Babies are such beautiful creatures that you want to capture every new movement and every different expression that comes along (Even if that expression is attached to a smelly expulsion of gas!).
However the problem many parents have is that their lack of good photography skills can translate into pictures that are too dark, too bright, blurry, out of focus, uncentred, and so on. Perhaps this describes you.
If so, don't worry, these problems are easily corrected. An album full of mishaps can quickly be transformed by following these tips...
  1. Use natural lighting - babies are especially sensitive to bright light including harsh sunlight and flash photography. If possible, try to take photos during the day when flash photography is not necessary. Bright light looks unnatural and washes out colors and facial features. Instead try capturing your subject out of direct sunlight, but turn on all the indoor lights to give a softer all round tone on your baby's skin.
  2. Get down to the level of the child - Getting down to the level of the child will make them more comfortable and give you a better view of their features. If you are outside, wear clothes that you won't mind getting dirty so you can kneel down at any moment. Keep equipment to a minimum and shoot using the LCD screen, not the viewfinder, so that you baby can see and react to your own expressions.
  3. Be aware of your baby's mood - If you want pictures of a smiling baby try not to start a photo session when your baby is cranky or crying. Capture a range of emotions. Smiling babies are cute. But so are crying babies and pouting babies and messy babies and sleeping babies. Be sure to take pictures of your little one in all phases of his or her emotion filled life. You'll be amazed at how truly beautiful they are in non-traditional picture taking situations.
  4. Get rid of any distractions - make sure there are not too many distractions in the room when taking your pictures. Having too many people around can be distracting, anything that moves or makes noise, like the TV, should be turned off if possible.
  5. Shoot, shoot, shoot - we're assuming digital here, but the more pictures you take the more chance you'll have captured the perfect expression. Get creative here you have nothing to lose. Try the multi exposure setting if your camera has it…it will let you take many shots in a short period of time ..great for action shots. At the end delete the ones you don't want.
  6. Avoid the "jungle effect." - make sure that there is not too much distracting stuff in the background. The focus should be on the baby, so plain backgrounds usually work best. One trick is to leave the background out of focus by staying close to the subject and moving them forward, away from walls or other distracting backgrounds.
  7. Include other people and items - try taking pictures of the baby with other people as well, including yourself. This can help to frame the baby or focus its attention. Try including a favourite toy or household item, which will make your photo tell a compelling story. Take a leaf out of Anne Geddes's book and try creating a unique environment for a memorable photo.
  8. Make bath time picture time - while there are some babies who don't like water, most love it. They often become very expressive in the bath tub - laughing, cooing and splashing. So bath time often becomes a great opportunity to capture a few precious shots of your little one.
Photograph courtesy of Patrick Bellet Photography