What to Expect | Your Milestone Session
What to Expect and Tips for a Great Milestone Session
My style for milestone sessions are simple classic set ups that will stay in style over the years. In warm months, the sessions can take place outdoors in locations around Northfield. In the cold months (which seem to outnumber the warm ones in Minnesota) milestone sessions take place at my downtown Northfield studio.
Studio Backdrop Options
My studio backdrops are ones that will allow your little one and their personality to shine.
I know many milestone sessions are set on ages, like 6-month sessions and 1 year sessions. Since the abilities of little ones at these ages can vary, I find it easier to divide little ones into three categories for their session, and what options will be the best fit for them in studio.
Non-sitter | These are the little ones that can’t yet sit unassisted. They can be anywhere from 2-7 months typically
Sitter | These are the little ones that can sit unassisted for a decent amount of time. Some little ones can fall between the non-sitters
Stander | These are the little ones that can stand unassisted. This is anywhere from the just getting the hang of standing stage to running away full speed stage.
White Bed Backdrop (for non-sitters \ sitters \ standers)
My most popular backdrop for toddlers and younger kids is my bed set up. It is an air mattress with all white bedding. Little ones love it, and it is a great way to get them to open up at the start of the session.
Simple White Backdrop and Window (for sitters and standers)
This backdrop is a favorite of mine. It is a white wall next to the large studio windows. For the flooring, we can keep it simple with a white floor, or add in wooden floor options like white wood or dark wood).
Wooden Backdrops (for non-sitters, sitters, and standers)
I have wooden floor drops and backdrops in the studio and they are perfect for milestone sessions.
I have a set that is dark / natural wood flooring with a backdrop. This backdrop option adds some color and depth to the session, but still leaves the backdrop simple enough that your little one is the center of attention.
I have a similar set that is white painted wood. The texture of the wood is a great accent to pictures. If you like the look of the white wood floor, not prefer a more simple backdrop a white backdrop can be used with the flooring too.
Seamless Paper Backdrops (for sitters and standers)
I also offer simple backdrops where the flooring and backdrop seamlessly blend into each other. The colors currenty available for sessions are white, tan, gray, and black. The neutral colors of them complement the other backdrops in the studio and make for a great option to add to sessions.
Fabric and Fur Backdrops (for non-sitters)
Little ones in that stage between newborns and sitters, have a bunch of options for session backdrops. Many young babies still like being swaddled, and can be put in poses similar to popular newborn poses. They can also be posed in props, either laying down or used to help them sit up if they need a little extra help. Most of the newborn backdrop options are available to milestone sessions for these little ones.
High Chairs (for almost sitters and sitters)
One of the most popular backdrop and prop combinations in the studio are my high chairs with simple backdrops. They are great for little ones that can’t sit well on their own yet, and all the way up to standers. Plus, they all think it is time to eat when they get into the high chairs which can lead to some great expressions (both happy and sad)
I like to keep props minimal for milestone sessions. Again, I feel the focus of the session should be your child, not props or bright colors. I do have a number of things for them to sit in and on.
I have found that kids this age really like sitting on something, from a little bench to a piece of a quilt. For some reason is makes sitting still so much more appealing.
I also have some toys in the studio that photograph well, and are an easy way to give little ones something to play with and keep them happy. I have a number of wooden toys and other muted color toys that are great options for little ones that need something extra – to keep them distracted, in one spot, or happy.
If your child is teething, I also have a number of teether options in the studio that can be added to our setups. The teethers are all ones that get to go home with you and your little one. My approach is if they are going to be chewing and sucking on it, it has now become theirs – plus who doesn’t like new toys
I will also bring a prop or two to outdoor sessions. These are usually chairs, boxes, bowls, buckets, and blankets. If there are any props you see in my studio sessions that you would like to incorporate into your outdoor sessions, just let me know and I will bring those specific items with.
I will also have some toys and teethers with for outdoor milestone sessions too.
Clothing for Milestone Sessions
I do have some clothing options for children 18 months and younger. I have simple classic onsies, and other outfits. Outfit changes seem to be hard on little ones, so I limit the session to 2 or 3 outfits max. I have foudn over the years that most session meltdows are based aroud outfit changes.
I have a number of neutral colored onsies and rompers for boys.
I have a number of neutral colored, vintage, and shabby chic inspired dresses and rompers.
Outfit Tips For Your Little One
Keep It Simple
Timeless always has a place. I love when my clients show up to a shoot with the most simple and timeless of outfits. A plain white lace dress with a simple bow. A plain white onesie. Naked baby! These outfits (or lack thereof) will always stand the test of time, and will never go out of style. Large, busy prints, checkered patterns & geometric designs don’t photograph well. They also do not display well in your home.
