9 Tips For Taking DIY Baby Photos
Taking pictures of your baby is an essential part of parenting life. But from blurred faces to cropped-off feet, plenty can go wrong. Obviously, I hope everyone can get some professional baby portraits taken. But sometimes health, time, or costs get in the way. Here’s my guide on how to take baby pictures at home.
Your baby is growing fast, and taking photos is the perfect way to capture each moment. Parents may post more than 1,000 photos of their little ones on social media before the age of 5, but the pictures are not always great.
Since babies are pretty reluctant models (and who can blame them!), I’ve got 9 simple tips for improving your photography game and capturing amazing photos to last a lifetime.
1. Safety First
You want to get lovely photos, but you want your baby to be safe and happy too. That means forgetting the poses you’ve seen in professional pictures (we have undertaken lots of training and some of the poses are ‘created’ using lots of photo editing) and sticking to natural positions instead.
Also, look for any possible hazards. For example, if you’re photographing your baby lying on a bed, put them in the middle, in case they choose that moment to roll over for the first time. And if possible, ask another adult to be on ‘baby watch’ while you focus on your shot.
2. Pick Your Time
A hungry baby is a cranky baby, and that does not bode well for your photo session. Time your photos for after you’ve fed your little one so they’re super content.
It’s also a good idea to change their nappy so they are clean and comfy, ready for their close-up.
3. Think About Lighting
Ask any photographer and we’ll tell you the magic ingredient for amazing photos is lighting. Avoid using the flash on your smartphone or camera as that will create a harsh unflattering light. But don’t worry, you don’t need to buy all the expensive off-camera lights that a photography studio has. For your baby photos, you want natural light (basically any light created by sunshine).
One of the best times for natural light is sunrise: ideal for your early-riser baby. Make sure your baby is facing toward the light (position them facing a window for example) but watch out if it’s a super sunny day (not that we get many of those in Scotland!). You don’t want too much sunlight in your baby’s eyes … and they’ll definitely let you know if they’re not happy. If the best spot does let in too much sunshine try to soften it with some nets.
4. Get Organised
Your baby is not going to have the patience to wait as you fiddle with your phone or camera. Set everything up in advance and do some test shots to check everything is in focus and you’re happy with the lighting. Don’t forget to clean your camera lens before starting as well.
It also pays to keep a baby kit next to you, complete with wipes and spare nappies.
5. Shoot from Your Baby’s Eye Level
When you play with your baby, you instinctively get down to their level. And the same goes for taking baby photos. Rather than standing up to take pictures, when you’ll get more of the top of their head than their face, sit or lie on the floor.
Shooting from your baby’s eye level means you’ll capture their expression and get a pro-worthy photo. If you’re shooting from above, make sure you are directly above their face – being a little off can distort the perspective. I see tons of DIY baby photos where their feet and torsos look bigger than their heads and that’s why. Also, try to avoid shooting up your little one’s nose as well!
6. Go Neutral
Neutral colours are a good choice for new baby shoots, and they look really professional. Pop your baby in a white or natural-coloured babygrow. If using your bed for the photos, try to avoid busy patterned duvet sets and if possible stick to plain white or cream.
If you’re planning on taking photos with you and your baby together, make sure you wear neutral tones too. That way, your eye will be drawn to you and your baby, rather than what you’re wearing.
7. Use Burst Mode
If your baby is on the move, they won’t sit still for long. Using the burst mode, or continuous shoot mode, you can take lots of sharp photos without a blurred picture in sight.
For iPhones, you’ll find burst mode by sliding the shutter icon on your camera app to the left. On Android phones, simply pull the white shutter button down as you take your shot. As long as you keep holding the shutter button, it will keep taking photos.
And there’s bound to be 1 or 2 great photos among the burst shot!
8. Focus On The Small Stuff
Tiny feet, the cutest little hand holding your finger … zoom in on the details in your baby photos. These will be lovely reminders of just how teeny tiny your baby was.
In the studio, I tend to edit macro shots in black and white for a truly timeless feel. I suggest choosing a black-and-white filter for these close-up photos.
9. Be Quiet
And sshhhhh … your baby is easily overstimulated so keep other distractions to a minimum. Turn off the TV or radio so your baby is as relaxed as possible. If you need them to focus on you, talk to them in a slightly higher pitch.
They’re naturally tuned in to your voice so will look in your (and your camera’s!) direction.
All of the photographs in this blog have been taken in my photography studio this year as part of my ‘mugshot’ series. If you would like to book a newborn photoshoot please contact me to see what appointments are available.