Like many photo-obsessed new parents with access to Pinterest, we were super gung-ho to take a picture of our kid each month for his first year and create a disgustingly cute a “monthly baby photos” compilation. After year one, however, we were hooked and decided to keep it going.
Now, to commemorate my son’s fourth birthday (happy birthday, Waylon!), I’m excited to share years one through four (or months one through 48!) and some wisdom and tips we’ve picked up along the way.
Waylon’s monthly baby photos: the first year
We took the year one monthly photos on a rocking chair in our living room with a blanket (which helped keep him from slipping and sliding) and a stuffed lion that’s both cute and serves as an indicator of scale as he’s grows.
Waylon’s second year month-by-month photos
We took the year two monthly photos on Waylon’s rocking horse in front of our fireplace (I love that you can see the stockings hung in December!).
Waylon’s third year month-by-month photos
We took the year three monthly photos on the swing chair in our dining room. Promises of post-photo chocolates helped get the shots.
Waylon’s fourth year month-by-month photos
We took the year four monthly photos on the ladder to Waylon’s “big kid” bed, which was his big third birthday present. We accidentally repeated a sweater, but a little Photoshop magic later and who’s gonna notice?
Baby and toddler monthly photo tips
- Stay home: Full-disclosure: this isn’t always going to be fun. Some months it takes a whole lot of patience and/or jumping around and making crazy faces and/or promises of chocolate to get one usable photo. Also, life gets crazy, weather’s unpredictable, etc., so stick to your home for the location.
- Keep it simple: Choose a location and “props” that require minimal setup and don’t require cleaning your entire home first.
- Set a reminder: I have “Waylon’s monthly photo!” set up as a recurring to-do on the 9th of each month in my calendar and I get a reminder the day before.
- Highlight favorite outfits: It’s so great to watch your child grow and this project is a really great way to commemorate their growth in an artistic way. One of the sad things about watching your kid grow up, however, is that you also have to watch them grow out of some of their most adorable outfits. This project is a great way to make sure you’re capturing them and preserving their memory (which makes it easier to let them go when it’s time).
- Have fun: Make it into an event, put on a fun song, dance around beforehand—whatever it takes. Like I said, it’s not always going to be easy, but if it feels like a torturous chore month after month, you’re more likely to throw in the towel. So get everyone on board and make it a “thing” for the whole family.
- Bribery is A-OK: Promise chocolate. Dangle toys. Do whatever it takes. We won’t judge.
- Don’t worry about perfection: I try to take the photos from about the same place at about the same distance away and at about the same general time of day, but there’s still going to be a lot of inconsistencies (we’re dealing with a moving kid, after all). So when cropping them for the final display, I didn’t worry about it too much—I embraced erratic cropping and I think it looks even better than if I tried to get every detail lined up just so.
Happy snapping! Show me your monthly baby photos in the comments!