my boys {yearly pictures ages 3, 5, 7}

All of my boys have spring birthdays. I usually try to get yearly pictures of them right around early April. Seeing how the hospital isn’t exactly what I had in mind for their birthday pictures we put it off a bit. I am always impressed with the moms that can come up with a cute concept (like pinwheels in a field or a cute tent outside) for birthday pictures. I feel like I am doing good just to actually take them each year…nonetheless attempt a theme or even new clothes!

We were headed over to my in-laws for dinner and a couple hours before we left my mother-in-law let me know they had a vintage firetruck at their house. Upon hearing that I figured it was a good as time as any to get the yearly pictures of the boys. We didn’t have time for shopping or coming up with great coordinated outfits, but I really don’t think all that matters. The whole point of yearly pictures is just to capture mainly what my boy’s look like with shirts on and clean faces.

On the way my oldest had this conversation with me:

Him: Why do we have to do this all the time?

Me: Do what?

Him: Dress up and smile at the camera.

Me: When was the last time we did this?

Him: When I turned 6.

Me: How long ago was that?

Him: A year.

Me: We don’t do this all the time.


85mm lens: 1/250, f/3.5, ISO 100 – both

85mm lens: 1/250, f/2.8, ISO 100; 1/200 f/4.0, ISO 160


trying to figure out how to get his hands in his pockets! 85mm: 1/250, f/2.5, ISO 100

85mm lens: 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 100 – both

85mm lens: 1/200, f/2.8, ISO 100; 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 100

85mm lens: 1/200, f/2.8, ISO 100 5.7.11-06

85mm lens: 1/200, f/2.8, ISO 100

85mm lens: 1/200, f/2.8, ISO 100 5.7.11-08

85mm lens: 1/200, f/4.0, ISO 160 – both5.7.11-09

85mm lens: 1/200, f/4.0, ISO 160; 24-70mm lens: 24mm, 1/200, f/4.0, ISO 160

2011 picture 85mm lens: 1/200, f/4.0, ISO 160; she is not too thrilled about her confined state5.7.11-12

85mm lens: 1/250, f/3.5, ISO 100 5.7.11-13

The last one is my favorite. It makes me wonder what they’ll be like in 10 years as 13, 15, & 17 year old boys. It took a lot of convincing, begging & pleading to get these. Tomorrow I’ll post more of the reality of attempting to get posed shots of my boys.

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  • Alba - fantastic pics, as always. I love those little chubby fingers from LittleBrother, the faces from BigBrother and the responsible feeling from BiggestBrother.

  • RachelC - Love, love, love. They are turning into young men. So handsome. You can feel the camradarie they share.

  • Julie - Too cute, I have two boys…almost 4 and 7. After looking at these I feel like I am missing one. I have to admit I am looking forward to tomorrow’s post, my boys are pretty good for photos, but not that good:)!!

  • Robyn Farmer - i love them! and the outfits are totally stylin’

  • Tara - I can tell your boys are so loved! What beautiful pictures to treasure! I’ve just about saved enough for my own grown up camera. Thanks for sharing all these photo tips. I can’t wait to start taking more pictures of my three girls!

  • Tania - what lovely pictures!

  • Chiara M - They’ve all grown so much over the past year! You’ve got a gorgeous family there, Ashley.

  • Ange - F stop 24.0?! Surely that is a type-o!

  • Jill R - How? How did this happen so suddenly? 2, 4 & 6 wasn’t so bad, they still seemed “little.”. But they look so grown up in these pictures! What handsome brothers.

  • andy - these are awesome. the are all precious. your middle son is something else though. πŸ™‚ so so cute

  • amber - You have some real cuties on your hands. I’d be in trouble with all those super cute boys. I’ve got one…& I have to fight being tied around his little bitty finger:). Thanks for sharing these…it’s amazing how much they’ve changed in a year!

  • DebZorn - These are all great! You have such a beautiful family.

  • AshleyAnn - Yep type-o…it is fixed!

  • amy - my kids are the same age but all turning one year older this summer.. and my oldest is a girl… and it’s torture for them and for me to get their yearly pictures..

  • Abby - Great shots! My son will be three on Sunday, and I am trying to figure out how to convince him to pose for a few pictures for me! I think their outfits were all adorable!

  • Corrie - They are adorable!! I can’t even imagine how many girls will be knocking at your door in 10 years. It’s something we don’t like to think about as mothers of boys, but it is reality eventually πŸ™‚

  • Becky - LOVE these photos!!
    The 85mm is one of my fav. lenses for kids.

  • Brook S. - So good to see pics of your boys!! Amazing inspiration for shots of my own little guys! πŸ™‚

  • Dana Laymon Photography - I LOVE the ones of them each leaning on the bar! So beautiful- i love the black and white! You have the cutest children πŸ™‚

  • Sarah - What a handsome brood! You lucky girl!

  • Kirsten - these are AWESOME. way to go, mom! πŸ™‚

  • Vy - Too cute! I love them all!

  • Cory - Ummm these are CRAZY ADORABLE! I just can’t stand it!!

  • Nicole - lovely!

