Tuesday Top Ten: 10 Tips for Photographing Babies

There’s nothing like having a baby to bring out the photographer in all of us. Every movement, every expression, every cute little finger and toe just needs to be captured on film, right? Or these days, on our digital cameras to be uploaded to the computer to be shared with the world! I know how it is. Taking photos of my kids, especially when they were tiny, was something I loved to do. Luckily I am a good editor or we would have millions of images.

Top Ten Tips for Better Photos of Your Baby:

  1. There are a lot of variables to look at and things you can change, but the most important tip I can give is to just shoot. Shoot picture after picture, especially if you have a digital camera, and you will end up some good ones, also some terrible, but it’s worth it to get to the really great ones. If you’re really interested pay attention to what you did when you created a great photo so you can do it again! Take your camera everywhere and just take pictures.
  2. I know how frustrating it is when you see your baby do something simply amazing and the picture comes out all wrong. Sometimes you are not going to get a great photo, but capturing the moment is still important. Don’t hold back on capturing your baby’s first bath because the lighting is all wrong or you have the wrong lens. You also might be surprised what you can get in less than perfect situations. Plus, you don’t need every photo to look perfect and posed.
  3. Use natural light whenever possible. Very rarely is using your built-in flash a good idea, unless you are able to “bounce” the light off of the wall or ceiling. Soft light coming in through a window is my absolute favorite. Morning and afternoon light is also lovely for outdoor shots.
  4. Move in close to your baby. Move in even closer than you might first think. Emphasize what is really important and cut out the rest. This will make your photos much more impactful than seeing a basket of laundry, toys, and whatnot lying around your adorable angel.
  5. Get really, really close. I don’t think there is anything much sweeter than an artful photo of a newborn’s tiny feet or hands. Using a macro lens or even a macro setting can make for some great shots.
  6. Experiment with angles and perspective. Try starting at baby’s eye level. Then try other positions like getting down on the floor or getting up high by standing on a (sturdy) chair. You might be surprised at what you get.
  7. Try to keep backgrounds simple. Whether you’re indoors or outside, be conscious of what is going on behind and around your baby. You want the focus of the photo to be on your baby, not her surroundings.
  8. Have fun with scale. Particularly for babies, and as they grow, it is fun to take photos with something that really demonstrates their small size. I love taking photos of my baby girl every three months in the same rocking chair. I love seeing how she is grown in just a year by comparing the photos. Or take shots of your baby’s tiny hand wrapped around her daddy’s finger.
  9. Experiment with color. With the digital age, it is easier than ever to make changes to your photos after the fact. Change it to black and white, boost or fade the color, erase small imperfections. All of these manipulations can be done by whatever program you use to upload your photos to your computer and are typically simple to do. If you are so inclined, there are more expensive and expansive programs to learn to use!
  10. Include other people. While your baby may be the cutest subject ever, it is so wonderful later on to see the photo with him and great-grandpa or auntie. And don’t forget to make sure someone is taking pictures of you too! Don’t just hide behind the camera. As your baby gets older she will love to see photos of the two of you together, and yes she will probably mock your hairstyle or clothing as a teenager, but isn’t that a rite of passage?

Tomorrow, for Wordless Wednesday, I will post some of my favorite photos that I have taken of my oldest baby, the second baby, and the baby. If anyone wants to include one of their own, e-mail me the photo and what credit you would like shown. Happy shooting!

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