During the first year of your infant’s life, there will be many firsts that you hope to capture on camera to preserve those sweet memories. Capturing the first year is not only geared to inspire you at the typical three month – six month – one year milestones but it’s also about learning to photograph the small changes and details to help you savor what you see everyday.
Despite taking many pictures of Mattheus on a weekly basis in a multitude of outfits, surroundings and with his siblings, I committed to a monthly session through his first year which focused on him alone and his development. I wanted these pictures to be unique yet maintain some consistency over the year. (More on consistency here.)
This month was a no brainer for me when I asked myself what developmental milestones he was reaching; first foods and solids!
*I would highly recommend using a prime lens and please remember that babies reach different mile marks in their own time :-)
Usually, I can finish these sessions in one sitting over the course of an hour, however due to the gradual introduction of solids, the process of this series of pictures took me the better part of two weeks!
Starting with simply sitting in his high chair for the first time and holding a spoon, to enjoying the experience of his first taste and touch of certain foods – the enjoyment of the experience may be hit or miss the first few times so my advice would be to keep your camera close by during these times.
The advantage you have as the parent is that there is no rush. You can upload your images, check your settings, spend some time editing and even learn what you prefer to have in the frames or think about what is missing. Then try again!
I personally have a tendency to be too close up and I have to force myself to stand back and capture more of the room to set the scene. I can often overlook opportunities to photograph as I find it a challenge to embrace the mess – my kitchen especially is not usually spotless, it is well used ;-) However, learning to have a variety of angles and distances will always tell more of the story. I opted to include the countertops creatively which brought about interesting reflections and perspective.
Displayed below is part of my process spanning over a couple of weeks – four separate occasions as you will notice by the change of outfits and details!
If you end up repeating a set-up four or more times to get it right, don’t be discouraged! I really believe that these are the periods you will best develop your skills and learn your preferences as an artist. It will also relieve the pressure and help you to stay present in the moment with your child for their first ________. Hopefully the next time you get your camera out to get THAT shot, you will feel confident in your settings and naturally position yourself for the best use of light and space.
If you’re just starting out and don’t own a prime lens you may find Shooting in Manual a good place to start.
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