There are times when for one reason or another, a newborn photo session can’t be done within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. This was, and still is, the case right now for a few of my clients who had newborn sessions scheduled in the spring of 2020. This period happened to coincide with the early days of the Corona virus pandemic. I had to put all of my shoots on hold due to the stay-at-home orders in place here in my hometown of Washington, DC.

Though I was so sad I wasn’t able to photograph those sessions, it was especially disappointing for the new parents who had their hearts set on documenting the very fleeting newborn stage of their baby’s life. These clients planned far in advance—they had contacted me months ago to book their sessions, we had already been exchanging regular emails, and had met in person for planning consultations—all before business closures were imminent. We were just awaiting the birth of their babies when the stay-at-home orders were issued, forcing us to postpone their photo sessions.

After many years of experience photographing babies at all stages throughout the first year, I was able to offer my clients some words of comfort and reassurance. I told them with full confidence that whenever those postponed photo sessions are finally able to take place, their babies will be at a stage of development that has its own exciting and unique moments worth capturing, whatever stage that may be.

If you are a new parent or parent-to-be considering having your newborn photographed, but need to wait or postpone for any reason, read on. Find out all the details I shared with my own clients about other developmental milestones that we could plan their photo sessions around and why my personal favorite time to photograph babies is around 6 to 8 months old.

Milestones by age that also make great images after the newborn stage:

  • 3 Months

    • By the 3 month mark, babies become much more responsive to interactions with their parents and other external stimulation.

    • They can engage in back-and-forth play, such as imitating facial expressions and mimicking sounds to make “conversation.”

    • They can make eye contact and smile, which is especially gratifying after the intense early days of caring for an infant.

    • A baby’s personality begins to emerge. They will display some characteristics now that will still be recognizable in years to come as their own distinct traits.

    • Younger babies need to have their heads supported, but by 3 months they have likely gained enough neck strength to support and lift up their own heads. This makes it possible to photograph a 3-month-old baby lifting and holding up his or her own chest and head while doing tummy time.

  • 6 Month Milestones

    • At around 6-months old, babies are learning to sit on their own.They are still a bit unstable and may need some propping, but they can usually sit unsupported for short periods of time without tipping over, especially while leaning forward on their hands.

    • This is a great age to photograph a new baby with young siblings who may not be able to hold or support an infant securely.

    • They are social, will smile easily, and can even laugh and squeal with delight.

    • Their parents—who now have a good sense of their baby’s new likes and dislikes—can elicit big smiles when they engage and play games like peek-a-boo.

    • Six-month-old babies are very curious, exploring through touch by reaching, grasping, and mouthing anything they can get their hands on.

    • Though they can’t yet crawl, they may be able to get up on their hands and knees.

  • 9 Month Milestones

    • At 9 months or so, babies start exploring independently by trying to crawl, pulling themselves up to standing, and eventually cruising.
    • They can understand and follow easy commands, like “get the ball” while a parent points to a ball.
    • They can play peek-a-boo in return

  • 12 Month Milestones

    • At around 12 months, they are at the cruising stage and some may even have started walking. By now they can usually stand up and sit back down on their own.
    • They can likely turn pages of a book, throw a ball or roll a ball back and forth.
    • They may enjoy dancing and moving to their favorite music.
    • They can wave goodbye.

 Here are some resources with more detailed information about developmental milestones for you to explore:

Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.About the Photographer and Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!