The fact that babies are the cutest and most precious things in the universe can generally be agreed to by everyone on the planet. I have yet to meet a new parent or grandparent who does not want to immediately begin taking pictures of their bundle of joy. Why then, is there usually such a HUGE discrepancy between a really cute baby and a truly mediocre picture of the really cute baby?
Some parents go their entire life without ever capturing stunning baby pictures. And by “stunning,” I don’t mean one taken at a professional photography studio. A stunning baby picture is one that captures the true essence of the baby. For a parent or grandparent to never capture that Over the Mantel photograph, is truly a shame because it really IS NOT that difficult, once you know how!
Like everything else in life, knowing a few key ideas and seeing some examples, makes a world of difference. Let’s begin with some tips for taking stunning pictures of a newborn infant – through 3 months of age.
Baby Poses: 0 – 3 Months
Think of this period in your baby’s photographic life as the molding stage. Like Gumby, you can pretty much place the baby in any position you want. No guarantees how long they will stay there, but if you have all the camera details worked out beforehand, you can position & shoot pretty quickly. (If someone else is posing the baby while you are already in the perfect camera position, so much the better.)
This is the time to capture those adorable little Baby Bits. They will never look cuter than at this age! To view the images described in this article, click here. These images demonstrate some key points:
- At this age especially, baby feet (or hands, eyes, noses, etc.) alone can make a wonderful photograph. Use your camera’s macro setting and/or crop carefully.
- Just because you start with a color image, does not mean you have to end up with one. Black & White images can create quite an impact. Check your camera and photo-imaging software for ways to make the transition from color to black & white fairly easy.
- When you add a parent’s hand(s) or face to the picture, an entirely different effect is created.
Play with Perspective
As far as infants, forget what you’ve always done and try something different. For example, get at eye-level with a sleeping baby, but position yourself at their feet. Then focus on the feet while the head is still in the frame, but looking small and further away. As stated above, the images will make this clearer.
Believe it or not, you could easily take 100 photographs of a sleeping baby, and never take 2 that are identical. An outstanding photographic exercise would be to snap off 50 images, each one from a different angle and perspective; using different focus points and aperture settings. Don’t worry; you won’t run out of ideas! The huge advantage of digital photography is the ability to take tons of photos and delete the ones you don’t like. This allows great creative liberties.
Once you begin to think about photographing babies in a unique way, all sorts of new posing ideas will emerge. I’ll guess that most people never use the macro setting on their camera. And, if they do, it’s only for small objects, insects, or flowers. However, for something different, use the macro setting and focus on a small distinctive area of your baby, such as the face.
With the use of a tripod, focus solely on the eye, thus pushing the nose and everything else out of focus. Experiment with how tight a crop is necessary to produce the desired effect. This can produce an almost mesmerizing effect. Although more challenging with babies, it is possible (and very dramatic) to catch the reflection of an object in the baby’s eye. For that type of image, an extreme crop would be optimal.
This article is a partial excerpt from Oh Baby! Turning Memories into Masterpieces.”