Oh the amazing things that our babies can do. From recognizing the sound of our voice, to walking for the first time, we want to capture it all. Unfortunately, it's not always practical to chase our little ones around with a camera in hopes that we'll capture the very "first" moment. Too often, the most special moments occur only after we've finally taken our husband's/friend's/mother's advice and get out of the house for a few hours. We'd like to offer a few suggestions and ideas for how to capture a year (and beyond) of baby's first moments.
#1. Write it Down
As fun as it is to photographically document your baby's first moments, don't forget to write down these special memories in your baby book. We like these binder style baby books that you can add to over time. We also like the idea of a photo calendar that you can keep on your refrigerator. Each time your baby does something new, just write that moment down on the calendar. Not sure what you should be capturing, here's a list to get you started.
#2. First Smile
Whether it's a sleep smile, gas smile or social smile, everyone loves a smile. In particular, to capture the first smile is like "Finding Nemo." Chances are that you probably won't capture the first smile with your camera. No worries, unless you gave birth to "Scrooge," there will be more.
In the first few days and weeks, your baby will smile in their sleep. In fact, you may have even caught your baby smiling while in your belly if you had a 3D ultrasound. Luckily, babies tend to sleep really heavily so taking a photo of them while they are sleeping is relatively easy as long as you have your camera close by. If you're lucky, you'll catch that precious smile, but you may have to be patient and allow them to work through the other emotions. You can also softly stroke your baby's cheek. The touch of your hands may induce a smile.
#3. Going Mobile
Rolling over, lifting their head, crawling, walking, etc. are first moments that you may or may not be prepared to capture. If you have a video camera (or your camera or phone has a video function), be sure to use it. These moments are best re-lived in motion. If you happen to miss the actual first time your baby goes mobile, know that it will happen again and be ready for it. Find the best light in your home and hang out in that room with your camera (or outdoors if it's warm) while you wait for your baby to do their thing. Be patient and enjoy the time you have together while you're waiting for the moment to occur. Babies seem to do things on their own schedule, so pushing them to perform before they are ready will only leave you frustrated.
Don't forget to capture the little details and multiple angles of the event such as a close up shot of your baby's chubby legs while they walk, their first shoes (if they're wearing any), mom or dad's open arms, etc.
Before those first two teeth come in, be sure to capture a gummy smile. You won't realize how much you'll miss it until it's gone. That said, the first tooth (or teeth) to come in are almost as exciting to photograph as the first smile. In fact, in order to capture this event, you'll need to work your baby into a big toothy grin. If your child knows that you're trying to photograph their teeth, they may not want to cooperate. So, get silly. Make your child laugh. Focus on their eyes and then pull the camera away from your face so they can see you. If your camera is capable, put it into continuous shooting mode. By doing this, you'll be able to take a series of photos. While many of them will be trash, at least one of them will be perfect.
#5. Events, Vacations, Seasons and Holidays
Eating solid foods for the first time is quite the event], as are the first bath, going on vacation, going to a sporting event, meeting Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. The nice thing about events, vacations, seasons and holidays is that you know they are coming so you can prepare for them in advance. Before going to an event or on vacation, write down a list of shots you want to take. If you need ideas, search Pinterest. Dress your child appropriately and have fun. If you don't get the shot you want, don't let it ruin the experience. Also, once you get the shots you want, put the camera away and enjoy your family.
For example, if you know you are going to feed your baby solid foods for the first time, move the high chair close to a window, add a fun bib, and let the other parent or a sibling feed the baby while you take photos. Be sure to capture everything from what they ate to the sour faces and the aftermath. Leave no detail un-photographed.
Another idea for capturing these moments is to use Milestone Baby Cards within your images. These are similar to pregnancy stickers or monthly age stickers. When your baby has a milestone, simply pick the appropriate card, fill in the date and take a picture of your baby with it.
We all know that your baby's first moments extend well beyond the first year. Either way, enjoy these moments as they're happening. While it's fun and important to capture these memories "on film," it's even more critical to be part of the memory. Don't forget to get in the picture and be a part of the stories that you'll tell your children and grandchildren years from now.
Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk