Tips for Photographing Babies and their Parents

If you are starting on a project which involves photographing babies, then you may need some help to get the best out of this skill. Babies are not always willing photographic subjects, and it can sometimes be hard to get a good photograph of them, but once you have learned a few skills which can help you cope, photographing babies is a great hobby (and a good way to start a professional career).

Keep the Baby Happy

This is perhaps the most basic advice, but the happiness of the baby not only affects her own appearance in a shot, but also the expression and body language of the parents too. A baby which has been crying, or that is unhappy, will show on the image. To prevent this, make sure that before the photograph is set up, the child has slept well, been fed and changed, and is generally well. You may also use equipment to keep the child happy, such as dancing a toy on top of the camera, or make noises to retain the baby's interest. Babies may also benefit from an early shoot, when they are most rested.

Use Natural Light

Use the natural light of a room to get the photograph. Flash can make the child look one-dimensional, and bring out big shadows which may prevent the parent-child intimacy which the photograph is attempting to create. It can also damage a young baby's eyesight, causing permanent injury or even blindness, so is best avoided. Use a wide aperture lens and use the higher ISOs instead.

Take Intimate Pictures

One of the best ways to take a really intimate picture is to concentrate upon the child, and have only the parents' arms and heads in the shot. You should place the child on a firm surface, such as a cushion or mattress, and then have the parents put their arms around the side of the child. The background should be a black or dark blue. Use lighting from above to get the right amount of shade and illumination, and then crouch down so that the camera is level with the child's face. You should be able to see the arms as though they were holding or supporting the baby.

Talk to the Parents

Communicating with the parents is another way to ensure that the photograph you take is the one that they want. Talk about different lighting, different clothes that the child might wear, and any particular set ups that they might want to use. Taking photographs of the child away from the studio can also give you a greater range of artistic photographs; for example, the parents might be happy to have the photograph taken on their own sofa or with a favorite pet.

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