Taking Baby Photos - for Professionals and Families
Babies make the best and the worst subjects to photograph. They are the best for two reasons,
people are more tolerant at looking at baby photos, as well as the fact that babies are not
aware their image is being captured, and therefore they do not tend to put on the "camera face"
so typically used by elder children and adults. They are the worst subjects because their
behavior is unpredictable. Because their behavior is uncensored, they show their emotions, and
can just as easily cry as gurgle happily into the camera.
One of the most challenging aspects of photographing a baby is to control the subject. On the
one hand you want them relatively still, but too much control and the photo loses its
impetuousness. Lighting and background are both important, you want the background as
uncluttered and simple as possible if the photograph is indoors, or as natural as possible
outside, a piece of grass is ideal. The lighting should be coming from at least two directional
sources, but if it is too strong it will throw shadows that complicate the picture, and often
lose the wonderful facial expressions it is possible to capture. However don't miss those
impromptu shots either especially with a digital camera, you can always edit the background later.
It is usually helpful to restrict babies' activities; they are not portrayed at their best nappy
high in the air crawling across the floor. A good way to restrict them is a highchair, or
holding them in the arms of another person. Baby photography is often better taken very close up,
and it is a wise move to look at the manual for your camera, and see how close you can get. It
is better to get everything set up first, and then place the baby in position when the lighting
and setting have been chosen. However that of course is not always possible.
Distractions in the form of noise, and toys can be a tool, but never forget that a baby's
emotion's are always lightning fast, and it all makes for great photographs, whether it is tears
of frustration, pouring a drink over your best camera, or laughing.
They are often easier to photograph when there is a minimum of people around because they are so
easily distracted. The old school of thought was keep the mother well out of the way, however I
personally can't see any mileage in that, as babies are calmer with someone they know, and in
most cases that is the mother. Above all remember that photographing babies is fun, the
unexpected if caught at just the right moment, makes great memories. Although I doubt if a father
who has just picked up their offspring for a photograph will forget the time that their child was
sick all over them. Control can only go so far with babies.
Babies are babies for short a period of time, you can never have too many photographs, and here
a digital camera can save enormous amounts on both film and development. It also allows for
wastage as you can view the results immediately and can the ones you don't want. You will have
huge embarrassment value in later life showing your daughter's first boyfriend her as a baby
with no nappy! Another enormous advantage to digital photography is that you don't have to shoot
the photograph with a little black box in front of your face. This will catch a baby's emotions
perfectly, but is not the best way to capture their best expressions. A small child will respond
better when they respond to your expressions. By being able to hold the camera away from your
face you have a chance to capture the best of their expressions as well; an LCD screen generally
reaps huge benefits.
Another misunderstood statement is that the best photographs are taken by professionals, whilst
there is no denying that professional take great formal photographs, and every baby should have
at least one set to keep as an adult. It is hard to beat the formal professional photo. Some
professionals offer annual sittings for family shots and supply regular updated montages specific
to that family. A service that is hard to beat. However this formal stylized pose isn't always
the answer, somehow, because children are not camera aware, they are not camera shy. Young babies
are sometimes better photographed in an environment that they are entirely comfortable with and
that place is often their own home or the garden. The great thing about photographing your own
child is that it does not need any special equipment, special effects, or even any really special
effort, and it certainly does not involve trailing somewhere in the middle of the night to capture
a beautiful dawn. A point and shoot will work wonders.