Documenting Your Child’s First Year : Minneapolis/St Paul Children’s Photographer

Do you love the concept of documenting your child’s first year but are unsure of how to go about it? I have done some research on this very topic and have found some wonderful ideas that are easy to implement and will make AWESOME keepsakes and/or gifts. I got so inspired I just might go back and do some of these for myself:)


This is the perfect idea if you would like to document, but not necessarily write. All you need is an instagram account you link up with printstagram. Prinstagram has tons of great products, but if it’s wall art you are looking for a poster or framed print is as easy as taking photos all year long, and selecting what you would like to showcase at year’s end. The thing I love most about Prinstagram is that there is no additional uploading.  (This can often take hours if you are putting photos into a photobook on Shutterfly for example, and is often why some of my projects go…ahem…unfinished.) Your instagram stream is seamlessly synced into their platform once you enter in your info and the only “work” involved is selecting which photos you want to use. (And really…it isn’t work. It is actually really fun to go back through them all!)

The simplest route to accomplish this project would be to take a photo each month of your baby and put it in a framed print. There are a number of ways to how to set up this photo, some suggest taking it in the same place each month, others use an object like a stuffed toy sitting next to baby so you can see how much he/she grows. A lot of people are also using chalkboards or using numbered onesies to mark the passage of time. Honestly, if your stumped–google monthly baby photos and you will be inundated with ideas!

However, if you want to do something with even more impact, creating a poster is SUPER fun and an amazing way to tell the story of your baby’s first year. No preplanning or thought is needed, just take pictures all year long of your baby’s everyday life. Capture the visits with relatives, the toes, the giggles, baby in her crib, in the highchair, pictures of her favorite solid food, with her toys…you get the idea.

DSC_9650wFor Christmas last year I made my husband a 20×38 poster with printstagram that is pictured above with images from the past two years. I am in the process of getting it framed, but even unframed it is AMAZING to look at. No words or explanation are needed it at all–when looking at this poster you know the story of our family. (Seriously, I thought this was cool online but cannot even articulate the impact this has when you actually see it. It’s is AWESOME.) Now imagine this hanging in a child’s room. Their everyday life in a poster. Oh my…..

Excuse me. I have to go make one of these for Holly and Marie right now!!!


Often times it is not deciding to do a photobook that is the hard part, it’s the figuring out WHAT to put into the book that often trips us all up. While researching for this blogpost I came across a this article which inspired me to take this photo last month:


Can you even imagine how cute twelve of these are going to look in book at year end?! What I love about this idea is that it is not overwhelming–which is really important if you are intrigued, but still intimidated, to start down the old memory-keeping path. For this photo I simply asked mom to tell me her baby’s height and weight and make a list of 5 or 6 bullet  points about her little girl that sum up the past month. I have received so much interest after posting this photo online that I have created a monthly micro-mini session event every Wednesday at my studio so that I can encourage even more clients to become memory-keepers. Check out the Micro-Mini Session page for all of the details.  Such an easy and stress-free way to capture the first year, and a bit of mom in the process!

If you like to DIY–I have you covered too. Check out my digital baby album template at my new Etsy shop. I have both a Shutterfly ready album and page template all ready to go. Be sure to share if you print a book, I LOVE seeing what others create!


Of course I would have this is an option! This is, of course, the most extensive of the options listed, but with a little pre-planning it’s not overwhelming at all. (I will probably do my own version of this someday to share here, but for now check out how Becky Higgins recommends setting up a baby album.) I am a big memory keeper but even I would be overwhelmed with this sort of project if it wasn’t set up before baby arrived.

I am almost done with Holly’s baby album and have shared some of it already. If you missed it, check out the first eleven pages or my post covering up to her eighth month.

If you think you might want to try and complete a Project Life Baby Album, here are some ideas for things to think about including in an album like this. This is a quick list of things I did and things I WISHED I did:

  • Take a photo of the positive pregnancy test.
  • Take monthly photos of your belly. (I didn’t do this either time and REGRET IT.)
  • Keep the paint strip/chip from the paint store of the color you painted in the nursery.
  • Photos of you shopping for baby–the cart, registering…etc.
  • Photos of you with each person at your baby shower. (Thankfully I did this, and I am so glad. Some of the people that were there that day are not with us any longer and I cherish those photos.)
  • Photos of the food/restaurants you craved.
  • Ultrasound pictures–I have the actual photos, but what I wish I had done was have Justin take a step back and take a larger photo of the room. I also wish I had tucked a journaling card in my purse so that I could have written down what it felt like to see the baby and/or how excited I was to find out they were both girls. (I know I was excited, but I would love to have had the journaling that would have come about with it being so fresh in my mind.)
  • Photos of the people that inspired baby’s name. (If applicable of course.)
  • A timeline of the birth day/labor.
  • Have grandma and/or grandpa write a letter to the baby.
  • Have mom or dad write a monthly letter to baby.

I hope this post helps inspire you to document your baby’s first year. Chances are even if your baby is six like mine (or even older!) you have a lot of this stuff in a box somewhere so you only need to set aside some dedicated time to get it together. Thankfully I have a class for that!




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