it on hand just in case.
Bring Snacks and drinks. I don’t know about you, but when I haven’t eaten I can get seriously hangry (just in case you live under a rock this is getting angry when you are hungry). I like to work in 5-10 minute segments and give babies plenty of time in between to do what they want. Snacks and drinks on hand help keep them happy and also give me something to be funny and play games with. Camden stopped to snack and play several times, and it was the magic formula to keep those smiles coming.
My last tip is for parents. It’s more work than you think to get ready for your baby’s milestone session. Don’t wait until the last minute to get everything together, because I promise it will stress you out! Plan out your baby’s outfit(s) at least a week before so that you can get any extra items if needed. Also set aside anything special you want to bring. Have snacks packed and ready a few days before so you aren’t reaching for the Puffs only to find an empty can of dust right before you go. Make sure you give your baby a bath the night before so you aren’t rushing through it the day of. Check to make sure teeth, hands, and hair is free of debris before you leave. I say all of this so that you aren’t stressed out, and that’s my #1 tip for a successful session: Stay Calm. Even the most serene of mothers can crack if she waits until the last minute (I know, I’ve been there!). The reason I want parents to be calm is that your emotions are infectious, and I promise you they rub off on to your child. It’s much more challenging to get real smiles from a child who’s mommy has been fretting in front of them all morning. Prepare as much as you can in advance and you’ll have given yourself the best chance to stay calm the day of your session.
Milestone sessions are a bit magical. You love the images when you get them back, but something happens as time passes. That image comes to mean something else entirely as your child grows. Year after year as you walk by the images on your wall, or flip through your album, that feeling of “isn’t he/she so cute and sweet?” is replaced by a sentimentality that is really hard to explain.
I have images like these and they are more valuable than gold to me. When I see them they fill my heart, sometimes even with sadness or longing to have that moment back. Seeing them each day reminds me how important it is to enjoy TODAY, because it will be a memory just like those pictures… much sooner than I think. I am truly blessed to document this special time for my clients.
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