7.12.14

how to | take photos of your baby

i don't take a photo of my baby if i don't think i can make it a good photo. that sounds terrible doesn't it? but here's the thing, my baby could be doing the cutest thing in the world - but if i take a photo at nine pm, in lamplight, from the wrong angle, with a pile of dirty laundry behind him, the picture won't have captured the moment the way i did in my mind. and that is what i'm trying to do when hit the shutter; i'm not just trying to freeze time, i'm trying to preserve the feeling i have in my heart. and if i waste my time taking a terrible photo, i not only miss being fully present in the moment (something we all give up a little of when we pull out the camera), but i have nothing to show for it.

so when i do take a photo - i make it count! below are my ingredients for what makes a good photo of your baby:

key ingredients

one | light
daylight is the best time to take a photo. natural light is key. i will emphasize this because it's the number one piece of advice when taking a photo of someone. capture your subject in natural light, during daytime, near a window. the light should be in front of your subject not behind (in the photo below, the window is to the right of my son. if it had been to the left or behind him, his face would end up in shadows). overcast days are best for photographs.



two | background
I'm always always always thinking about the background elements of my photo (and how i don't want them to be there). use a light blanket instead of a dark one when taking newborn photos, clear away background clutter that distracts from your subject, and look for light backgrounds that make your baby "pop" (doors, white walls etc).

in the photos below, i wanted to capture how cute and tiny my son looked against the big rocking chair. but all of the toys he was playing with were pulling the focus from him. in the following two images you'll see that i cleared the clutter, and changed the photo direction. (i put a book on the chair to encourage him to do the same thing over again).




*it is always a risk when you choose to change the elements of a photo because chances are high the scenario will change at the drop of a hat and the baby will wriggle away.


three | focus
i think that in our desperation to capture our baby, we take photos too quickly. which is a real shame because the beauty of a child can be so easily captured by focusing on their face, and the expression in their eyes.
so feel free to snap a quick pic but then pause for a moment - focus the lens (or press your finger on your smartphone screen over the area you want to focus on), and then take the photo. there's a certain magic in taking a perfectly focused photo of a baby because we rarely see them in a state of stillness!


four | perspective
think about how you could take the photo that might be different, or unexpected. we usually take a photo in two ways: the first, straight on facing our subject. and the second is from wherever we are standing. try taking the picture from above, from below, from behind etc. try to get right down on the floor with your child.

the photo below i took sitting on the floor. i called to my son and i ended up with this nice picture of him looking down at me.



five | patience
taking photographs of a baby takes a lot of patience. luckily for me it's my last name! you may have a certain scene or set-up in mind but your baby has other ideas. he or she will wriggle, cry, and probably find more interest elsewhere. so wait patiently until you see something you think will make a nice photo. this might include a funny face, a stream of light shining on your baby, or the little crawling into unexpected places.

for the photos below i was really stressed out. it was the day before Halloween and i was going away the next morning so i knew i wouldn't be there on the actual holiday. it was four pm and the light was fading fast. my son was not in the mood for a costume and photoshoot but with a little patience, and a lot of photos, i was able to get some really beautiful shots of jack in his "lumberjack" outfit.




bonus tip:
take a lot of photos!
50 % of your photos will be blurry, 20% will include funny faces (not the kind that is "so cute" though), 20% will be boring....and a glorious 10% will be magic.



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