We love our babies… Well, most of the time! Several years ago, the upcoming birth of my first child was what initially got me started on photography. I wanted to be able to take photos that would capture important moments and deliver memories for years to come. So, with babies and photography in mind, here are some tips for parents to keep the memories in print.
- Between week 1 week and 2 weeks old is the perfect time for newborn photos. The baby will sleep almost the whole day (between feeds), and will be more amenable to posing. Your schedule isn’t important to Baby, so assume it will take longer than you initially think it will.
- Photograph your child often, and capture their growth. Babies grow in front of your eyes. Don’t miss out on what are, quite literally, once-in-a-lifetime photos. Also, the more frequently they see the camera as they grow up, the more comfortable the child will tend to be with it.
- Time of day matters, too. You will want to use available light. Younger children, and babies especially, aren’t going to like bright flashes of light in their faces. Same goes for direct sunlight, which can harm their sensitive skin. Instead, try to use a nice big window for lighting, at a time of day when there isn’t direct sunlight blasting through it; the soft light will provide nice, even lighting, but still allow for the depth that comes from shadow.
Add a prop or two. Props will add emotion, and help tell the story of this little one and their family. New mom and dad may have some treasured mementos to include already, but you can get some great props from the local Michael’s, Dollar Store or even Amazon, without breaking the bank.
- Some pillows, blankets and cute hats are some simple props that will add to the already soft mood of the baby photos.
- Buckets, bowls and other things the baby can fit into are always great. Be prepared to spend some time on this. Baby’s can’t pose themselves, and you will need to make sure they are fully supported. Often, there’s a hand hiding out of sight of the camera holding Baby gently in place.
- Personalize it. Do the parents travel a lot? Us a suitcase as a prop. Dad a hockey fan? Put the child with some gloves and a jersey. Using chalkboards allows you to put in writing important dates or occasions. Baby’s first Christmas is such an easy one. Finding a way to connect the parents interests to the child will make for memorable photos that will always be cherished.
Pay attention to the details
- Get the details. Little feet and little hands will grow fast, and once a baby starts moving, forget about getting them to hold still! Taker some time to document the little things, before they’re not so little anymore.
- De-clutter the image. The child is the important part of the photo; clean up the stack of books, clothing and all those wildly colourful toys in the background. Also try to look for angles that don’t get the dining room table in the background. If you have a faster lens, like a 50mm f/1.8, that will help too. But, you don’t need a bag of fancy backdrops. A couple of simple, neutral coloured clothes is a great start.
- Get low. That baby isn’t going to just stand up and climb a ladder to get toy your height, so you’ll need to get down to their eye level. Seeing the world from the floor is very different!
- While you’re looking for different angles, think about more than just the head-on shot of the child’s face. As children start being more active, get photos of the child crawling, or playing with toys. Interact with them. Draw out their forming personalities to get more expressive and emotive images.