Photograph Your Baby - Pretty Real

Photograph Your Baby

9:01 AM

In follow up to Friday's post, I wanted to post a few tips on taking pictures of your little one.  First the disclaimer: I am not a professional by any means!  But I do photograph my kids...a lot.  And I've been told the photos look professional (I believe the name Anne Geddes was mentioned- though I laughed at the comparison).  I've learned some tips and tricks I wanted to share.  Because I'm not a professional, these tips are not mechanical (i.e. what shutter speed to use, how to use aperture, etc) but more circumstantial... Ok here goes.

1. Happy baby makes pretty pictures.
This might seem obvious but I test this one all the time.  I think "Now's a good time...for me" but is it a good time for baby?  I find that the morning works best for my kiddos; they are not overstimulated and well rested.  I also find after nursing (but not immediately after to avoid blow outs and huge spit ups--we are talking about babies after all) works well.

2. Choose a place with lots of natural light. 
Nadia's room has two windows which is great.  I take a few test pictures first to see how bright the room looks.  I also find that if there is a ton of natural light I may be able to get away without using a flash (helps with red eye or frightened expressions!).  Again, these aren't technical tips but you can find a lot of tips/tricks online (pinterest is a GREAT source) for adjusting your camera's settings.

3. If you like natural, keep it natural.
In other words, props aren't really necessary for babies.  Their cute baby faces and baby chub is enough.  Try nude if they are really young (in my humble opinion nude photos are best at 6 months or younger).  Either way try to have them in as few clothes as possible.  Elaborate outfits detract from the baby- if you don't like the idea of nude (or the potential mess), then choose a simple onesie or diaper cover...see next tip.

4. If you like props, keep it simple.
I'm a prop girl!  They are basically like accessories.  But avoid tons of stuffed animals, frilly outfits, big bows, etc.  I hate it when the tutu is bigger than the baby.  Just sayin. (and this coming from the girl who put the HUGE flower hat on her baby- but I did realize the error of my ways pretty quickly!). I like a hat, diaper cover & booties, a cute blanket/scarf, a basket, or a pretty tutu.  Clarification: NOT all together!  Choose one or two and go for it.

5. Take close ups
How does the song go- "You have the cutest little baby face?"  Close up pictures are the easiest to fake (i.e. make look more "professional" than they really are).  Don't get a lot of crap items in the background that scream 'random snapshot.'  Try to clear out the background and keep it simple.

6. Work with your baby's phase. 
Nadia is just able to hold her head up and I couldn't wait to get pictures in front of her, at that angle.  I probably could have waited another couple of weeks in order for her head to be up straighter and longer.  This goes for sitting shots as well--or any skill that they develop at a certain age.

7. If possible, use an assistant
No, I'm not talking about hiring someone! My mom used to help me out- she'd run and grab stuff or adjust the baby and jump out of the way quickly, etc.  Obviously it's not always possible to have a helper but if you can, it's awesome-- even an older sibling could help.  And I have to say, the older the kid gets, the more necessary a "helper" is.  I think I've given up on photographing Genevieve after my last attempt at 2 years old! 

8. Keep the room very warm.
Usually you're not taking pictures of them with lots of clothes on (at least if you are following tip number 3 and 4) so make sure it's warm.  I usually use a space heater or turn the heat way up for the 20 or 30 minutes I'm taking pictures. I wear a tank top and I'm still breaking out in a sweat ahem,  perspiring after!

9. Do as much prep as possible before pictures. 
If you need to clear a space, or have props on hand, or have the heater nearby, etc--do it before you grab the baby.  That way once you start taking photos, you're ready to go.  Because if your baby's anything like mine, you have 20 minutes (maybe 30 if you're lucky) from beginning to end.

10.  JUST DO IT! 
This is the hardest part- I get it!  But it's also the most important.  It's hard to stop the busy-ness of life to take pictures.  But you'll regret it if you don't.  I literally made myself take pictures of Nadia Friday- when you have kids, there is always a nose to wipe, a diaper to change, a shower to take (mine!), a house to clean- you get my drift.  But I literally took a deep breath, held those things at bay and grabbed my camera...

Last but not least, if you're not interested in all of the above, hire her ;)

Happy photographing!

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