Have you ever wondered, how exactly professional photographers manage to take all these amazing baby pictures while your own attempts are not quite what you had in mind ? Well, here is some good news for you – you don’t need to be a professional photographer and use an expensive camera in order to take exactly the kind of lovely baby pictures that will stay with you for a lifetime. All you need to do is stick to the ten basic rules below and don’t forget to look at the photo examples I included !
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare !
Before you even dare to think about photographing your baby, you need to prepare yourself and your little bundle of joy for the upcoming photo session. No, I am not talking about make up here… What I mean is, you need to choose the right timing – when your baby is wearing a fresh diaper, has a full tummy, has had it’s nap and chances are, it will be in a good mood and enjoy interacting with you (and the camera).
2. Know your camera !
After welcoming a new addition to their family, many new parents immediately go and buy a new camera, wanting to be able to snap pictures of every new milestone for the family album. While a new camera is a great thing – don’t just snap away and be disappointed that your baby pictures are not quite what the sales pitch promised – instead, take some time to get to know your camera and yes, RTFM (you know.. read that manual…) ! Only if you know your equipment, will you later be able to take a great picture at a moment’s notice…
3. Work with what you have !
You don’t need fancy backgrounds or a photo studio for your pictures – the best pictures of children are taken outside our in their natural environment, namely your home. You can place them in your bed (use white sheets for naturally reflecting the light in the room), use their crib or their quilt as a background for your photos, you can take pictures of them crawling on your beautiful hardwood floor, place them in front of a painted or white wall, put them on a picknick blanket on the grass… the possibilities are endless. Just take some time to walk through your home with a photographers eye and determine the best places for your photo session.
4. It’s all about light !
There really is no need for expensive studio lights when the perfect lightning is free of charge and available to everyone – sunlight ! Sunlight is really all you need to take a brightly lit baby picture – just place your baby near a window, when the sun is shining, experiment with the sun shining through the blinds or curtains and keep in mind that the best time of the day to take pictures using sunlight is the late afternoon, when the light is warm and the shadows are soft. Just look around your home and pick the room with the most daylight but make sure you know how to adjust your camera accordingly !
5. Always see eye to eye !
When you want to take a great photograph of your little one – the main thing to keep in mind is… they are little ! This means, unless you are going for a fancy shoot from different angles (I will cover this at a later time), ALWAYS get down to their eye level ! Make sure you see them and their world from their point of view , even if it means that you have to lie on the floor…
6. Don’t be afraid to get close !
For great portrait photos, don’t ever be afraid to get too close to them – instead try to get as close as possible, without crowding their personal space. Your little model does not have to be in the picture head to toe – instead try to go in for a close-up and place them slightly off-center for a more dynamic photo.
7. Focus on the eyes !
I cannot stress this enough but ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure that your focus is on their eyes – unless of course, you want to focus on some other detail like a little hand or foot. However, if you want to take a good portrait photo, make sure their eyes are your sharpest point !
8. Engage your model !
We all know how easily bored children are and how easily distracted – if you want to capture some of your child’s personality, make sure to engage them ! Do silly things behind the camera, play peek-a-boo, stick out your tongue, make funny noises, show them a toy you are holding or have someone stand behind you and do all of these things for you. Whatever you do, don’t just stand there silently with your camera in your hand and expect your little one to behave like a professional model because very few of us are born models…
9. Don’t stress yourself out !
Don’t worry about getting that perfect shot – just snap as many baby pictures as you can or they will let you and there will always be some among them that you will end up loving ! Even professional photographers sometimes take thousands of pictures during just one photo session, just in order to select one or two great ones.
10. Think outside the box !
A cute picture doesn’t always have to have a smiling baby in it so don’t despair, if your little one can’t smile yet or just flat out refuses to smile for the camera. A photo of a pensive, grumpy, sleeping or even crying baby can be just as adorable to look at and maybe that one picture of your chubby baby throwing a tantrum will end up to be your family’s most treasured one…