I always recommend clients keep wardrobe neutral and simple for sessions. you don’t want any clothing to overshadow the precious little people we’re showcasing. I recommend neutrals–grey, ivory, white or black. If you like color, think about the colors in your home and use them as inspiration. We decorate in colors we like, and you know your photographs will display well in your home when the colors match your décor.
For outdoor sessions pick a color that will stand out against the backdrop. Most of the location used for outdoor sessions are filled with grass and trees. When dressed in greens, little ones can blend in with the background.
Avoid fluorescent colors. Fluorescent colors tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair. They’re harsh, especially in sunlight. If you like brighter colors, I recommend primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blues (navy, royal) photograph beautifully.
Dress For The Weather
In Minnesota, it can be 50 and cloudy, then 75 and sunny just hours later. Be prepared to be flexible with wardrobe in case you have to switch it up last minute. If you have plans for a cute sundress for your daughter, and the weather ends up being 20 degrees colder than you were anticipating, switch it up a bit by adding layers. Tights, boots, scarf, slouchy hat, cardigan.
Dress your kiddos in clothes that fit perfectly, not with room to grow. Even if your child may only wear the outfit for a few months, it’ll look much better than putting them in something that they still need to grow into. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket, blazer, sweat shirt, sweater or hoodie will not compliment shape. It looks sloppy.
Avoid clothing that bunches up on small children. Puffy vests and shirts with a collar tend to push upward when very little ones sit, and the clothing covers their face. Polo and henley style shirts are better for very young boys. Overalls also tend to push up into little ones’ faces.
Don’t Forget Shoes
Shoes are a very important part of wardrobe. If you have the cutest little trousers and button down for your son to wear for pictures, but slap his favorite pair of Disney tennis shoes on him, it makes the whole look lose cohesiveness. Stay away from character shoes, flip flops, crocs. My recommendation for shoes are boots, leather sandals, Converse All-Stars, Toms, and Mary Janes. Barefoot is an adorable option, especially with babies and studio sessions. I’d much rather see bare feet than the bottom of their shoes.
Hair And Hats
Hair piece tips. I always recommend keeping hair accessories simple. When they are too big (think “gerber daisy” big), it distracts from their faces. Even if your baby girl doesn’t have a ton of hair, don’t feel the need to hide that adorable head behind a huge head piece that makes her angry because she’s pulling it off every few seconds. Simple and dainty is best with hair accessories. I have a number of headbands in the studio that have small flowers or bows and fit newborns to toddlers.
Hats and beanies are a fun way to add some personality to your milestone session. And if it is an outdoor session, there is the added bonus of a hat keeping your little one warmer for longer.
Let Their Personality Show
The most important part of putting together your child’s wardrobe is allowing their personality to come through in what they’re wearing. If your daughter has a favorite pair of boots, let her wear them (at least in a few pictures). If your son prefers to run around naked to being fully clothed, we’ll let him strip down at the end of the session. If your child loves to wear hats and sunglasses, bring them! Whatever makes your child their own adorable, individual self, let’s focus on those things.
Lovies, Blankies, and Special Toys
Milestone sessions are also a great time to incorporate personal items into sessions. Things like favorite blankets, stuffed animals, a special rattle, and anything else that is important to you and your little one at that time. Plus, it’s fun to look back at that special lovie years later and see what they looked like before the years of hugs and love took a toll on them.
Let me know if you have any questions on clothing options. I know clothing can easily become the most stressful part of photography sessions.
Family and Sibling Poses
While the session will focus on your little one, I will gladly include an updated sibling or family pose with the session. I know these milestones are a reason for everyone to celebrate, and it’s a chance for a family pictures since your newborn session.
Other Helpful Tips
I do my best to make sure outdoor sessions are at locations where little ones are not easily distracted by things like playgrounds, lots of other people, cars driving by, ect.
I fully believe in bribery with kids. It can be something at the session, or a special treat like ice cream afterwards. If you do bring a treat to the session, I recommend having something small, non-messy, quick to eat, and not brightly colored. Things like Cheerios, yogurt bites, and small crackers are perfect. I would avoid suckers, chocolates that can melt, fruit snacks, or similar items.
I also love silly pictures, and you will get a bunch of them too. Before I was a mom, I thought everyone wanted smiling pictures of their kids. After having my own, I now see how important the goofy grins, funny poses, and pure personality images are. Those are the images that really capture kids as they age.