Back in October, I wrote a blog post looking at some baby photo project ideas — that is, ideas for making a series of photographs taken at some regular interval to document a baby’s growth over the first year or so of their life. There were lots of fun ideas in that post, ranging from colorful fabric backdrops to photographing the baby with furniture, toys, and other props.
Being the obsessive shutterbug that I am, I really wanted to do some kind of photo project like that for Lillian — something cute and fun for her baby scrapbook that we could all look back on down the road. But what kind of project, exactly? That part was a bit harder.
From looking at those examples of projects others have done, I was able to decide that the photos needed to include something other than just the baby, something to help establish a sense of scale and illustrate how they’ve grown from one image to the next. So I had the vague idea of photographing Lillian with a toy or something that could be included in each photo. All that remained was to decide what specifically to use.
Idea #1 was to use the rocking lion — it seemed like the perfect thing since it kind of inspired her nursery mural and all. Unfortunately, since she’s too young to actually sit on it or interact with it in any way, I struggled a bit with how to arrange the photo. The best shot I was able to come up with was this:
I’m sure the rocking lion will make for some really cute photos once she’s older, but at this age, when all she can really do is lie next to this big stiff wooden thing looking confused, it didn’t quite seem like the best prop to use.
So idea #2 was to use this zebra pillow pet we picked up. It seemed to fit in with the general “safari animals” theme we had going, and yet it was cuddlier than the rocking lion. This was the resulting photo:
Definitely an improvement, I think (who can resist a sleeping Lillian?) but it still seemed to be missing something. Ignoring the poor lighting and white balance (I shot it after dark using only artificial light), and the general drab colorlessness of it (I shot it on our beige wallowing couch for some reason), the zebra pillow pet ended up looking more shaggy and shapeless than I’d imagined it would.
So finally, I had the idea to try photographing her lying on a colorful quilt made by her great-grandmama, cuddled with a small white plush bunny for scale. Here was the result:
This one was by far my favorite of the three — it’s cute, colorful, meaningful, and it should be easy to see how much bigger she’s getting in relation to the stuffed animal. It even kind of fits in with her animal nursery theme, albeit in a more cartoonish easter-bunny kind of way. All in all it seemed like the perfect start for an ongoing photo project.
My only regret is at being a little late getting going with it, though I’m not sure it makes too much difference to start this project at three weeks rather than one week. (As of her last doctor’s appointment she’d gained about a half pound since birth, which doesn’t translate into that much visible growth just yet — she still fits into her smallest newborn-size clothes and everything.)
Anyway, I’ll probably try to take a new photo every month or so, since that seems like about the right interval based on those examples I looked at. And since Lillian’s received a lot of baby blankets and quilts as gifts, we can probably even use a different background for each photo, which should make for plenty of color and variety in the series.
As crazy as it may sound, I’m already looking forward to taking the next one. So, be sure to check back in a month or so to see how much Lillian’s grown in relation to the stuffed bunny!