Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tips for shooting your baby at home

Shooting with a  camera that is….

Babies are the most daunting subject for me to photograph- my least favorite type of shoot. Why? You never know what type of mood they will be in. You never know your lighting situation when you travel to someone's home. You can’t tell them, “take a few steps to the left and smile a little more”.  There's also something hopelessly awkward about arranging an infant like a prop in front of their mothers.

I was hopelessly clueless as to what to do for this sort of thing, but I learned a few things a long the way thanks to some wonderful moms letting me practice (and I’m definitely still learning!). Here’s what I’ve got so far through trial and error.


1. allow for time

It takes way more time than any other type of shoot. It should be scheduled by the mom based on her estimated “happy” time. For instance if the baby sleeps like a rock after being fed- great time to work without walking on pins and needles.

2. keep em warm

The first time I tried to photograph my niece, she fussed every time she was moved. It never occurred to me that I should keep her warm. (this might be an instinct for you moms, but I was clueless). A warm water bottle underneath something soft will keep him/her sleeping soundly. A space heater would be more appropriate for a flat surface photo.

3. utilize the window

That three point lighting trick that I mentioned Here, works well for the kiddo’s too.

4. it’s all about family

Try to shoot where everyone’s comfortable. The bed can by a cozy place to curl up will all of the family and it invites the viewer into a casual place. Settings inside the home, such as a crib or a special blanket make it more unique and tell you about home life.


5.  alert vs. sleepy

Most newborn pictures are taken while sleeping but if you want a shot of those baby blues, how do you wake up your baby without causing a cry session? I thought this was SUPER WEIRD but a nurse told me to use a finger to tickle the roof of their mouths. Strangely enough it works: alert eyes, no crying. I think it sends a “oh I get to eat!” idea to their brains

6. the Curl factor

Newborns tend to retain that scrunched up fetal position for about two weeks ( you know, like Anne Geddes). After that they will be stretching and sleeping differently so it’s good to take photos ASAP

7. Texture

Knits and soft stuff. Think about how your props and texture add to the feel of the photo.  A bumpy knit contrasts that brand new soft baby skin.

8. The magic black cloth

Black and white photos are perfect for infants because they give the opportunity to show off Lines. Use a matte black cloth (velvet works well but cotton will work too). Have the parent hold the infant in their arms with the cloth draped over them.  


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