Preserve Precious Everyday Occurrences
While photographs of infants in adorable outfits and sweet poses smiling at the camera are certainly worth capturing, do not forget about the ordinary moments that you will want to remember. Snap photos of your baby in the tub, sleeping or eating. When taking these photos, be nonchalant. Don’t coax the baby to smile or even look at the camera. Candid shots of him splashing in the tub, snuggled up at his mother’s breast or wearing pureed peas on his face and in his hair will help you recall just how little and dear he once was after he has grown.
Focus on Features
Parents love to count their infant’s fingers and toes, nibble on necks and tummies and revel in her tiny ears and wide eyes. Zoom in on favorite body parts to produce photographs that are both artistic and adorable. While some features are obvious fodder for photos, there are others you might not automatically consider, such as the swirl of fuzzy hair on the back of her head, the nape of her neck or her ears. Move in close for clear, detailed shots. Take them while she is sleeping to ensure that the baby doesn’t wiggle or turn.
Stoop to His Level
Consider kneeling or even lying on your stomach beside the infant to take photos that present the baby and his world the way he views it. An additional benefit of getting down next to him is that he will likely interact with you and the camera better than he would if you were towering over him. In fact, you might even consider getting lower than the baby. For example, a shot of him peering down at you through the bars on his crib or over his high chair tray might be a delightful change of pace.
Choose a Happy Time of Day
Although there will certainly be times when you need to grab your camera and shoot to get a great picture, if you are organizing a sitting it is wise to select a time of day when the infant is likely to be in a good mood. Of course, you cannot predict a child's state or attitude, but some factors can help. For instance, plan a time when the baby will have had a nap and a bottle so that she won’t be tired or hungry. Consider the baby’s personality, as well. Some infants are happiest first thing in the morning while others are more agreeable later on in the day.
Capture Some Grumpy Faces, Too
You will likely take dozens if not hundreds of pictures of your gummy, grinning infant. The truth is, though, that a fair amount of the time your darling babe will be whimpering, whining or downright wailing. Capturing some of these moments on film can turn out funny, endearing photos that you will cherish as years go by. While you certainly don’t want to provoke a child to tears and you should not prolong his suffering in order to find your camera, if you are already shooting and he presents a pouty lip or grumpy scowl, go with it.
Forget the Flash
Infants' eyes are still quite sensitive, so avoid using a flash whenever possible. While it is unlikely that snapping shots with a flash will cause any lasting damage to the baby's vision, the bright light can cause temporary discomfort and scare the little one to boot, which may result in a wide-eyed, squinting or crying little one. An east- or west-facing window shortly after sunrise or just before sunset, respectively, will provide soft, natural lighting. Alternatively, utilize lamps and other lighting on hand, which are all gentler than a shocking flash.
Get the Family Involved
Most people routinely gather all of their children, including their infant, for sibling shots. Likewise, there are bound to be loads of Mommy and baby shots, since the new mother is frequently holding her little one. Be sure to capture photos of the baby with other special people, whether it is Daddy, grandparents, aunts and uncles or special family friends. Candid shots displaying the love and tenderness these people have for the infant are especially precious, especially if that loved one should pass on. Focus on the people in these shots more than their surroundings, unless the location holds special sentiment as well.
Don’t Forget Her Lovey
Making sure the baby is comfortable will help you get the best photos. Along with ensuring that she is fed, dry and rested, as stated previously, surrounding the infant with familiar items will comfort her. This is especially true if you are photographing the little one somewhere other than her home. Don’t worry that a pacifier in her mouth for some of the photos will ruin the shots. If it keeps her calm, a binkie, favorite toy or cuddly blanket can actually act as a delightful prop.
Be Prepared for Messes
Babies seem to attract messes, so if you are hoping for a photo of a sweet, pristine infant, be ready to clean up. Have two (or three) outfits on hand that are suitable for your photo shoot in case of a spit up or leaky diaper incident. If you are photographing parents or siblings as well, make sure that they also have a change of clothing. Placing a bib on the baby between shots can help protect clothing from accidents as well. In addition, have wipes or wash clothes close by to tidy up little faces and hands.
Take Cues From the Baby
Finally, it is important that you don't exceed the baby's limits. Infants need lots of rest and can easily become overstimulated. Pay attention to the baby's body language to determine whether she has had enough. If she is starting to act restless, tired, hungry or simply cranky, put the camera down and tend to her instead. When she learns that you are attentive to her needs, she will likely be a better photography subject at your next session.
- Nikon USA: Photographing Babies, Toddlers & Kids; http://www.nikonusa.org/Learn-And-Explore/Photography-Tips/gimqpzn5/1/Summer-Lyn-Photographing-Babies-Kids-.html