Oh baby photography, Its funny because some photographers find it extremely easy while others find it scary and difficult.  I personally feel like baby photography is enjoyable and easy. I have found over the years that there are a few tricks that every armature or pro photographer  needs to know to capture great baby pictures.  I hope by the time you finish reading this topic that you will feel confident and motivated to capture priceless baby pictures.

Play Time


Image by Kyle Miller Photography

I will start by saying taking pictures during play time may be the easiest trick I have in my baby photography belt. If you are trying to get a 9 month old baby to stop and smile you are going to go crazy, as you can only imagine that will not work. When you see pictures where the baby is sitting in a chair in a Sears Portrait Center I bet you have the same reaction that I have….gag.  The picture is very boring  with no emotion.  I know I say this over and over but good pictures show emotion. If you are looking at a set of pictures I bet you are not going to keep the flat picture where your new baby is just staring into the camera. I am willing to bet you are going to keep the one where he/she is showing a silly face or smile.  So back to my point if you are wanting emotions to show, capture your baby during playtime, not in a stale photography studio. So my objective is to show enjoyment so when I am taking pictures of babies I always do it during play time.  I try to actually not interact at all, have somebody help you (mom or dad) I feel by just observing I can spend my time taking pictures and not worrying about what he/she is doing. Now with that said I still do help set the staging, for example in the picture above I know that I could get a good reflection off the glass so I had mom move some toys on the table to invite our baby to the table.

Accessorize with Color


Image by Kyle Miller Photography

Color is an important part of all good pictures (in my opinion), Cameras today can capture such rich and vivid colors so I say set up environments where your camera can excel.   I try and pick outfits that go well with skin tones and eye color so in the above picture she has very blue eyes so I selected a bright pink stripped out fit that I knew would make her eyes pop.  I picked the pink outfit so I also wanted to find a bright toy that would enhance the color palate I was going for. I had the option to put a very bright yellow toy in her hand but thought that would be a bad idea as she has a lot of yellow undertones in her skin, not to mention the pillows behind her have lots of yellow.  This is just one example but spend the time trying to add color to  your photograph, as I know you will like the end result.  If you are having a difficult time selecting and understanding just remember if you pick colors on opposite sides of the color wheel the image will have a pop to it. Where if you select colors that are close to each other on the color wheel your image will have a more calming affect.  

Camera Angle

Your camera angle is very important for all photography but I feel like its very important with baby pictures. I am sure we all have baby pictures where the camera was at the photographers hight looking down at the baby. I am not saying these are bad but for good images you need to get down on the level of your baby. Baby photography is a little harder on your knees  because when I am taking baby pictures I spend the hole time laying/kneeling on the floor. In the below image I was actually laying in the dirt so I could have the camera in the grass, as I know it creates a cool look.  This tip is easy just remember to get down on the floor.


Image by Kyle Miller Photography

 

Telephoto Lens

Just like taking all good candid photos you need to have a telephoto lens or zoom into your subject, I think this very important with baby pictures. When I am taking any baby picture I use a telephoto lens  (70-200mm) because I want to get in close to my subject without actually being in their face. If you remember from my play trick having a telephoto lens or zooming in is important because the baby will forget you are there. I have found in the past if you are close to the action he/she will try and grab the camera, which actually is a cool photo but that trick only works once.  This is a side comment but when you use telephoto lenses and you zoom your image begins to compress.  When I say compress I am not saying quality I am talking about the distance between foreground and background. This is a great trick for all portraits because is make those big ears and noses look smaller, while if you use wide angle lenses it makes them look bigger. In the end aren’t we trying to make everybody look as good as possible?  


Image by Kyle Miller Photography

 

Fishing

Taking pictures of babies/kids is kind of like fishing. It is difficult to set up a great picture and capture emotion in one try.  When I am taking baby pictures I may take 200 images in an hour or so, then edit out all the bad images.  With babies you need to shoot fast and often as facial expressions are changing so fast. 


Image by Kyle Miller Photography

The next time you are photographing your baby just think of these tips/ideas and you will see great improvement.