How To Photograph 3 month Old Babies | Tips For 3 Month Baby Portraits

How To Photograph 3 month Old Babies | Tips For 3 Month Baby Portraits

3 month portraits

How To Photograph 3 month Old Babies | Tips For 3 Month Baby Portraits

So, you finally feel like you're starting to get a handle on newborn posing only to get a 3 month old in front of your camera and become completely lost as what to do! Don't worry you are not alone. These key points have been essential to photographing 3 month old babies! 

Forget The Posing

First forget about posing. Don’t even attempt to try and pose a 3 month old, it will never happen. They are much too alert and aware of their surroundings to stay in a pose for more then .o5 seconds. You can now let out that sigh of relief! 

Creating a Workflow

Although you're not posing the baby, you still need to have a plan in place so things run smoothly. You have a short window (about an hour) before the baby get's really fussy, so you want to make the most of your time. The best way to ensure a successful 3 month session is to have a plan in place just like you would for a newborn session. Until it becomes second nature to you I’d suggest writing it out and keeping it close, but inconspicuous. If it is more helpful use pictures! 


4 Set Ups Lots of Variety

I have 4 set-ups that I use for 3 month sessions.

  • Beanbag tummy time
  • Beanbag on back  
  • Flokati on back
  • Wood and a Basket.

For each set up take the following images: 

  • No hat - pull back - close up.
  • add a wrap - pull back - close up
  • Hat/headband - pull back - close up. 
  • add a wrap - pull back - closeup

If you only took one image of each you would have 48 images! Or course you'll take several shots of each setup, but be careful not to spend too much time on each one, you don't want the baby to become fussy before you get through all of your setups!

My Workflow

 Greetings 10-15 minutes

  • I always greet parents at the door and show them around the studio if it’s their first time. I make sure I interact with the baby for a bit then bring parents on a walkthrough of my workflow and show them props I have chosen for their approval or let them choose their own. 
  • Next I have parents get the baby dressed or undressed (if shooting in diaper only) while I prepare the first set-up which is the bean bag. 

Set up 1: Bean Bag Tummy Time 3-5 minutes

  • Just like you would a newborn session choose a blanket as your backdrop. Make sure the blanket is high enough so that when the baby is on his/her tummy and lifting their head they are not lifting it into the wall. Also, I would use a blanket underneath the chosen one to keep wrinkles away. 
  • Under the blanket use anything that will help prop the baby up so they are not having to do all of the work. This will keep them happier longer for those who aren’t fans of Tummy Time. I like to use a tiny bobby. Sometimes I shove some stuffers under it for extra lift, but you can use a rolled blanket too as long as you get enough height and it does not cause too many uneven lumps or wrinkles in your backdrop.
  • Now you’re ready to shoot. (show lighting position). Put baby on their tummy and have one of the parents right over your shoulder to get baby looking at the camera. I tell them not to be afraid to invade my personal space. Whatever it takes to get a great smiley happy baby! Then snap away. I try to spend only 3-5 minutes with this pose and move on. If the baby is really unhappy or you start to see signs that he/she is getting frustrated sooner then move on and try again at the end. Some babies just really dislike Tummy Time. 
3 month portraits

Set up 2: Back on the Bean Bag

  • Have parents pick up and comfort baby while you adjust your setup for the next position. Using the same blanket move your under bump back so when you lay the baby on his/her back the bump is under their head. Babies usually like this position. Again have mom or dad stand right over your shoulder close to your lens to get baby looking. Now snap away! Again don’t spend too much time here. Once you are confident you have many cute faces (hopefully some smiles) move on! I try and keep it around 5-10 minutes. This is a great time to include a favorite blanket or doll in the babies arms. 
3 month portraits

Set up 3 : Flokati On The Floor 5-10 minutes

  • If Parents are doing an outfit change or want some diaper only pics this would be a good time to change. Once baby is ready put a fluffy furry rug or Flokati (something with texture) on the floor and again lay baby on his/ her back while you shoot from above. For this set up you do not need to put anything under the babies head unless you want to. Shoot away! Keep it to about 5-10 minutes. 
  • While you have baby in this position take some detailed shots of the babies little toes, hands, lips, ears etc. I do this for every session through the 1st year! 
3 month portraits

Set up 4: Wood and Basket 5-10 minutes

  • My last set up is on the wood using buckets and baskets. Make sure you lay the baby on his/her back. Some parents may want you to try and prop the baby up, but I would advise against this for the safety of the baby (not to mention it’s quite difficult). Let them know that is what a 6-9 month session is for! 
3 month portraits

Wrapping Things Up 10 - 15 minutes

When I am finished I don’t want parents to feel they are being rushed out. While they are getting the baby ready for the ride home I explain how their images will be delivered and an estimated time of when they should except them. I make sure I tell them how sweet their baby is and how much I enjoyed the session. I actually tell them not to feel rushed and to feel free to feed baby if needed (I’ve never had anyone take me up on it for a 3 month session, but I want them to know they can if needed). 

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