There’s something bittersweet about watching your sweet baby turn one year old. Those kissable baby legs start to grow longer and leaner. His tiny fingers reach a little higher. You survived (make that conquered!) his first year, now it’s time to capture your little one in all his one-year-old glory. Now, I’m all about keeping my cash in my pocket. Why hire a professional photographer when you can do it yourself? Becca McCorkle is a teacher, photographer, and wonderful mama to her little dude. She is my go-to source for photography tips and tricks! Becca is back to share how she created picture perfect one year old photos of her mini stud-muffin. (Caution: Really cute baby alert. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Looking for tips on DIY Monthly Baby Photos? Click here! Learn how to get a cute and consistent look for their whole first year.
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Ready? Here we go…
1. Lighting will make or break your photo!
Great lighting sets the mood and give you a solid foundation for a professional-looking photo!
- direct overhead lighting
- full sun overhead
- weird shadows – double-check for dappled sunlight/shadows even if you think you’re in the shade!
- Outside lighting: this looks the best if you pick the right conditions: sunrise or sunset “golden hour.” Try full shade or under a porch.
- Inside lighting: Take a day to notice which windows in your house get the best light. You want light streaming in through a window that doesn’t look harsh and that gives you enough light to shoot inside without the flash.
Other lighting tips:
Don’t be distracted by that (super cute) baby in front of you! Take a second to really check your lighting.
Face your baby toward the light. Place their face in light and let the shadow fall behind them.
Try to avoid using the flash if possible.
Get the lighting right from the beginning and it makes your editing effortless!
2. Choose the Perfect Backdrop
Think CONSISTENCY. You want your baby to be the focus, not whatever crazy thing is going on in the background. It’s nice to have a textured looking background to add interest without being distracting. So, consistent texture is what you’re going for.
You’ll be up close, so at the most you’ll need a 5 by 5 foot space of “wall” behind them and “floor” for them to stand on.
- old building
- Pallet wood
- grassy field
- Cute fabric (check out these options)
- Ready to go photo backdrop like this one.
- your lawn or garden
- baseball field, local park
Double-check your background. Double-check your background. Did I mention to double-check your background?
3. Grab a Prop
It’s helpful to have something they can sit on so they stay in one place. Distraction is the name of the game here. A tiny stool or chair is perfect, but for you adventurous types, check out these fun options for each season!
Spring: wildflowers in a field, fake jumbo lollipops (all the cuteness, none of the stickiness)
Summer: watermelon, American flag, tire swing, popsicle
Fall: real or artificial pumpkins, pile of leaves
Remember, you don’t want to be part of one of those “awkward family photo roundups” in 20 years. Keep it classy. Keep it simple. 😉
4. Get Sweet Threads for Baby
My taste is more classic and timeless. Keep in mind that one year olds are basically little hurricanes running around on two legs. Less is definitely more when it comes to outfits for your baby. Here are a few no-fail options.
- Classic jeans, white tee and a pageboy hat
- Button up and Bermuda shorts
- Ridicuously cute baby bow tie
- Adorable dress and headband or mommy’s necklace
- Baby aviator sunglasses (Super cute, but make sure you’re okay with a photo where you can’t see your baby’s eyes.)
5. Ace These Final Tips
- Get down on their eye level so their eyes can look straight into your camera. It puts you in their world and has a stronger emotional connection than if you view them from afar or above.
- Bring a helper (Dad, Grandma, an older sibling). Somebody they know. They’ll help keep your baby in place, and give you ample backup to make that kiddo laugh and smile.
- There are lots of free online photo editors. (PicMonkey is a favorite!) Don’t go crazy with editing. (remember: timeless and classic) Brighten them up a bit and add a bit of contrast to give them a more polished look.
- Double check your pics for blurriness. If it looks blurry at an 8×10 size, move it down to 5×7 to keep it looking sharp and professional.
Finally: I followed all of my own advice and here’s the result…
Lighting: outside under the porch in the afternoon
Backdrop: free pallets nailed together and leaned against the porch, just a little labor by the hubby to assemble
Outfit: shorts- hand me downs (yes lawd!!), shirt- consignment shop $6, fedora hat from amazon $4 (Plan ahead! This item was not Prime and took a few weeks to get here.)
Props: stool from Tanzania, Africa free (thanks sis!)
Camera and editing: my iPhone!! and Photoshop (but you could easily edit this with something free because I know you got the lighting right in the first place)
Total cost for the cutest baby pictures you’ve ever seen: $10
So what do you think? Do you feel empowered by Becca’s tips to tackle your baby’s one year photos? Let me know in the comments, below and don’t forget to subscribe to receive more of my best parenting tips and hacks.