Children grow up so fast, don’t they? No matter what age your child is they will always be your child. So when you find yourself asking the question “How often should my child get their photograph taken?” you know you’re on the right track in wanting to record your child’s life.
Children physically and emotionally change during different stages of their lives. More developmental milestones are reached in shorter amounts of time in their early years compared to pre-teen stage and beyond.
They seem to grow so quickly into little people just within their first year of birth. That’s why Newborn/ baby photographers have packages that capture those little important milestones during their first year on this earth. See Frogs and Fairies for some fantastic newborn/baby photography here. From what I understand this is a glorious age to photograph and I know Anne does a fabulous job capturing this age.
When you hit the toddler stage there are so many fun things one could do photographically to help in remembering what their child was like at this time. Something you need to remember as the parent (as if you aren’t aware already) is that your little one has a very small attention span and would much prefer being free to explore and have fun in the world they are so busy getting to know. Getting 1 or 3 images where they are looking at the camera is more than enough and, to be honest, they don’t even need to smile. What you really want to be after is the different facial expressions you’re used to seeing that make your child unique. Their facial structure is going to change a lot over the next few short years. So at the beginning of the session get them in a “happy place” and by this I mean know what makes your child laugh so that the photographer can be ready to take the shot. I like to think of a photo session as a real team work moment. You will want a professional portrait session at least twice a year. You can even make one session around their birthday and the other at Christmas time when you can all be involved. See other articles on how often or when to have your family portrait take. (under construction)
From age 4 and up you will want to have a professional portrait of your child once a year. Your child is probably reaching an age where they get their school portrait taken now at least twice a year. These are great for seeing how the faces change over the years and I do recommend purchasing these photographs every year. The advantage of having a personalized photo session in addition to this is it allows you to capture your child’s personality. At this age and onwards they start becoming very independent in what they love doing which makes photographing them very easy. They are at an age when we can all ask what do you like playing with? Do you like mud puddles? Bubbles? Cars? Dress up?
I highly recommend organizing photo sessions for each individual child around the time of their birthday. For the parents it becomes easy to remember and it gets the child very excited about ‘their’ own session, especially if they are the ones helping brainstorm ideas photography session. It could be a paint session, or bubble war, fashion shoot, or a simple dress-up opportunity. What kid doesn’t want to call the shots? Here is an example of how a photoshoot can turn out when you include the child’s interests.
Remember that kids will be kids and it’s okay for them to not look at the camera all the time or have a tantrum at the photo session (hey, they aren’t going to do that when they’re 16 and its a great reminder of how mature they have become).
While visiting South Africa this year my father asked me something and then brushed me off comically saying “Oh, it’s ok your still a child’, ‘Im 28 Dad’, ‘Yes I know but your always going to be my child.” I used to get annoyed by this comment but now I am quite fond of it, because it makes me feel like I will always have a parent, always have someone to look up to and admire. There will always be someone who will love me no matter what. Get your kids photographed every year so you can truly remember what they really were like as kiddos. It also helps daddies let go of who their children are now compared to years ago.
I have had the privilege to photograph this very special young lady 3 birthdays in a row! Her Mommy had the idea and I have to give her credit for this blog post! Now, not only does Mommy have a great set of images that record how her daughter is from year to year, but so does her daughter to help remember what she was like at each age. To see the rest of this year’s birthday session go here.