As you might have discovered, your baby is almost always doing something adorable. And understandably, you want to capture those moments. Not only is it amazing to have an album (or many!) that chronicle the cuteness and profound changes that happen in that first year, but regularly taking photos gives you material to send grandparents, and other loved ones, craving candid shots of your little one.
However, babies aren’t exactly the easiest subjects to capture. They refuse to smile on demand, love to move their head at the last second, and decide to get out of that adorable position right when you’ve finally gotten your camera ready. But not to worry. There are a variety of tips and tricks you can utilize to score amazing shots of your beautiful offspring.
- Take it from above after a diaper change. The magic of a changing table is that it confines your baby to a small area, making it near impossible for them to roll over or scoot away as you’re taking the photo. And because many of your baby grooming products are likely near the changing table, you can give their face a quick wipe, and hair a brush, before getting out the camera.
- Get on their level. Babies love when their grownups get on their level, which is why you can often capture joyful, candid moments when you take photos as you lie on the floor with them, or kneel down as they sit in their highchair.
- Snap multiple shots. It’s unlikely you’ll get the shot in the first try. So, spend a few minutes taking a variety of shots to help ensure you end up with a keeper. And to prevent your camera from getting clogged, delete the duds ASAP.
- Take screenshots from a video. If your baby is constantly on the move, you can get clever by taking a video, then taking screenshots of your favorite frames. You can also use the “burst mode” many cameras have, which causes the camera to take continuous shots while your hand is pressing the shutter button.
- Reverse the screen on your phone, and let them look at themselves. Not surprisingly, babies love to look at themselves, and often crack a smile when they spot their own cherubic face on a screen. Use this to your advantage by reversing the screen on your phone so you can take photos of your baby while they check themselves out. This is one of the best ways to get those close up big-smile shots.
- Get baby in natural light. Almost all photos are enhanced by natural light. So if you’re going to take photos while baby is crawling around the living room, for example, go ahead and open the blinds.
If you want more staged photos with a special outfit or a milestone card, select an area of your home that has plenty of natural light, and plan to snap the shots during the time of day when the room is filled with a pretty, indirect glow.
When shooting outside, the best light often occurs the hour after sunrise, and the two hours before sunset.
- Turn off the flash. A flash can easily ruin a photo, darkening the background and distorting colors. If you’re in a situation where there isn’t enough light, turn on some lamps, open the blinds, or move baby to an area that has better light.
Note: An external flash is the exception to this rule, as it’s often of a much better quality than a built-in flash.
- Always have that camera handy. Because a photogenic moment can pass in a flash, make sure to always have a camera handy. If you’re taking photos on your phone, it’s usually a sure bet that it will be on your person, or nearby. But if you have a DSLR you like to use, store it in a central, easy to access, location in your home for quick retrieval.
- Don’t forget props. If you’re taking a milestone photo, or another variety of photo that requires the baby look at the camera, pull out the props. Holding a noisy toy, one of baby’s favorite stuffed animals, or another item that is sure to grab their attention can encourage them to look at the camera. The trick is holding the prop close to the camera, but not so close that it gets in the shot.
- Focus on more than the face. While it’s hard to turn the camera away from those gorgeous eyes, nose, and mouth, it can be sweet to get some close-ups of those chubby hands gripping a favorite toy, or their tiny feet grabbing grass between the toes.
The great thing with these tips is that they’ll become second nature with time. As you tinker with the age old art of trial and error, and incorporate these practices into your baby’s mini-photoshoots, you’ll soon find that you’re taking magazine-worthy shots, or at least shots worthy of a spot on the mantelpiece. Just keep snapping, knowing that in a few years, when your baby has turned into a little lady or man, you’ll be grateful to have so many quality images of the baby days.