A Year of Monthly Photos

I can’t believe it, but Kenton’s monthly photo project is complete!

He went from a nekkid little bambino to a dapper young pre-toddler in disguise in just 12 short months.

Wow! That went by fast.

Here’s how each month looked… what I added and why…

Our blank little canvas. The rug in the background of every shot is also in the nursery. It was a challenge keeping it clean for a year! I should have bought two just for peace of mind. 🙂 The tie stickers were a gift from a friend, who got them on Etsy.

In addition to the outfit additions, I always took a shot of Kenton in just a plain, white onesie and his tie. So, I always made sure I was fully stocked with Circo brand onesies from Target.

Here’s a shocker… infant-sized boxers are impossible to find. These are the smallest kid size I could find and I snagged them at the Vineyard Vines outlet in Freeport, Maine – during our trip there when Kenton was just a few weeks old. I actually got several of the pieces for this project on that trip. Freeport has some great outlet stores! Anyway, the boxers were obviously way too big – so I just took them in a bit at the waist and tucked the extra material under Kenton for the shot. Apparently, some people thought I put a skirt on him at first – so I guess I didn’t take them in enough!

The socks are just basic black infant socks. I bought one pair in 12 month size – so they started off a bit big, but he grew into them. The only problem with these – they have grippers on the bottom, like most infant socks. However, these grippers are bright white and have a brand name on them. So, I turned them inside out. If you look closely in some of the shots, you can tell.

The khaki pant. I got two pairs of the exact same pants – at the Gymboree outlet, also in Freeport, Maine. I bought six month and 12 month sizes. I was really glad I did that so we had the consistency. These pants were great too – with the cuffs and elastic waist – we could give the illusion of a good fit even if they were a bit big or too snug.

The button-down blue shirt – another classic – comes from The Children’s Place outlet… also in Freeport. (I told you I made the most of that trip!) I only bought one – which I later regretted. It’s a nine month size, which was fine until the last couple of months… if you look close, you’ll see there was a point where we could no longer button the top button!

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to add suspenders in month seven. I looked high and low for infant suspenders. I had friends and family on the lookout for them. Whenever a pair would be spotted, they were usually an obnoxious color or had a loud cartoon character. I really wanted a simple, preppy pair and I was determined to find some – and I did – not where I expected. I wandered into Janie and Jack at the mall one day. A store I normally avoid because (I think) the prices are outrageous. Well, lo and behold, they had suspenders – on CLEARANCE. I about lost it. We were literally days away from shooting this picture and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I didn’t find my coveted suspenders. $15 later (yes, that was the clearance price), they were mine! Or, actually, Kenton’s. 🙂

The shoes were a bit anti-climatic because you can barely see them! They are black, velvet (SWANKY!) little Cole Haan numbers. Oh yes, another Freeport outlet purchase! (Later, I splurged on a couple more pairs of Cole Haans during a Zulily sale. They have the CUTEST little boy shoes.) These shoes didn’t fit for long. Around month ten, I ended up cutting a slit in the back of them because they were too small. For month 12, we had to use masking tape to tape them to his socks – as they kept flying off! Grabbing these in two sizes would have been wise!

The classic blue blazer was actually hard to find! At a good price, anyway. Finally, Target had some pre-Easter and around the time Kenton was dedicated. So, that worked out really well. Also, it still fits – so we’re getting some good use out of it.

The suspenders and fedora were the hardest things to find. Actually, the fedora we used is not what I originally envisioned. I really wanted a classic, wool fedora. However, I searched for months and never found one. I finally got this one – which is more of a summer hat – at Nordstrom… again, with just days to spare before the shoot. Now that the photos are done and the hat no longer needs to be preserved, I’m going to make Kenton wear it all summer. It is ADORABLE on him.

The sunglasses were yet another Freeport outlet purchase – this time, from LL Bean. It’s a good thing my husband enjoys shopping because I really dragged him from store to store that day! Originally, the sunglasses were going to be for month 12. I was going to add a handkerchief to the blazer pocket in month 10, but ultimately decided that was a bit weak and I could be more creative. So, I scratched the hankie, moved everything up a month and prayed inspiration would come to me for month 12.

I tossed around so many ideas for month 12 – a briefcase, a mini-Starbucks cup, put him on a bike, have him rip his shirt open and show off a Superman logo… then, I thought I should see if there was any way to connect the last “add” to a birthday party theme – and the mustache idea was born. I thought that was such a cute birthday party theme for boy and it was the PERFECT last addition to our photo project. Now, actually getting him to wear a mustache was challenging! First, I taped it to a pacifier, dipped the pacifier in chocolate – which he had never tasted… and got a million shots of that… since he was so distracted by the new taste in his mouth, he didn’t think to be annoyed by the mustache OR sunglasses!

Once I knew I had that shot, I took a chance and stuck the mustache on his face and was able to get “the” shot before he pulled it off. 🙂 And… voila! We’ve got our 12 month collection:
So, some tips if you’re thinking about replicating this project with your wee one:

  • Pick a neutral background that you’ll have access to for the whole year – and stick with it.
  • Try to shoot the photos in the same room, at the same time of day, with as much natural light as possible. (I didn’t always do this, and it shows – unfortunately.)
  • Write a list of the clothing items you’ll be adding and always have it with you so you can reference it if you find the perfect addition while out shopping. (I kept my list in a note on my iPhone.)
  • Share your list of additions with a few close family/friends, so they can also be on the lookout for you.
  • Buy multiple sizes of items added in the first six months that will remain visible to the end.
  • After each monthly shoot, put all of the clothing items away, together, in the same spot so you don’t misplace them!
  • Give yourself plenty of time to shoot each photo and be patient. Babies are wiggly!

There you have it! I cannot believe this project is ovah. Done. Put a fork in it. Yes, I’ll keep taking monthly shots of our little man – but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing else I can add now! 🙂 Now, I just have to figure out what creative monthly photo idea I’ll use for baby #2!

About Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin is a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mom. She's also an award winning broadcast journalist and public relations professional. Michelle spent nearly a decade working in television newsrooms across the country, both behind and in front of the camera. Training future broadcast journalists in her faculty associate roles at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and at Arizona Christian University was a cherished focus of her post-TV career. Today, she maintains a roster of public relations clients focused on empowering fellow “momprenuers.” She also serves as a speaker for various women's and mom's events. Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from Biola University and Master of Mass Communication (MMC) from Arizona State University. She and her husband, two young kids and English bulldog call Scottsdale, Arizona, home.

3 Responses to A Year of Monthly Photos

  1. Kim@NewlyWoodwards June 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    These turn out awesome! I love the idea of adding every month and he is too cute in all 12 pictures. I can’t believe how much he’s grown.

  2. Leslie Means June 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    OK – seriously too cute!!!!

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