a portraiture timeline | huntsville children’s photographer

I’m often asked what my favorite ages to photograph are. The trouble with that question is that the answer is kind of like the old adage “there is only one beautiful child, and every mother has him.” Every age is my favorite — at least in the moment when I’m photographing. For me there is no perfect age for photography. Every age and milestone is worth recording.

With that in mind, there are certain ages that seem to work best when you’re planning your portraiture timeline. I thought it would be fun to put together a little post outlining the most popular milestones. I certainly realize that scheduling all of these sessions is just not in the budget for most families. With that in mind, I’ll bold the sessions that I definitely recommend. Everything else is just a bonus!


I like to photograph newborns  within the first two weeks of life, before they’ve really started to stretch out and wake up. I always make room in my schedule for newborns but I recommend calling to book your session somewhere in your second trimester (although I’ve been known to field calls from super-excited first trimester mommies…and I love it!) Here’s the thing about newborns you guys: once they’re out of that first month you can’t get it back. So make it a point to document them at their tiniest (and sweetest!).      

Three Months:

Some parents opt to wait a little longer to get that first baby session going and choose a three month portrait session instead. And some parents do them both! Either way, there’s no denying that your baby will be completely different at three months than she was as a newborn. Three month olds are usually starting to smile and make eye contact which can make for some beautifully sweet portraits.

Six Months:

If you held me down and absolutely made me pick my favorite age to photograph I might appease you by saying six months. And it might be true. But I’ll never tell. Six month olds are really starting to come into their little personalities and have so much fun sitting up and showing off all their new expressions. I typically recommend scheduling this session for once your baby can actually sit up which means we might not meet right at six months. But there’s something so magical about that sitting-but-not-crawling age that I just adore photographing. Plus I love baby fat. Who doesn’t?

Nine Months/Crawling:

This is one of those sessions in the first year that isn’t an absolute must for all parents but it is still a magical age to photograph nonetheless. Babies who are crawling are super fun to capture on the camera. Many of them are even starting to stand with assistance which can make for super meaningful photographs between mommy and daddy and baby.

One Year/Standing:

Because one year olds are really becoming aware of their surroundings (as well as who is a stranger and who isn’t) these sessions often result in some fabulously pensive, soulful looks. Put that together with baby’s newly acquired standing skills and you’ve got a recipe for an amazing portrait celebrating your child’s first year. The hat and ducky are of course optional. 😉  

Eighteen Months:

Eighteen month olds have finally gotten their legs (so to speak) and are anxious to use them. Capturing them curiously discovering their world with their innocent smiles and giggly grins is another favorite part of my job.

Two Year Olds:

I’ve heard a rumor that there are some photographers that won’t touch a two year old with a ten foot pole, much less photograph them. I say bring ’em on!

Better yet, bring me two!


(I love some two-year old mischief. In fact, I might retract what I said about holding me down and forcing me to name my favorite subjects. I *might* say two year olds. But again, I’ll never tell.)

Three Year Olds:

Now that the sessions are coming just once a year there’s really a marked difference in the child’s personality and presence each time we meet. Three year old sessions give us a chance to really capture all the parts of your child’s personality that make him or her unique. Three year olds are sassy and smiley and can’t wait to show you who they are. I love that.

Four Year Olds:

Everything I said above about three year olds still rings true for four year olds. They’re innocent (most of the time, right?) and sweet and full of useless information! Four year old sessions are super important for some parents who wish to capture their child’s last portraits before the  baby teeth start falling out, followed by gaping holes and big teeth in little heads.

Which brings me to…

Toothy Grins:

You’d probably be surprised by the number of inquiries I take from parents who call requesting either sessions for their child before the teeth start falling out OR sessions for their child after the teeth start falling out. I’ve found that teeth are a big issue for moms in particular.  And some moms can’t resist putting those sweet little toothy or toothless grins in front of my camera (and I can’t resist them either!).


Nine, ten, and eleven year olds are embarking on a whole new experience in their world. Things may be starting to get a bit awkward for them and any ounce of babyneses they had left is about to be gone. For those reasons these sessions are an absolute must. I say capture them before they’re sleeping until noon and spending moody afternoons locked away in their bedrooms! Tweens are SO fun in front of the camera and are usually super excited about the portrait process and a session dedicated just to them.


Any time is the right time to photograph your family. Any age is the right age. You just can’t have too many photographs of your family loving on one another. So make it a point to schedule a family session once  a year. I would recommend taking advantage of holiday minisessions to capture your family each year and scheduling a FULL session that focuses on your family every 2-3 years.


As much as I love big kids (and I do!) I know someone who loves them (and photographs them!) even more. Check out my dear friend and fabulous photographer Marla Laramie for all your senior photography needs.

I hope this timeline helps you as you plan and budget for your portrait sessios in the coming years. I’m always excited to meet new kids at every age and stage so get in touch today to set up your next appointment! Keep in mind that my calendar tends to fill 2-3 months in advance so plan accordingly. =)

jill LOVE them all Erin. You really are an awesome photographer!

Tina R Great post, Erin! And I think you hit the nail on the head with all of your advice.

hilaryd i recently heard about you through karen russell (i’m a current student of hers) and i LOVE your work! your photos are beautiful and i LOVE the colors in them! i have to say this post made me tear up reading about the next steps my children will go through. i want to savor each stage of their life, so what a better way to do that than through photos! thanks, erin, for the advice.

BRITT You nailed it with the descriptions of ages! I couldn’t relate more to each. Who could resist that little 3 year old red head darling?! I think my favorite might be 2 year olds! Wonderful post and certainly amazing photos!

Amber I stumbled across your blog a while ago and I can’t stop dropping by to see all of your new photos. I think you are such an inspiration and take the most amazing photos that I have ever seen!

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on the verge | huntsville children’s portraits » Erin Cobb Photography […] soon be gone. She’s a smart cookie. As a matter of fact, several years ago when I created a portraiture timeline for my clients, this age was one I listed as most […]

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