By Ania Wilk-Lawton, photographyforparents.co.uk
Aaah, who doesn’t melt just a little at the sight to little baby hands, feet of eyelashes. Monsters, that’s who 🙂 But joking aside, you definitely should take the time to record all those little baby features, their gorgeous little dimply hands, soft bow lips, curled in toes. It’s a cliche but it really goes so fast – we blink and they change. Seemingly overnight your baby goes from that gorgeous, soft skinned bundle of adorableness to wanting to borrow your car for their first date. But a lot of people struggle to get those details captured well. Luckily, it doesn’t take too much to get it right. Follow our 5 simple rules and you will do so beautifully.
Rule 1. Ditch your phone.
I’m really sorry, I know you’ve captured so much of your baby’s live on it already but it’s just not up to the job for those type of shots. You know how your face can sometimes look a little distorted when you take a selfie from up close? The optics in your phone are just not set up for those close up type of shots and simply cause the image to look a little out of proportion. Dig out your ‘proper’ camera – you’ll be glad you did.
Photo by Laura Lane
Rule 2. Don’t get too close for that close-up shot.
Yes, you heard me right. I know it sounds counter intuitive but hear me out. To take a great looking close-up shot ( and that’s what you really want with those little hands and feet) – use your camera zoom instead. Without going into technical reasons for it, getting in closer when your camera is ‘zoomed out’ just distorts the proportions of the thing closest to the lens. (that’s linked to our Rule 1 – and no, using your phone camera zoom won’t work as it’s not the same thing as optical zoom on your camera.). Added benefit of the zoom is that it will allow you to create that blurry background and foreground which helps your details stand out.
Now, how much to zoom in will depend on your camera – you may have one that only has x3 zoom or a superzoom that can help you see the craters on the moon. If it’s the former – go all in. If the latter zoom in enough so that you can still take the shot from the same room ( the more you zoom in, the further back you often need to stand.)
Photo by Sue Peters
Rule 3. Plenty of natural light
Ditch that flash. It’ll do nothing for you. Getting your baby onto a bed or a mattress close to a nice big window is best. Equally important – placing your child on that bed in a way that your baby’s hands and feet are actually facing the window and positioning yourself with said window behind you. That way, the subjects of your photos will benefit from being beautifully illuminated, rather than hiding in the shadows and that you’re shooting ‘with’ light and not against it.
Ideally, you want to avoid direct sunlight pouring in straight onto your baby – if you’re shooting at the time of the day when the sun is beaming straight into your house, place a semi transparent sheet / net curtain over the window to soften the light. Remember – harsh, direct light = deep shadows and you don’t want those in your delicate baby photos.
While we’re at it, make sure your bed coverings are light in colour ( white cream or pastel hues are best) – otherwise they tend to create a colour cast on your baby’s skin. Best to avoid patterns too.
Photo by Kirsten Aldridge
Rule 4. Flat shooting angles
What we mean by that is that if you image that your camera has a beam of light coming out of its lens, you want that beam to be nearly parallel to the surface your baby’s on. What this allows you to do is to build in a little depth into your images and – especially coupled with a nice zoom – create that soft blur in the background.
Either that, or shooting directly above your baby – you won’t get the background blur, but it can be an equally flattering angle.
Photo by Laura Lane
Rule 5. Make sure your baby is asleep first
I should have led with this one, shouldn’t I? If you tried taking those type of photos with an awake baby, you KNOW only tears and frustration that way lies. To take good close-up shots, you really need your subject to be still as otherwise all movement is exaggerated and your camera just won’t cope with that. You’ll end up with a blurry, badly composed mess. So ensure that your baby is already dressed how you want them to be in your photos ( warm the room up so that you don’t need layers upon layers on them) and if you want those baby feet shots, leave the socks out as they can make visible indents on their skin. Once your baby is soundly asleep, you should be able to move them a little bit to suit your photo composition.
Photo by Laura Lane
And that’s it. 5 simple rules to capture your baby’s gorgeous details – follow our advice and your photos will look great.
Photo by Claudia Rambach
And in case you’re doubting whether your photos can turn out like those you see in this article – they were taken by Mums and Dads like you – students on our Photography for Parents courses. I’m bursting with pride showing them off here – aren’t they great?
If you would like more suggestions on how to photograph your baby, we created a FREE, non technical guide to capturing 10 modern photos of your baby – sleep deprived parent tested! Grab your copy HERE.
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Ania Wilk-Lawton is founder of Photography for Parents – online and in-person Photo School teaching parents how to photograph their children beautifully. A photographer, educator and Mum of one little one and one not so little one, she understands the challenges of photographing children but also the value of those everyday photos. At Photography for Parents, professional children’s photographers share their knowledge and experience to show parents how to make the most of the cameras they have and capture all the big, little, funny, touching, bonkers moments on their family lives.
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