How to take monthly milestone photos (12 tips that work)

It is here, it is finally here!  Your baby has arrived in all their adorable, sweet splendor.  As you vow to do everything you can for this bundle of joy, your mind starts racing with all the fun things you will do for this baby.  Make them special clothes, get the safest stroller on the market, and take ALL the pictures. One of these photo ideas could be milestone photos. But how do you take your baby’s monthly milestone photos? 

Milestone photos: Those cute pictures that show how your baby has grown, and are oh-so Facebook material.  I know that I was bound and determined to take the BEST milestone photos of my two children!  If you have not heard about milestone photos before, please check out my other article What is milestone photography (and is it worth it?)article coming soon. 

However, how do you take your baby’s monthly milestone photos?  Are there secrets to it?  How do you plan literally a whole year of pictures??  When I started taking milestone photos of my first child, I learned a lot that I used for my second child to make things go much smoother (and to eliminate many of the regrets I had the first time around).

Here are 12 tips I have to take your baby’s monthly milestone photos.

  1. Plan ahead!
  2. Choose a theme
  3. Invest in some props
  4. Keep supplies in one area
  5. Use something for size comparison
  6. Think about the outfits
  7. Take both horizontal and vertical images
  8. Find a room with good light
  9. Make a note in your calendar
  10. Have a distraction handy
  11. Take care when picking your background
  12. Keep it simple

Let’s dive into each of these tips.

Plan ahead!

This one is so important!  While you are still pregnant, plan what you want your milestone photos to look like.  What theme would you like (see step two)? Do you need to purchase any supplies to make your milestone-photo dream come true?  Make sure you are ready to take those photos when baby arrives.

Look around on Pinterest for monthly milestone photo ideas, and Pin the ones you really like.  Before the baby arrives, pick the one(s) that you will want to use.  It is tough when you see a really cute milestone idea when your baby is already six months old and it is too late to use it!

Choose a theme

Do you want a stuffed animal for size comparison?  Do you want a letterboard that says what your baby is doing now?  Maybe you want each photo to be themed around the month it was taken in?  Example: Valentine’s Day theme for the photo taken in February.

You will most likely want to stick with a consistent theme.  It will give the photos a coherent look.  Also, it will help show how big your baby is getting. 

Invest in some props

One of the fun things about monthly milestone photos is that there is so many options for props!  I love including fun things in the photos.  Some props to consider would be:

  • A letterboard that you can use to show how old your baby is
  • A stuffed animal
  • Month-themed object.  Example: ornaments for December
  • A chair or other thing for the baby to sit/lie on

Keep in mind you will want to keep a similar feel with the props for the whole year, so make sure it is something that will work as the baby grows.

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Letter board that says four months
Keep supplies in one area

When the time rolls around to take another monthly milestone photo, you will want to make sure you have all the supplies you need!  If you are using a special blanket or backdrop, be sure to keep it where you know you will find it.  Same thing for any props you might be using.

Consider getting a basket to put all your photo supplies in.  This way you will know exactly where everything is when the milestone suddenly comes up on you. 

Consider using something for size comparison

This is a popular option for parents.  By using the same object in all the photos, it becomes clear how big your baby has gotten in such a short amount of time.  A lot of people use a stuffed animal.  This has the added bonus that your baby might be distracted by it long enough for you to take their picture. 

Think about the outfits

This goes back to the planning ahead part.  Do you want your baby to have a consistent outfit for each of their photos?  For my baby, I had them wear a different onesie each month.  Each onesie was a different color and pattern, but the same body style.  However, you might want your child to have the same outfit each month.  Or you may want to match it to the weather for the month.

Whatever way you choose, it is totally up to you!  Look up some styles ahead of time to see what you might like.  Try to stay away from any clothes that would clash or blend in with the background.  If you have a busy background, try a solid-colored outfit. 

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Take both horizontal and vertical images

One thing I have learned in my years as a photographer: You never know what you might be using your pictures for.  You may have taken the milestone photos to be showcased in a digital frame, so you took only horizontal pictures.  You upload them to the frame, and the pictures are perfect. 

However, that Christmas you receive a picture frame that will display all 12 (sometimes 13 if there is a spot for a newborn photo) of your monthly images.  The only problem is that the picture slots are vertical!  It then takes a lot of editing to get your images to work for the frame.  If you take a quick photo both horizontally and vertically, this will save you heartache. 

Find a room with good light

Most likely, you will be taking these photos in your own home.  To ensure well lit pictures, do some scouting in your home.  Try to find a room that has a large window to let in some good light.  Figure out what time of day the lighting is best.  You won’t want your baby in direct sunlight, but it will be much easier to get a clear picture if there is a good light source.

Make a note in your calendar

Although you may swear that you will not forget to take your baby’s monthly milestone photo, it can happen.  You are a new parent with many sleepless nights.  The lack of sleep and overabundance of caffeine to compensate will eventually take its toll. 

I recommend setting a reminder on your phone or email.  This way you will be reminded when the day comes you need to take that next photo. 

Have a distraction handy

Some days your baby will pose beautifully for pictures with a big smile on their face.  Or they may lay there peacefully sleeping.  Other days, not so much.  It is good to have a distraction handy just in case your baby isn’t feeling photogenic that day.  This could be a toy, or it could be another adult to make funny faces and say cute things. 

Take care when picking your background

This one I learned the hard way.  My baby boy had gotten a beautiful white crocheted blanket when he was born.  I thought it would be perfect to lay him on for his monthly milestone photos.  For the first couple of months, it did work great.  However, he quickly outgrew the blanket.  This left me scrambling to make the rest of the photos match the previous ones.

Another thing to consider is how busy do you want your background to be?  If the background has a lot going on, you may want to minimize the props.  Usually a solid background works well for monthly milestone photos. 

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Milestone quilt, space themed, with month circled.
Keep it simple

For the first months, you may have time to setup an elaborate scene for your monthly milestone photos.  Your baby lays there, sleeping sweetly.  You have time to adjust their little outfit, move the props just so, and have that letter board filled with information.

However, as your baby gets older, they will become less cooperative for pictures.  They will want to start moving around and grabbing everything they can get their hands on.  For my son’s milestone pictures, I had him lying down for all the months.  When he learned how to sit up, he didn’t want to lay still anymore.  For month 11, I kept laying him down and he would sit back up.  He thought it was a fun game and started laughing.  In fact, the only way I got my picture with him lying down was because he was laughing too hard to sit back up!


Although it might seem intimidating, milestone photos are a lot of fun to take and have.  They will become a priceless memory you will cherish for years to come. 

To recap, here are the 12 tips I have to take your baby’s monthly milestone photos.

  1. Plan ahead!
  2. Choose a theme
  3. Invest in some props
  4. Keep supplies in one area
  5. Use something for size comparison
  6. Think about the outfits
  7. Take both horizontal and vertical images
  8. Find a room with good light
  9. Make a note in your calendar
  10. Have a distraction handy
  11. Take care when picking your background
  12. Keep it simple

If you enjoyed this article, please check some of my other posts:

Fall-Themed Photo Props (15 unique ideas)


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