It has to be said that Baby Portrait Photography is great fun and if you don’t want to hire a professional photographer then there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a go yourself! Digital cameras are not too expensive and most have the capability to capture a lovely picture.
Unlike Commercial Photography or Fashion Photography where everything has to be perfect, baby pictures taken by you can sometimes capture that one unique, really cute facial expression especially if you have access to some simple photo editing software on your computer (which often comes with a new camera when you purchase it) as you can tweak each picture to improve it and remove any slight marks.
Doing it yourself means you can try and try again especially as you will more than likely be in the right place at the right time. Have a look at the following tips as they will give you a great starting point:
Shoot more pictures than you need
Sometimes you need to shoot 20 to 30 pictures or more to get the image you really like. Getting the true essence of the baby is all important and digital photography makes it easier to discard the pictures you don’t want unlike the old days of film and prints
Have someone to help
If you are doing the pictures yourself a good idea is to have someone there to assist you and more importantly to entertain the baby so that you get that perfect picture. This will ensure you don’t miss that cute smile or adorable facial expression.
Why not use the opportunity to have those first family photos done whilst they are still babies or even just one with Mum and baby or just Dad and baby. Some of the best baby shots are the ones showing the intimacy of a baby with a parent.
Use burst mode
If you are the one taking the pictures then a good idea is to use the burst mode on the camera settings to try and capture that one image that happens in a split of a second
Light & Time of day
Early morning or evening Natural light is best as babies look especially good in soft natural light. If you have to use flash for baby portrait photographs then remember that babies are prone to red-eye but any decent photographer can offset the flash or use the built-in red-eye reduction setting on the camera to eliminate this
Avoid distracting backgrounds
Remove clutter and keep your backgrounds natural and soft in colour and texture. As with Portrait Photography, go for timeless simple clothes and backgrounds that won’t look dated in the future.
White sheets or a duvet are always a good idea to use as they bounce light back onto the subject and can reduce any shadows
Keep baby happy and entertained
A good idea is to take the pictures just after the baby has been fed and changed and preferably after a nap although should the little one drift off during the shoot, then they can create great opportunities for those adorable sleeping baby pictures and close ups of toes and fingers
A good thing about babies being so small is that it is very easy to create a small studio environment right in their own homes. This is great as they are familiar with the smells and sounds around and much more likely to be happy and content with the intrusion in their busy day.
Get down to their level
If your joints and muscles will allow it then try to take your pictures from the baby’s eye perspective as their world is much more interesting for producing great pictures than the adult’s eye view.
Useful things for the Shoot
Baby wipes, a fresh nappy, a bottle of baby milk, a rattle, a feather tickler, a balloon and anything like Dad or Mum’s shoes or all the pots and pans to capture that great emotion
Avoid anything that may frighten the baby and do not give food as encouragement where possible as you will more than likely end up with a lot of airbrushing to do on those final pictures you like – unless a dirty adorable face is just what you are trying to get.
Don’t try and force the shot and keep everything as natural as possible and the right shot will happen if you are patient. Baby Portrait Photography is about creativity, so don’t worry about getting everything right as some of the best pictures are the imperfect ones. Just make sure the camera is always ready and most of all make it fun and know when enough is enough.
Whether you’re a professional photography or an amateur like me one of the most difficult shots to take is a portrait. Shooting a portrait that captures the subject’s personality is really an art.
Some of the best ones I’ve ever seen are portraits that break the rule and step out of the box, not for the shock or “odd” value but for the change of perspective that can often really portray your subject in a different light that let’s their individuality show. Here are some portrait photography tips and tricks I’ve used in the past to take great portraits. I hope they’ll fire up your own imagination.
Alter Your Perspective
Most portraits are taken at eye level of the subject. Try for a different height and change things around. Shoot down on your subject from above or lay down on the floor and shoot up and see what happens.
The eyes really influence the feel of a portrait. A subject looking directly into the camera lens has a much different feel than one who is focused on something outside of the camera frame. Have your subject focus on something outside the frame to add interest. What are they looking at? What’s making them laugh? What are they so intently interested in? Is it a thing or a person? Another idea to try is having your subject focus on something in the frame with them. A book, a pet, a child. Something to interact with and create interest and a story.
Break the Rules
The rule of thirds in composition was established because it is pleasing to the eye. Use that rule more as a guideline or break it entirely by framing your subject to one side and you will have a totally different picture.
Change Things Up
We all have preconceptions of a photographic portrait. Posed in a static environment that we are familiar with. Change things up and get your subject moving or doing something a bit outside their normal comfort zone. Stand on one foot, jump up and down, stand on a chair, play with a hat. Sounds silly, but your subject will laugh and move in a different way and you may get some out of the ordinary shots.