  • Shannon - Your boys are absolutely stunning! I think getting pictures of them like this, in their normal clothes, with their personalities shining through, is what will matter 10 years down the road! Just lovely Ashley.

  • erin - i actually love that they don’t match. i know you don’t dress them to match every other day, so this captures their personalities more. DARLING kiddos!!!!

  • Beth - They are beautiful … and so are the photos! πŸ™‚

  • Elizabeth - thank you Ashley! I feel the same way about photographing my 3 boys. And I always love the pictures you get of yours and wish I could do that…so thanks for making me feel better…I, too, am doing good just to get them in the same shot…

  • Jennifer - What gorgeous, gorgeous boys! And isn’t it amazing how much Firecracker has grown and changed since last year? Such fun! I have only two girls, and our Christmas photo shoots always leave me exhausted, so I can only imagine photographing FOUR!

  • danielle - So cute! Love the truck! My boys like that phrase “all the time” also. It gets a little bit much…

  • Kristi - Okay pinwheels do NOt compare to a VINTAGE firetruck!!! That is AMAZING!!! And I only have one that I am trying to get a picture of (at the moment)…how in the world are you getting all 3!!! That is just not fair!! Those pictures are amazing!!!!

  • ashley jensen - I am constantly trying to figure out how to have a session with my daughter that will last more than 5 minutes. I love H’s “Totally Charmin” shirt because the shirt will still be true when he is older. I love that we can really see their personality in picutres.

  • Katrina - You sure have some handsome boys Ashley. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes!

  • Maria - Soooo cute!

    Can’t wait to see the reality shots!

  • Tess S. - beautiful!

  • Rebecca - A handsome group of fellas.

  • giozi - Thanks for exif I love the bokeh with 2,8 I think is the most beauty.

    Your boys are so beautiful too. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  • cailan - Oh Man! These are amazing, and I don’t believe it that you had to twist any arms – they all look so natural and happy and absolutely adorable! And thanks for your mothering post encouragement yesterday – I need to hear that kind of thing…on a regular basis.

  • Anna - oh my gosh, you got yourself a couple of handsome boys!!! love their pictures!

  • the whyte house - so cute!! though i feel your pain with all of the convincing kids to get good shots. my 4 & 5 yr old give me a run for my money. chris’s twin was killin’ me w his ‘totally charmin’ shirt.

  • Nicole - Such sweet children & your photos are amazing as always! They’ve all grown so much in the past year!

  • Lori - adorable! love love love em!

  • Christie - Oh what handsome boys! Love the conversation you had with them. AMAZING pictures. I just spent an hour last night working on learning my new dslr. It’s a ton of stuff to take in and I only hope I can get half as good as you! Learn learn learn!

  • Stephanie George - Stinkin’ adorable. A Mamma must be so proud to have three handsome little boys like that! I’d love to hear more about the process of getting these pictures. What do you say to the boys, do you pose them, give them pointers, how do you get them to smile (although, with boys, even not smiling is so cute… rough, tough). Thanks for sharing!

  • Desiree - Great photos! That vintage truck is adorable!

  • Kassie - These are absolutely gorgeous. I love the black and white ones, you can really see the sparkle in their eyes in those. Such handsome guys!

  • Courtney Henson - Oh my goodness! These are so great! Beyond being super talented as a photographer, you make gorgeous boys! And the fire truck? Perfect!

  • tanya - good.ness. they are all “totally charmin'”!

  • Alice H - Oh my goodness her little pouty lips are precious. I love all of the pics. You do such a good job! Geez mom do they have to do this again next year? LOL!

  • Rhonda Steed - Seriously so beautiful!! The last is my fav too!!

  • Loren - Your kids are so cute and your photos are so nice. This shoot really looks great even if they don’t all ‘match’. πŸ™‚

  • Kim - I am one that does family pictures every year with matching outfits as well… but after seeing these, I think those days are long gone. These are beautiful and shows their real personality!! I love how you posted the 2010 with this years… beautiful!! Oh and the totally charmin’ shirt is GREAT!

  • allison - amazing pictures – the one of your youngest trying to get his hands in his pockets made me laugh out loud – and I so needed that today! Can’t wait for tomorrows post!

  • Ranee - Great photos and love the commentary!

  • Karissa - They’re awesome! Your kids are so cute!

  • Molly - such handsome little men you have on your hands!!

  • Rosa @ flutterflutter - Such beautiful pics of your family. I need to upgrade to an SLR and take a photo class!!

  • caro - Que guapos que estan tus nenes!!!! But the oldest “nada” con la camera. ANd the youngest is really big. Bless you!

  • Amy - TOO CUTE. You make having 3 boys look so good. πŸ™‚

  • Becca G - my oldest is the same way about pictures. last time she complained about the t-shirt i picked out. ugh. your boys are beautiful! their personalities really shine through these pics.

  • rachael - Great pics – such handsome boys!! My oldest is 5 and i have to barter for almost every picture i take of him πŸ™‚

  • Susan - Love the pictures of the kids and thank you for including the photography “recipes” for us beginning photog’s . . . πŸ™‚

  • Roxana - I love these!!! Such handsome little men. Good work!! (making handsome boys and taking great pics!!)

