Milestone Session

First Birthday Photos: What they should be, and what they should not be.

February 12, 2023

I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.
EPP serves women and families by offering Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography in the Portland, Oregon Metro Area. Our photography produces personal, relationship focused, film and film-like images.

3 Things First Birthday Photos Should Be, and One Thing They Should Not Be

February 12, 2023

So, your baby is turning the Big One, congratulations! What a wild ride that first year is!

Your baby has doubled, or maybe even tripled in weight, their features are more defined, and they are really starting to share their personality as they explore their world!

If you’ve made the decision to invest in First Birthday aka Milestone Photos for your little one, good job! You won’t regret savoring this sweet time of their life. I promise.

But there are a few things you should know going into the session with me. Today I’m going to share with you 3 things your baby’s First Birthday Photos should be, and 1 thing they should not be.

Let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Personality. The number ONE thing these pictures should show, is your babe’s personality! Sweet, shy, curious, mischievous, friendly, silly, snuggly, and playful. Every one-year-old that I’ve ever met is all of these things, in their very own unique mix. Milestone photos should show off all of them in a way that honors them and their young, budding personality!
  2. Physical Features. Like I said, your baby has grown drastically over the last year (much to our dismay as mothers), and first birthday photos MUST show off all of their sweet features! Their eyes, lips, hair, baby teeth coming in, and those beautiful baby rolls that are going to disappear before we know it!
  3. Skills. 12 months is such a pivotal and fun time. Baby is learning SO. MANY. SKILLS. Show them off! Are they crawling crazy fast? Taking a few wobbly steps, or have they mastered a sprint already? Do they love to play peek-a-boo or downward dog? Do they like to babble and hold mama’s hand? Photos are a perfect way to remember all of these details because the learning and growing certainly doesn’t slow down.

Now for the big no-no, in my humble opinion, what baby’s first photos should not be:

Props. Never make it about the props. Now, if you’ve been around EPP for any amount of time, you already know this, but let me elaborate. I’m not saying don’t use any props, period. I think a simple, well curated, sentimental prop or two is fine. Of course, their loveable blankie or stuffy making an appearance is totally adorable.

But don’t ever make it ABOUT the prop, or the cake smash, or the backdrop, or whatever.

I think many photographers and parents unintentionally do this all the time. They think “oh my son loves tractors, so let’s set up a huge tractor display”. Or that a cake smash will “bring out” their personality. (False, you just have 50 pictures of smeared cake and a sick baby at the end). And sadly, those things really just overwhelm and distract the photos, and pull attention AWAY from the most important part!

I’m not anti-cake smash (or cookies, or doughnuts), but I am 100% anti anything that makes the photos about anything other than your sweet, growing, babe! Bottom line: save the cake smash and cute props for the birthday party, and let the photos be simple, adorable, and show off their perfect personality as-is, sans cake crumbs and tractor extravaganza.

Case in point, sweet Ms. A, looking perfectly adorable!

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I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.

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