What is the Best Age to Take Baby/Child Portraits?

Each child is so different, special and unique in his or her own way. Not all child photographers can capture a truly candid photograph of a child. Even if you are a professional photographer and have your art mastered, it takes someone special to be able to work with children and get them comfortable enough to get a candid smile.

"Lalique Girl" captured by Vilma Salazar (Click Image to See More From Vilma Salazar)

“Lalique Girl” captured by Vilma Salazar

Patience is a huge part of the child photography process. Whether you are shooting a baby or a child, it can get frustrating at times as they may be running all over the place. There are different ages of kids that are harder to photograph.

Photographing Newborns

To get amazing photographs of newborn babies you need to be ready for a very long shoot. Many of my newborn shoots are two to four hours long. It can get tiring, but is worth it in the end. I’ve had requests from people to just take “a couple of quick cute photos,” but what they don’t realize is that getting those cute photos is not a “quick” process. I would say that newborn photography is one of the most grueling shoots that I do and part of that is because I have the heat cranked up so high; I’m dripping by the end of the shoot, but it’s worth it to keep the naked little newborn happy.

I always like to photograph newborns within 10 days of birth. After that period, it is very difficult to photograph a child and get really cute photos. They are not in that snugly stage anymore where you can bend them around easily, but they can’t hold themselves up yet, so it’s hard to get really cute poses.

Three months is the next age that’s really great for taking photos; it’s right when they can hold their little chests up with their hands and can give you a big smile. Some of them already start responding to music, which helps. They are also really playful and fun while lying on their backs. Three months is one of the most fun ages to shoot!

Photographing Toddlers

Anything before the age of about 1 1/2 to 2 years old is pretty easy to shoot in comparison to photographing a two year old! Two years old is one of the hardest ages to shoot for sure. They have a mind of their own and are running around non-stop. Whenever possible, I like to create an environment where they don’t feel trapped, or I find something fun or interesting for them to do.

"Untitled" captured by Irina Oreshina. (Click image to see more from Irina Oreshina.)

“Untitled” captured by Irina Oreshina

Whatever age of children you are photographing, you need to make sure you are keeping it happy, fun, original, and are being patient. I won’t stop the shoot until I feel like I have gotten that beautiful, candid smile that I am looking for.

About the Author
Amber Bauerle is located in Utah (frostedproductions.com), servicing Utah County and Salt Lake City. She also travels worldwide for many different fashion, commercial, and portrait photography projects. She is well known for her creative, whimsical, and candid photography style.

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One response to “What is the Best Age to Take Baby/Child Portraits?”

  1. Thanks for this. I just did my second photoshoot and it took forever. I like the tip about cranking up the heat, did not know that, and glad to know about the age, my newborn was two weeks old and I wasn’t able to get many cute poses, now I know why. :)

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