  • Stacy - Great pics! I wish my photos had the sense of emotion yours do, forget coordinated outfits! I think your boys are so handsome, but the middle one seems like he is going to be a heartbreaker!

  • Jenny - Next time they ask you can tell them these pictures are for the girls they are going to marry, because I can tell you now that those ladies are going to be so thankful you did this! Amazing photos, Ashley! You have such a gift.

  • Dana @ Bungalow'56 - Thank you for the reminder at the end of how hard this “natural” shots are to get. Even as a photographer I just look at your gorgeous photos and imagine it all going perfectly. I am wondering what time of day it is that you found such beautiful light.

  • Carissa Miller - I am cracking up! Love the pictures first of all. Second of all, my favorite is the b&w of littlest brother with his hands crossed on the fence. He looks SO thrilled to be there with his little pouty face. I get resistance every time I take my kids yearly pictures too if it makes you feel better.

  • Ruth Abel - Oh my goodness. You have the most beautiful family! I love love love these.

  • Kariane - geez lady; you’ve got cute kids! Begging and pleading, totally worth it!

  • Gevay - Could they be any cuter?

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I only have one daughter, but these photos make me wish I so had a little boy too. Your boys are so handsome… you’ll definitely have your hands full in about 10 years!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - Gosh these are so good. I wish I had your talent!

  • Kim - I am blessed with one – and he’s three. These pics make me wish there were more! Question – where do you find the flip flops with the back strap for the boys? Mine is wearing a 12 and seems like they stop adding the strap after size 10.

  • heather - That conversation sounds exactly like the one I have with my husband each year at family photo time! πŸ™‚ Love the pics of your gorgeous boys!

  • Katie - your family is beautiful!

  • Mindy Harris - gorgeous babies of yours. makes me want more.
    i have two. is 4 doable?

  • Michelle - You do such a great job, and their boyishness shines through these pictures. So nice of you to share them with us (and glad that the family is doing well after your challenging April…!)

  • RaD - Your youngest boy and little girl look so much alike! These are great photos. Makes me wanna do a photo shoot with mine but I can only imagine the “fight” I’d have on my hands πŸ™‚

  • Mara - These are so so great. You should enter them in minted’s photo contest on FB.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, those are sooo good! I love the very first one. They are cutie patooties!

  • Crystal - They are perfect! Im having my third little boy so we will have 6,2 and newborn and this gets me excited!

  • tamara - Love love these!!!!

  • Jeannie Brown - OMGoodness … beautiful!

  • Heather - oh my goodness they are so handsome.. (i wanted to say cute but know boys hate that) the first one of your middle son is just precious!!!

  • Jeannette - Awesome pics! I can’t even get out with my older boys to get their yearly pics and I can’t ever figure out where to take them? I have plans to attempt it Friday evening.

  • Dawn Eshnaur - This post made me smile…..I make my three boys take their picture on the first day of school each year. The catch is they have to hold a sign that says what grade and the year. When they were little, they didn’t mind. As they got older, I found myself saying “shut your mouth and smile!!?” They obliged me every year through their Senior year. Priceless memories!!!!

  • Joan - Beautiful photos. Beautiful subjects.

  • Ashley A - SO cute!! What time of day did you take these? The lighting is perfect!

  • Randi - so great! your pics amaze me. they are beautiful. and those boys are adorable! can’t wait to hear how you were able to capture such great poses πŸ™‚

  • Susie N. Patterson - Adorable! they are all cute and handsome, I’m sure they all get it from their dad. πŸ™‚ Mommy your one of a lucky person.

  • Ikik - lovely pictures…as always

  • cynthia - PRECIOUS!!! I need to start doing this for mine. I have lots of random pics of of mine, but yearly is a great idea. Love, love these!!! Are these SOOC? If not, did you do much post-processing? ~Thanks for sharing!!

  • audrielle - thank you for your blog! You inspired me to start my own, i loved yours so much. i recently started sewing so tutorials were a MUST and thats how i found your site….thank you so much for what you do! keep it up, your blog is soo cute and nice to look at…hope mine can eventually look half as good as yours, i mean it.

  • Amy Roys - Your pictures are so amazing and inspiring! I love that you are including the exif for all of us photo lovers out there trying to capture better images of our little ones running around. I was curious which 85mm lens this is specifically…. the 85mm 3.5, 1.8, or 1.4. I am about to purchase one of the above and trying to get the best lens for low light and child “portraits” but without breaking the bank. πŸ™‚
    Thanks so much for your advice! Your blog is just wonderful!

  • Angela - Love your blog!! Your kids are adorable. I also like the shorts your boys are wearing. Do you mind me asking where you got them? Looking for some cute boy shorts for my little one.

  • able mabel - If you’re ever looking to get rid of any of them, I’ll be the first in line to take them! They are soooo adorable!

  • auntie bliss - They are so cute!
    I also have three boys πŸ™‚
    and I’m the little sister to three!

  • Kenna S - That fire truck is awesome! Your boys are adorable!