Photographing Your Child’s First Year | Part III: 4-5 Months

This is the third part of a seven part series on photographing your child’s first year. This series is meant to be a guideline and give you suggestions. Keep your child’s safety a top priority throughout any photo session.

A lot of exciting things are starting to happen the fourth and fifth months of your baby’s life. They are much stronger, awake more often, and may be even starting to eat solid foods. Around the fourth month, you may be experimenting with one food at a time, and by the end of the fifth month they are eating multiple items and mixing them together! It’s an exciting time, so make sure not to miss a moment as the days pass by.

You can continue to use some tactics from the second and third month post, but you’ll have a little more freedom as they grow.

Try new places.
Previously, we thought about shooting your little one on the floor. Since they were quite a bit unsteady and not in love with hard surfaces, pillows and blankets were a must.

Now, they might be a bit stronger, more active, and happier without all the mass around them. Try a small rug in the living room (or another room with great light) and capture their reaction to freedom.

Flash is great to use, try bouncing it off the ceiling or off a wall. Don’t point it directly at your little one, they might be annoyed by it.

If you have great light though, no flash is needed with a mobile camera. If you are using a point-n-shoot, cover your flash with a bit of tissue or a thin sheet of white paper to diffuse the light.

Set aside time for special event clothing.
The outfit above was a special gift and those below were baptism outfits. Depending on your traditions, make sure to set aside a little time a few days before any big event to capture your infant in their special outfit.

By setting aside time before the event, you’ll have the images to share as you anticipate it happening (or an image to send out on the invite), and you’re sure to know that everything fits, looks great, and isn’t going to get messy before you get a great image.

For example, the day of a baptism or christening, it may be difficult to fit in time that day to take nice portraits with family and friends waiting around. With all the hustle and bustle, your little one may be antsy or nervous as to what is going on.

The best time to capture these photos is when you have quiet time together and everything is calm.

Try different backgrounds to achieve the look you’re going for. Lighting situations make a huge difference, so move furniture if you have to.

For example, below the chair Monkey is sitting on is facing a window. The light is to my back, but he’s covered perfectly to see his face. He’s being held up by the chair and the arms of the chair are there to catch him if he falls. He has space, but just enough to get a tight shot like on the left.

Messy mealtimes, lunch may be best.
Ah, the first meal is so very special. I don’t know about you, but Monkey wasn’t too interested in food for awhile. He was content to spit it out and laugh at us or play in the bowl!

When it’s just your family, setup your camera to take a few images of their first meal. Lunchtime is usually a great time because there is a good amount of light flooding in, you may choose not to give them food (other than breastmilk or formula) first thing in the morning, and it’s not in the evening during the bewitching hours.

The photo on the left was from a mobile camera with the light to the baby guy’s left shoulder. Just enough light to make a non-grainy photo and capture his movement in a still image.

The photo on the right is with the daylight pouring in from a window to the baby guy’s right about 5 feet away. It offers a nice shadow effect, while giving enough light for a crisper image.

You and Baby together.
Again, don’t forget to get in the image. Whether it’s a selfie on the left, or a first time moment on the right, these moments don’t come along too often. Indoors or outdoors if it’s nice, get on the ground, get low, and take a shot. You never know what you’ll capture (the right was a surprise wave!).

Family, Friends, and Travel.
Once baby is four or five months old, it’s time to get out of the comfort of home and see the world. That doesn’t mean you have to travel far, but they are stronger, more adventurous, and getting out of the house to see family or friends in new places might make for great photo opportunities.

One tip for travel is to set your camera up ahead of time. On a mobile camera, have the app open and any settings you want to use set. On a point-n-shoot, oftentimes you can set it up so when you turn it on it sticks. Most other high-end cameras also offer custom settings or remembering settings when it’s turned on again.

By setting your camera ahead of time, a quick swipe or tap of a button and you’re in business. If it’s going to be sunny out, plan for a fast shutter speed and low ISO. If it’s going to be darker, adjust your settings as close as you can to the situation before heading out.

Then when a relative is having a bit of fun, you aren’t very obvious in your work. A click, snap, tap and you’re putting your camera back down.

I hope these tips give you a few ideas to try in these in-between huge months. Every month something new is happening or changing, and the more you learn about your camera, light, and creating a story the better images you’ll get.

Next up… 6-7 months!


Photographing Your Child’s First Year Series:
Part I: Newborn to First Month
Part II: 2-3 Months
Part III: 4-5 Months
Part IV: 6-7 Months
Part V: 8-9 Months
Part VI: 10-11 Months
Part VII: 12 Months + Cake Smash