Taking photos of newborns and babies is one of the most rewarding aspects of scrapbooking. They are simply my favorite subjects to photograph. There is really nothing so delicate as baby skin, and as adorable as a yawn from a tiny mouth. Being able to capture these precious moments on film will be a treasure to be cherished for many years.
Here are 10 tips for taking great baby photos.
Take Your Time
Take your time when photographing newborns and babies. Infants can be sleepy and fussy at any time of the day. There is no hurrying them. If you want photos when the baby is both asleep and awake, you have to allot a good chunk of time to your photo session. An alternative is to take photos at different times or days. This is also great for having variety in your photos.
Turn off your flash. Photograph your subjects in natural light, and you will capture their angelic features. Let the light come in through a large window. Position your subject close to the window, at a 45-degree angle to the light. Avoid direct sunlight which can create harsh shadows. The best time would be late morning or early afternoon.
Use Your Viewfinder
Compose your photograph through the camera’s viewfinder, instead of relying on the LCD screen. Check that there is enough light. There should be no harsh shadows or dark areas, especially on the newborn’s face. Adjust your subject’s position if necessary.
Get Down to the Baby’s Level
Take photos from the same level as the baby. Kneel, squat, even lie down on the floor if you have to. Taking photos at the baby’s level adds a sense of intimacy better than taking photos from high above your subject.
Get closer to your subject. Baby body parts are adorable. You’ll want to document those tiny toes and fingers, because they won’t stay tiny for long! Use your camera’s zoom or get as physically close as you can for an intimate look. Photograph the newborn’s hands and feet with a parent’s, to emphasize the contrast in both texture and size.
Vary Your Shots
Add variety to your baby photos by using different backgrounds and by varying your subject’s position. Examples are photos in a crib, in the mom’s arms (or dad’s, grandparent’s or sibling’s), with a baby blanket, wrapped in a towel, and so on.
Vary Your Camera Angle
Vary the position of your camera. Experiment with vertical, horizontal, and even angled photographs. Take off-center photos to add visual interest, and follow the rule of thirds to compose your shots.
Take Lots of Photos
With digital cameras, you’ll never have to worry about running out of film. Just make sure you have an extra memory card (or empty that card before you start your photo session). Take lots and lots of photos. Don’t try to take a few perfect photos. It’s easy to delete photos later. Sometimes, the best photos come out when you least expect them.
Try Black and White
Experiment with black and white photos. With today’s technology in digital cameras, it’s easier than ever to change or completely remove color in photographs. Try black and white, which is more forgiving than color for smoothing out the blotchiness of newborn skin. If you are adept at image manipulation, you can also try adding a sepia tone to the photograph.
After the photo session, look over your shots to see which ones worked best for you and your subject. How was your lighting and composition? Does your background work? Were you able to capture interesting photos? Choose your best shots and identify the techniques you used for those particular photographs.
Baby photos are some of the most endearing and special photographs we’ll ever take. They go a long way toward making memorable scrapbooks that we’ll cherish over the years. So it’s a good idea to take the time to learn how to photograph these little ones. With these tips and some practice, you’ll soon be a pro at taking baby photos!