Photos of the Week


Photos of the Week June 24: Get Great Portraits of Older Babies

June 24, 2024

By Hillary Grigonis

Photographers are typically advised to photograph babies before six weeks of age, when the new humans are most likely to allow for sleepy swaddled poses. But infants change quickly, and the gummy grins and rolls of baby fat are worth capturing, too. The problem? Working with older infants can be a challenge. This week, we asked four photographers for advice on how to capture portraits of older babies beyond the newborn stage. Find inspiration from these stunning portraits of older babies by Montserrat Zavala, Ambreia Turner, Audrey Blake Calvani, Casey McMurray, and Julie White.

Montserrat Zavala, OM Wedding Storytelling

© OM Wedding Storytelling

Inspired by classic paintings of women holding their babies, Montserrat Zavala of OM Wedding Storytelling wanted to capture a portrait that portrayed motherhood with a minimalistic, editorial feel. The naked infant, sheet covering the mother, and black and white edit help show the pureness of motherhood. She took the shot with the Sony A7 III and Tamron 28-70mm f2.8.

“Getting to take portraits of older babies can sometimes be difficult. What I always recommend is that the photoshoot needs to be after their nap time. Feed them 5 to 10 minutes before the shoot if possible, so they will be satisfied and calm. Also, have a toy or something in hand just in case you need it but not too close to the baby because it can be a distraction. Try to do it in a quiet environment and give the baby a few minutes to familiarize with the space, the camera, and yourself. And be patient, patience is the key!”

Ambreia Turner, Ambreia Artistry Photography

© Ambreia Artistry Photography

Inspired by her own motherhood journey, Ambreia Turner of Ambreia Artisty Photography captured this image that conveys the reality that babies don’t fit in their mothers arms for long. The neutral colors in the backdrop and gown help give the photo a timeless feel while drawing the eye to the mother and child. Turner captured the shot with Nikon Z7 II, a Sigma 50mm Art lens, and a Godox AD200 with a 47-inch octabox.

“My most prudent advice is to have patience with small children,” she says. “They are precious and curious. It can take time for them to warm up. I would say to consider this a moment to switch into a documentary mode and capture their behavior. The family will appreciate it so much! Go in for those small detail shots.”

Audrey Blake Calvani, Audrey Blake Photography

© Audrey Blake Photography

Capturing genuine emotions is what Audrey Blake Calvani of Audrey Blake Photography loves about her craft. She was inspired by both the mom and infant’s palpable joy, capturing this moment with her Canon camera and a Sigma 24mm prime lens.

“Photographing older babies is one of my favorite types of shoots,” Calvani says. “They are so full of personality, easily excited, and their laughter is contagious. My advice for photographing older babies is to engage with them genuinely and patiently. Speak to them softly and maintain eye contact to build a connection. Focus on capturing authentic moments, like their spontaneous smiles and curious expressions. Additionally, pay attention to the loving interactions between the baby and their parents—those adoring looks and tender touches make for truly heartwarming photos. Remember, the key is to create a relaxed and joyful atmosphere where the baby’s unique personality can shine through.”

Casey McMurray, Casey McMurray Photography

© Casey McMurray Photography

Casey McMurray of Casey McMurray Photography could tell this little one was starting to get antsy during the session. To keep him occupied, she asked the mother to look out the window with the baby, having noticed the beautiful curtains earlier. The baby’s reflection in the window and the mom’s expression were happy surprises, McMurray said. She took the image with the Nikon Z6 II and Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens.

“My advice for taking portraits of older babies is to start the session early in the morning when they are the happiest,” she says. “Take your time, older babies have so much more personality. I love the 6-month stage. Usually by then babies can sit up on their own or with some help. Don’t worry about everyone looking into the camera and smiling for every single picture instead focus on the little moments. Lastly, make sure the parents have lots of snacks AKA puffs!”

Julie White, Julie White Photography

© Julie White Photography

Julie White of Julie White Photography uses a documentary, or lifestyle, approach to her work, which means this nose kiss between mother and infant was a spontaneous moment. White spent over an hour getting to know the mother and waiting for the rain to subside before leading them outside near a pond. The rain clouds created a hazy glow while the breeze ruffled the mother’s hair. White captured the shot with the Canon R6 and EF 50mm f1.2 L USM lens.

“When I photograph older children, I have no rules or preconceived demands and I encourage parents to be as present and natural as possible,” she says. “My work is mostly a ‘curated documentary,’ or lifestyle approach. This means that I find the light in every location, whether it’s in homes or out in nature, and I encourage my mums and dads to interact with their babies around that area. I always move around the scene, shooting constantly and from different angles and am led by the baby’s responses. I usually book shoots for when a baby has just had a nap and allow plenty of time to change locations, which helps to keep them engaged as they bore very easily! Asking the parents to cuddle with and entertain their children helps to keep the interactions connected and stops too much camera fascination from the babies. The mums really are pretty in rhythm with their little ones by the time they are a few months old and they know how to keep them happy and relaxed, so I just let them set the pace and work around it.”

Dig into our Photos of the Day Archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery (up to 5 images at a time) to: hillary.grigonis@emeraldx.com.

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