I am not sure you know that I love taking photos, of pretty much everything: my children and nature are my very favourite objects. Photography is something I'd like to pursue a little bit more. I always read blog posts and articles about taking better pictures and I take a lot of my own, trying out different settings, and situations. These tips, of course are very helpful.
But you know what is even more awesome? When one of your friends is a super-talented photographer. In this post, I'd like you to meet Emilie Yane Lopes, who is the genius behind Nomad Photos and a also a fabulous web designer. Here, she gives easy-to-follow tips on how to take great pictures of a baby... and isn't her baby girl cute?
5 Tips for Photographing Your Baby
From the moment our little ones are born, we want to document and remember their every development. Those precious first days, their sweet expressions when awake (and asleep), those first smiles… all of these are moments that you want to capture and share. But how often do you find that you get excited to take a photo, prepare your baby, set up your camera, and then baby is unhappy or tired. Or you manage to take lots of photos only to realize that they are a bit fuzzy or dark. Despite the fact that they don't even have to try to look stunningly beautiful, photographing baby can be more challenging than you would expect. With these 5 simple tips, you can improve the quality of your photos and hopefully be encouraged to use your camera often because, as we all know, those babies grow up too fast!
1. Find the Light
Whether you are using a professional or phone camera, lighting can make a world of difference. If You can find a great and free source of light in your own home-- windows. It doesn't need to be direct sun shining in, in fact, soft but bright light is best. I've taken countless photos of my daughter in my bedroom because my bed is next to a big window. Try to face your baby towards the light and see how it illuminates her face. A soft light smoothes out the skin, brightens the eyes and brings out the natural beauty.
Especially with newborns, there seems to be a time of the day when they are in the best mood. For us, it was in the mornings just after waking up. Knowing this, I would prepare everything, the clothes, the blanket, the camera, and after feeding my baby, we would try to do a few photos. Babies get tired after a short time, so don't overdo it. You can also get some wonderful shots of baby wrapped up and asleep. Sleeping babies are also a bit more cooperative! Set yourself up for success by choosing a time to take photos when baby is most agreeable.
In order to get a great shot, it takes practice and experimentation. Try different settings to see where you get the best lighting and background. Also try shooting from different angles-- straight on, from the side, from behind, from above, or from down low. Experiment by zooming in on details like just baby's face, hands or feet. Try both natural and "posed" photos.
4. Say Cheese!
I love capturing those natural moments when baby is staring lovingly at mama or papa, concentrating on a toy, or just pondering the meaning of life, but it's also nice to capture those big grins. Telling a baby to smile doesn't work very well with small babies. But smiling at mama or papa comes easily. If you want baby to smile looking at the camera, then someone needs to stand just behind the photographer. If it's just you taking the photo by yourself (which is often the case for me), I have found a trick that works. I first point the camera at the baby making sure the focus is on her, then while keeping my hands still on the camera, I look over that camera and smile at her while I press the shoot button. It's almost like playing peekaboo with the camera, and baby loves it! It takes a little practice to make sure the photo isn't totally sideways and cut off, but give it a shot, you might be surprised!
5. Try, Try and Try Again
Taking digital photos has afforded us the luxury of taking as many photos as we want and then picking and choosing our favorites. When it comes to photographing babies, this is definitely an advantage. One moment they are content and still, the next, smiling, yawning, or rolling over. You can take many photos in a row of your baby doing all of these things, so just go ahead! You will be surprised by which ones turn out to be favorites or when you get a facial expression that looks exactly like mama or papa. Really great photos happen at that one brilliant moment, but you have to be there ready with your camera to catch it! If baby is not in the mood for photos, don't be discouraged, just try again later. Make it fun and soon baby will be a natural in front of the camera.
My last advice is to be in some of the photos together with your baby. You want to take photos of your baby to look back on, but baby will also one day want to look back and see how happy and proud mama and papa were during this time.
Emilie Yane Lopes is a photographer at Nomad Photos and mother of 6-month old Juliette.