How often should you get family photos taken?

December 5, 2022

Wondering how often you should have your family portraits taken? Having been a family photographer in Los Angeles for the past decade I have some thoughts on this! Here are my suggestions for when (and why!) to have your family photographed by a professional.

Siblings laughing in the grass

The First Year

Your baby changes so much in their first year. I recommend doing several photo sessions during their first 12-15 months. There are three portrait sessions not to miss in your baby’s first year: Newborn, 6-month/sitter, and 1-year/walker.

The newborn portrait session

I’m best known as a newborn photographer. As such, newborn sessions hold a special place in my heart. Your baby will never be this small again. The newborn phase goes quickly and within a couple of months it feels like a distant memory. Newborn portraits help you remember the profound experience of meeting your baby and falling in love with them.

mom looking down at newborn baby

The 6-month or sitter portrait session

After the newborn session, timing becomes less critical. In fact, I recommend that you book your baby milestone sessions based on stage, not age. Most of my newborn clients return to me when their baby is between 6 and 8 months for a “sitter session”. These sessions are photographed when your baby is sitting unassisted, but not yet crawling.

black and white studio baby portrait

The one-year or walker portrait session

Some of my clients come back right around their baby’s first birthday to mark the occasion. Others wait until their baby is walking so that they can document their little one’s new skill. Either way, you can’t go wrong! At one, your baby has plenty of personality and is busy exploring their world. The photographs of your child in their last months of babyhood will be among your most treasured.

studio portrait of young baby

Families with children

Kids change fast! This is especially true in the first five years, but even my kids, who are now 12 and 9, look remarkably different year to year. Your kids get one childhood and you get one chance to document it. With this in mind, I recommend having family photos taken every 9-15 months.

outdoor portrait of father with young daugtherFamily standing in garden holding toddler

Most photographers would recommend that you have family portraits taken once a year. And for most families, that means scrambling every October or November to find an available weekend spot with their favorite photographer. It doesn’t have to be that way!

Try this: book your family portraits for a different season each year

Instead of thinking only about this year’s photo session, try to think of your photo collection over time. Do you really want every professional portrait of your family taken at the same time of year? Would you like a bit more variety?

When your kids are little (say under the age of 6), you may want to book your family sessions a little closer together. An easy way to do this is to run your seasons in reverse. For example, this year you book a July session on the beach and next year you book a garden session in May. Now your portrait sessions are 9 months apart.

outdoor family portrait on beach cliffs outdoor mother and son portrait beach family portrait running

When your kids get a bit older, may want to spread your portrait sessions out a bit more. As your kids grow up and have more going on (like sports, activities, and friends), scheduling sessions becomes trickier. They are also growing and changing at a slightly slower pace. Now might be the time to switch over to a 15 month plan. All you need to do is run your seasons the other way. This year you may do a July session on the beach, and next year you’ll schedule your session for October.

garden family portrait of four

Need help deciding when to book your next family portrait session? Get in touch and we’ll make a plan for documenting your growing family!

big sister and newborn

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I photograph maternity, newborn, baby, and family sessions in and around Los Angeles. If you're interested in a session, please get in touch.

Ariel Cannon Photography | Los Angeles

Newborn Baby with arms overhead
Baby girl portrait on bed

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