I get this question a lot and I’m not surprised because it is kind of vague. This style of session is photographer lingo for all the months between a newborn session, to a first birthday session.
They are the moments, and milestones that your child reaches as they grow in their first year. They occur at different ages for every baby. These milestones are:
Tummy Time | This usually happens around 3-6 months of age. This is when baby can raise their head and hold it up while on their tummy for longer periods of time. The most common age I see this at is 4-5 months old. This is such a fun stage to capture photos of them playing on the floor, rolling over, playing with their toes and looking up at the camera.
Sitter | This often occurs around 6-9 months of age. This milestone is when baby can sit independently for at least a few minutes at a time. The more secure they are sitting the more successful the photoshoot. I recommend waiting longer for them to strengthen this skill than shooting it too soon. Of course, if they aren’t sitting at 6 months you can plan for a Tummy Time session which is also super adorable. Ideally you want to capture this milestone before your baby is on the move and can crawl away but sometimes, like my first daughter did, they can crawl even before they can sit steady. This leads us into the next milestone…
Cruiser | This milestone varies widely but around 9-12 months of age babies start to get on the move. Whether this is rolling, crawling, walking along furniture or walking independently. These sessions almost ALWAYS become a game of catch lol. They are so interested in the studio around them that they don’t usually stay long in front of the camera. My prime time for capturing them is right when you arrive. They are usually shy and unsure about what is going on and are more likely to stay where they are put (though these aren’t usually the smiley moments). I always keep Mom or Dad really close beside them and I keep my distance, so they aren’t upset, but rather curious. This is the prime stage for “making strange” and I rarely get close unless your baby is really friendly and unconcerned about this silly face holding the camera.
The final milestone included in baby’s first year is the Birthday session. Often parents choose this rather than a Cruiser Milestone as they occur around the same time frame.
First Birthday | I like to photograph this session at least 2 weeks before their birthday so I can have your images to you in time for the BIG DAY! This includes clean photos, a cake smash and a bath portion. Cakes aren’t provided at this time due to allergy risks, but I have some recommended bakers that can build just what you want. These sessions are always an adventure as you never can tell how baby will react. Honestly, most babies don’t like to get dirty. They have spent their short lives learning that messy isn’t good and not all like to having icing all over them. This doesn’t mean though that is always ends in tears. Often, they enjoy poking the cake with a stick or spoon while I capture photos and they always try at least one taste. Even if baby isn’t a big fan of the cake smash, I make sure to capture clean photos at the start and then there is the bath at the end. Usually one of these portions brings some smiles.
The best advice I can give for your milestone session is to just take it as it comes. No matter how your child behaves, know that it is totally NORMAL! I see it all, babies that are shy, scared and cry as well as babies who never stop moving long enough to capture images. I have all sorts of TRICKS up my sleeve to capture incredible images of your little one that you will treasure forever. I’ll even share a few of these with you…
For the shy and scared babies, I have Mom really close (like I usually have to edit their feet and arms out of the shot- close) and I stay way back. This usually ends the tears and we get some sweet serious faces.
I have a variety of squeaky and light up toys that get baby to look my way and keep their attention for long enough to catch some shots.
For those cruiser babies that are ON-THE-MOVE I have a vintage wooden highchair that keeps them in place for just long enough.
Trust me when I say I have seen it all and am prepared for whatever comes my way for your baby’s milestone session.
Whatever the case I hope that you can relax and have a laugh about however baby reacts because those will be the memories captured and the ones that will have a story to go with it for the rest of your life.
I can’t wait to capture your milestone memories… for there truly is no better way to recall the past, than through photographs.