How to Take Great Baby Photos

April 27, 2010 at 11:24 am (Baby Photography, Mahalo Writing, Photography) ()

I wrote quite an in-depth photography article for Mahalo not too long ago about how to take baby photos.    I thought I would touch on some of the important points in the article, and if you are interested in more in depth information you can check the article out for yourself.   

 Since writing this blog I have had all of my content removed from Mahalo, per my attorney, and will make my articles available here as time permits.  In the meantime, check out this blog post for some good, quick information.

Taking great photos of children, particularly babies can be challenging.  Generally there is only a short window of time during the day when baby is clean, fed, happy and alert, but we parents know this is normal.  It takes a great deal of energy to fuel the rapid growth of the first several years of life.  Thus, eat, sleep, fuss, poop, eat, fuss, sleep, poop.  And the pattern continues for a while.  Anyway, I digress…

One of the best pieces of advice for photographing babies is to allow the baby to dictate the schedule.  If you don’t, you will just have to take what you get, as far as expressions go.  If you are shooting in a more formal setting, have everything set up and ready to go the moment the precious bundle of joy is ready. 

Shoot low and fast.  What I mean by that is lower the camera to baby’s eye level, or only slightly above.

Shoot lots of frames (especially if you are shooting digital) and move quickly.  A good mood may not last more than 15 minutes for some babies, as the activity may tire the little pooper out, or they simply lose interest.

Keep props simple.  I shot the image below for stock purposes, so I needed the prop, but the parents loved the shot because it was simple and didn’t detract from the focal point, which was the child.

Rub a dub dub!

Make the photography session a game.  You can see by Cameron’s expression above (the cute little boy in the white tub) that he was having a great time.  To achieve this shot I had everything set up before the clients arrived.  Background, lights, camera, even the height of the tripod was set based upon my estimation of his height sitting in the tub.  The studio was nice and warm.  I scheduled the sitting based upon the baby’s schedule, not what worked best for me.  I quickly made friends with him, asked his parents to sit over to the side of the set within easy reach of him and started playing with him.  When I figured out what he responded to, I used it.  If I remember correctly, it was an engaging game of “boo”, peeking out from behind the camera, drawing his eyeline back to the lens as I ducked back behind it, and split second reactions to capture expression.  By the end of the shoot we were both ready for a nap!

You don’t have to capture great big smiles to achieve great baby photos.  The child doesn’t even have to be looking into the lens.  Take what they offer.  As you see in the photo below, Cameron isn’t gracing us with a big gummy grin, but the photo still works because it reflects his personality.  His parents loved this shot.What a Cutie! 

Focus on the eyes.  Can’t stress that enough.  Focus on the eyes.  If you are having trouble keeping focus on the eyes because the baby moves in and out of the depth of field range, choose a smaller aperture selection to increase your depth of field. 

I will end where I began… allow the baby to dictate the schedule.  If for some reason that is impossible, take what the baby gives you.  The cute little angel sleeping below was a result of a very young family insisting upon an outdoor shoot during the baby’s nap time.  Cute shot anyway!

Sweet Sleeping Baby


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