Tips for Photographing Baby’s First Year in their Natural Environment

October 25, 2011

in Keli Hoskins, Photography Tips

Tips For Photographing Baby's First Year in Their Natural Environment

Photographing babies is incredibly fun and creates reminders of wonderful memories. This week, Keli Hoskins has some tips to help you make sure those memories look as good on camera as you felt while making them.

I have a one-year-old baby girl, Lucy, and a 4-year-old girl Emma. They have been my life for the past year. Throughout the past 12 months, I have done my best to capture the special moments in Lucy’s life — her milestones, her beautiful smiles, her not-so-beautiful tears and most importantly, her amazing presence in our home.

From the moment she came flying into our lives…

image credit: my husband

…until today


I’ve tried to capture Lucy — not just a random baby that’s currently living in our house.



I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with posed portraits, but I wanted to have photos of our baby girl that show her personality, her curiosity, her love for her sister, her sleeping patterns, her eating habits and everything about her that I want to remember forever.



Here are just a few ideas of ways to capture a baby’s first year in their natural environment:

  • Dressing babies up is so fun and wonderful for portraits, holiday cards and special occasions; but if you want to capture the everyday, don’t worry about changing them out of their pj’s or brushing their messy hair.



  • Capture the everyday activities that you think you’ll remember forever. I know when I’m living it every single day, I think to myself, “I’ll never forget that look on her face when she stretches after a nap,” but that’s just one of the 4 million cute things she does in a day that I probably will forget over time.



  • Don’t forget big brothers or sisters!



  • Use light that you already have … windows!



  • Babies make messes!! Capture them eating spaghetti and knocking records on the floor and unrolling the toilet paper roll and shoving dirt into their mouths.



  • Use “props” that you already own.



  • Babies are curious! Capture them being the inquisitive babies that they are born to be.



At the end of the year, I can look back and really see what happened during those 12 months with Lucy in our lives. I remember things that I had forgotten. I discover new things that I missed the first time around. And I recognize who she has become in such a short period of time.


And apparently, she has become scared of our dogs.


keli-hoskins-bio Keli Hoskins is a lifestyle photographer who loves coffee, yellow, talking about her two awesome kiddos, Jesus, using an ellipsis incorrectly, running, sweet tea, and shooting wide open. She doesn’t love frogs, wearing heels, orange vegetables, alarm clocks or the dentist. (No offense to any of the above.)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

kia November 7, 2011

great post. can’t wait to implement these tips with my girls.


Jess November 6, 2011

I can’t believe I missed this the first time it was published! Great wisdom as usual, Keli!


keli October 26, 2011

So funny to see Lucy all over @Pinterest for this article …


Adrienne October 26, 2011

I wish I Heart Faces had been around when my kids were little so that I could have taken full advantage of your advice then. *sigh* Teenagers are not so agreeable to having their photo taken when they wake up or make a mess, or, well, just about any time, really.


Life with Kaishon October 25, 2011

This kind of photography is my FAVORITE! Beautiful post Kel!


keli October 25, 2011

Fabulous tips from @keli_h on @iheartfaces today: Photographing Baby's First Year in their Natural Environment


Erica McNair October 25, 2011

This is so helpful and insightful! Thank you for sharing your precious girls with us!


Lynn McWhirter October 25, 2011

I love this… You did such a great job at explaining your tips. Thanks for sharing.


Caroline (Frogmum) October 25, 2011

Hi Keli, great post! Lucy is such a cutie 🙂 My little man is just 10 months old (a Christmas baby) and I have been doing exactly this this year. I gave up on ‘baby books’ and decided to document his year and his milestones in images instead. I’ve been busy!!
& for even more…


Trude October 25, 2011

These photos are so priceless! Love your approach, especially the shot of the girls in the swings. Exactly what I prefer to do. 🙂


Shelley Smith October 25, 2011

Inspiration: Tips for Photographing Baby’s First Year in their Natural Environment…


Margaret October 25, 2011

YES! I did this with my son and I am in process of putting together a big Shutterfly photo book of his first year. It’s better than any baby book, in my opinion! Now that he’s getting older the trick is to capture some of his words on video, not just on camera, haha.


Angie October 25, 2011

Fabulous tips from @keli_h on @iheartfaces today: Photographing Baby's First Year in their Natural Environment


Robin October 25, 2011

Dear Keli I am your biggest fan/stalker 🙂 How much do I love that Emma is wearing the same leggings in the swing pic that Lucy is wearing while waking up from a nap? 😉 I am guilty of always wiping the face/combing the hair/cleaning up for pics, need to be more relaxed and REAL!!!


Emily October 25, 2011

Love the tutorial… I am having my first baby in six (!) weeks, and will be implementing these tips… and love that her munchkin is wearing cloth diapers! <3


Christine October 25, 2011


I love seeing these types of posts because I’m not the one to remember to pose and dress up pretty and get those shots. I start to get mildly guilty when I hear of people doing the whole posed thing and formal photoshoots for milestone ages. I’m so happy to see a professional capturing the reality of a life with a baby.

And mad props on the cloth diapers!!! We use BumGenius too!! 😉


Jessica Deane October 25, 2011

GREAT GREAT post Keli!


Pam October 25, 2011

Live keli’s blog and love this post!! I have 5 year old and 1 year old boys and a 1 month old girl and they are my main photo subjects! Thanks so much for the tips!!!


Steve October 25, 2011

This was very helpful. We have a seven month at home and I have no problem photographing other kids, but I hit a creative wall when it comes to ours. 🙂 K.I.S.S. is something I will start to try TONIGHT. 🙂

Thank you.


Holly Thompson October 25, 2011

Oh I wish had pictures of my children as babies like these! What wonderful memories you have captured. I used to think that I would never forget but my oldest is about to turn 20 (gulp) and it happened so quickly and I have forgotten. Lucy is adorable! Great article, thank you. I’m going to be more purposeful in what I capture with my younger ones.


Tracy P. October 25, 2011

This is a GREAT post! Makes me want my babies back. I am thankfully paying attention to these things now that they are in their “tweens”, and it is still fun. Those of you with little ones and digital cameras are so, so blessed.


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