Baby photography tips14 October, 2016
When you give birth, especially if you are a first time mother, you can find yourself obsessed with taking pictures of your little one.
I am the mother of 5 kids and I like to take pictures of them everyday. I always discover new things about photography.
In this article I have outlined a few essential tips to take beautiful pictures of your baby.
Do I need a camera?
No. You can actually take great pictures with your phone. The good thing about taking pictures with your phone is that you always have it with you, so you can capture memories at anytime.
One picture was taken with my phone and the other one with a Reflex camera. Can you tell which is which?
What makes a great picture?
Taking pictures is an art in itself but to start this simple tip will help: ensure that the focus of the picture is not in the centre but slightly shifted to one side. If you put your baby’s face at a point other than the centre, the whole picture will acquire another dimension to the viewer.
Give more movement and depth to your picture by playing with perspectives and lines. This can be created with furniture (bassinet, changing mat), linen, the walls of the bedroom, the floor or the baby’s curves.
Look around you and take several shots of the same scene by changing the position of the camera: whatever you do, remember that there isn’t a right or wrong option. They are just options, and exploring them will help you find the composition that best suits what you want to convey.
A clever combination of colours is also a key part of a good picture. Take advantage that babies don’t move too much and play the “stylist” trying different outfits or adding a cover for your maxi-cosi or a swaddle.
If you want to create a vintage picture that has a timeless feel, why not add a black & white filter?
Unleash your creativity!
A picture with the right light
By changing the orientation and quality of light we can achieve totally different effects. Newborn babies will have to be placed in a horizontal position either sideways or facing up/down. Finding a good lighting will allow you to create contrast between light and dark areas.
Avoid frontal lights that don’t generate shadows and lights that go from the chin to the forehead (which reminds us of the effect of a flashlight when we explain horror stories…). Whenever you can avoid direct sunlight and very direct lamps.
The ideal light would be a side lighting and indirect light. Drapes are your friends!
Just stand next to a window and make sure the light will come on one of your baby’s cheeks or from the forehead to the chin if your baby is lying down.
Can you guess the direction of the light in these 2 pictures?
When is the best time to take pictures of your baby?
It is never a bad time to take a picture of your baby, but the best time will depend on how old your baby is. During their first weeks of life, babies have little control over their muscles and often make involuntary expressions when they are awake and they are not exactly flattering. I would recommend taking pictures while they sleep. In that way, you can capture their sweet and delicate expressions. As they grow and learn to smile, new photographic possibilities emerge.
Keep in mind several key stages of development: the first two or three days babies typically have many red marks on their skin, but they disappear quickly. After ten days of life (sometimes sooner, sometimes later) their skin sheds completely. After a few weeks, the first signs of neonatal acne can appear and their face might look full of red or white spots on the cheeks, forehead, neck, etc.
You can photograph your baby dressed, naked, awake or asleep in your arms, in his brother’s, his father’s or in his crib. Have fun taking pictures in different moments: while changing their diaper, while bathing, while eating … The only photo that you’ll regret is the one you didn’t take.
Go a step further
When you think about taking pictures of your baby, you are probably thinking about portraying their face. But there are many more things that can be interesting to capture that, over time you will appreciate. If your camera allows you, take pictures of small details. Get closer to your baby and photograph their hands, their feet or even their belly button. Find new angles, new perspectives, and have fun shooting. Include their brothers and sisters in the scene.
And a final recommendation is that you try to appear in the pictures as well. Having a picture breastfeeding or rocking your baby is priceless. And if you can’t do it on your own, don’t hesitate to hire a photographer!
By Victòria Peñafiel · Newborn baby photographer