Baby pictures are treasures, but taking pictures of a baby can be daunting: They don't take directions, cannot be bribed, and are supremely unpredictable. But follow these steps, tips, and warnings, and you'll be ready to make a beautiful baby photograph!
Have your camera ready and know how to use it, and it is ready to be used--batteries fully charged, with lots of film, and so on.
Choose a time your baby is more likely to be in a good mood, such as after a feeding or a nap.
Find an area that is comfortable in temperature, neither too warm or cold.
Set up good lighting; good light makes good photographs. Make sure it's enough to read comfortably. Natural light is best, whether inside or outside. But artificial lighting can be excellent, too, and allow for a more controlled "studio" effect. High-wattage reading lamps are terrific. Avoid florescent lighting.
Have enough light that you don't need a flash. Many young children hate the surprise from a camera flash.
Find a soft rug, cuddly blanket or sheepskin for your baby to sit or lay on. Babies are more likely to act cute if they feel comfortable. The fabric can also be a terrific background, especially if it has solid, bright colors.
Try black and white photography for a dramatic look.
If you have a tripod, or can set your camera on a steady surface, do that now.
Position the infant in a comfortable pose, depending on his or her maturity and preferences. If your baby can hold up her head, she can be placed atop some folded blankets, draped with a soft cloth, facing you. Some children like sitting in their car seat, which you can drape with a cloth to cover it up. Crawlers aren't likely to stay any one place long, so work quick!
Start clicking away! But try to avoid holding the camera directly over your face. Your baby will most likely to react to you and your face, not a boring metal rectangle. If you don't have a tripod mounting, just hold the camera where the baby is in frame, and click when the baby's photogenic.
To stimulate interest, have some interesting and/or novel toys on hand. You can also sing, talk baby talk, make silly faces, and so on. Be careful to not overwhelm the child by being too animated, however. If you go overboard, your baby will just start crying.
When your child starts fussing, it's time to stop. Babies have miniscule attention spans. You won't get any good photos, and one cranky baby (and/or photographer) if you push it when the baby's tired of this activity.
When the photos are developed or downloaded, print them and send them to friends and family!
Be willing to shoot a lot of pictures, and/or use a lot of film. It's OK if most of your pictures are mediocre or even lousy. You only need a few spectacular photographs (or even just one) to make this project worthwhile.
Be prepared for any action. Babies are very spontaneous, and when you're taking pictures, be alert for the unexpectedly adorable.
If you are impatient or frustrated your baby will likely mirror your feelings and respond negatively. Take your time and be patient.
Be willing to accept that if the time or situation isn't right for the baby, stop and try again later. If you have a good, lighthearted approach, your baby is more likely to respond positively.
Costumes make terrific baby photos. Also try classics such as putting an big adult hat on a tiny baby.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. The most striking photos are ones with very few distracting elements.
Pay attention to the background. Be sure there's no unwanted clutter or distractions in the frame, which can ruin a beautiful baby photograph.
Capture all sorts of expressions besides just happy. Grumpy, crying, worried, and cranky can all be interesting photographs and capture the spirit of your child.
Try photographing body parts besides the face: tiny feet, the back of the head, the bottom, belly button, and so on.
Don't put your child in a dangerous position--if your child cannot sit unassisted, don't put him or her in a pose that's not supported. If your child is in the bath, do not leave him or her unsupervised to get the camera.
If you are using lamps near a baby, be sure they are secured and won't topple accidently.