You don’t have to be a professional to get great photos of your new baby! These simple tips can improve the quality of your images immensely and can be used for all cameras including point and shoot models. Of course you can apply them not just on babies, but for all of your photos.
- Ditch the flash! You know that flash attached to your camera? While it’s great for creating a blaring light in your eyes, it isn’t very helpful for capturing terrific photos of your new baby. The light from an on-camera flash makes your baby’s tiny face flat and makes them appear much different than they look in real life. When possible, try to use daylight to light your photos, even indoors. If you really must use the on-camera flash you can put a white napkin or cut out a 2 inch square from a milk carton. Tape or hold the material in front of the flash to diffuse the light. Try this: open all the shades in the room and place your baby about 1-2 feet besides the light (not directly in front of it). If the sunlight is too harsh you can hang a clear shower curtain or thin white sheet to diffuse the light. The softer light will help accentuate your little one’s delicate features and not wash out the tiny details of their hair and skin.
- Look for shade! I see it all the time…I’m walking in a park and I see a guy taking pictures of his family hoping to capture a great moment to print. Everyone is dressed nice with hair in place, no bunny ears or silly faces. Even if dad does get the shot with no one blinking, guess what? There’s one major problem. Everyone is standing in full on blazing sunlight. And, sunlight is the main cause of harsh, ugly, unflattering shadows on anyone. It causes huge circles under the eyes and nose, and is just plain nasty. Try this: next time you’re shooting outdoors look for a nice shady spot to take your photo. Sit under a tree or walk around the shaded side of a building. Your photos will be more vivid in color and much more flattering to the facial features of your baby. Plus no squinting!
- Crop it! With today’s modern digital cameras producing such high megapixel images, it gives you the opportunity to edit your photos after the fact. That means you have greater creative control to frame out just what you want to focus on. This works especially great for babies because we all love those shots of just fingers and toes, chubby cherub cheeks and pouty baby lips. Cropping is also useful because point and shoot cameras can’t focus close up. If you try to zoom in too much your photos will not only be blurry, but they are more likely to be grainy and distort facial features like enlarging noses. Try this: have you or your partner wear a long sleeved black shirt for the photo. Hold your baby stretched out on your forearms so they are laying face up with their head up to your chest. Cup their little feet in both hands and take the shot straight, trying to center their feet in the middle of your viewfinder. You can then crop down the photo in your favorite photo editing software.
- Get down! Most of your baby’s early photos are taken at their eye level because someone is usually holding them, but as they get older and become more independent they spend more time on the floor. Don’t let this deter you from still taking photos at their level. Instead of getting that same bird’s eye view most people use, you need to get on the floor for the most interesting perspective. Try this: place the camera directly on the floor and aim it towards your baby. Take a shot then check on your viewfinder for focus, and to be sure your baby appears in the entire frame. Make adjustments if necessary. This will give a great effect of the floor leading up to your baby, and making their face the main attraction.
- Get in it! Your baby’s first year goes by lightening fast. By the time you actually get a chance to look through all the photos you realize you haven’t gotten in any! Make sure you take the time to get in some images yourself. It can be hard sometimes with no one else around to be the photographer but you. Try this: set an area to take a photo of you and your baby, let’s say a rocking chair. Place a doll or stuffed animal on the chair in place of yourself and set your camera up on the dresser, changing table,or a stepstool and check through the viewfinder to make sure your image will be in focus and looks good. Then set your camera’s timer to fire and get in the photo.