Friday, May 20, 2011

10 Tips for How to Take Great Baby Photos at Home!


Everyone wants to have great photos of their kids.  After all, kids grow so fast!  You want to have a permanent record of just how they looked as babies, toddlers, and young kids.  Many people take their kids to a professional photographer and though they are often able to get great pictures, it is often quite expensive.  I have yet to bring my little guy to a photographer and I think we have a ton of awesome pictures of him!  We've taken all of our pictures at home or in our area where our little guy is most comfortable.  All of the photos I'm posting today are either of Brennan, or his cousins Claire and Evan.

Tip #1: In my opinion, this is the most important tip of all- PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BACKGROUND!  To me, this is the difference between an ok picture and an awesome one!  I find that clean, plain backgrounds that don't distract from the subject of the photo are best.  Most of the time I just use a sheet or a blanket as a background.  I use the back of my couch to hold the sheet up and spread it out nicely out onto the floor.  You can also tape, pin, or tack the sheet to a wall if that works better for you.  Try to use an area of your house with lots of windows, but don't set up in direct sunlight.

These are all examples of pictures I've taken with plain (or mostly plain) backgrounds: 

  

Tip #2:  Have help available.  Having a second pair of hands is invaluable when trying to capture amazing shots of your little one.  Whether they are straightening out your sheet background that your toddler messed up, making silly faces to get baby to smile, or helping to 'wrangle' baby back into the photo area it helps so much to have them!

Tip #3:  Use appropriate props.  I think that the overuse of props in pictures can really distract from a photo, especially with newborns.  But the use of props actually becomes necessary as babies evolve into toddlers.  Toddlers are too wiggly and have such a short attention span that props must often be used to keep them in one spot for long enough to snap a picture!  They can be used very tastefully, though.

Here are some of the pictures I've taken with props:

 

Tip #4:  Use a dog toy to get your baby's attention.  I've found that using a squeaker that my dog ripped out of one of her toys works the best for getting babies to look at the camera.  It doesn't necessarily guarantee a smile, but it's a step in the right direction!  I now have a little dog squeaker that permanently resides in my camera bag.

Tip #5:  If at all possible, use an DSLR camera.  If you have one of these digital cameras you know that it takes the picture instantly- as soon as you press down the button.  This is HUGE!!!  Babies and kids move so fast!  You need your camera to take the picture NOW!  Check sites like eBay for good deals on these cameras.  Mine was purchased from eBay refurbished and it works great!  If you think it would fit into your budget, I highly recommend getting one!

Tip #6:  Take advantage of nature's beauty!  Outside pictures are always beautiful, plus, most kids love being outside!  Although everyone loves a sunny day and is more likely to be outside, an overcast day is actually best for pictures.  You don't have the harsh effects of the sun washing out your photos or creating dark shadows.

 
 

Tip #7:  Make sure your baby is well rested!  If they are tired you might as well quit trying!  Put them down for a nap and try again when they wake up!  If they are rested, full, and wearing a clean diaper, you'll be much more likely to get a bunch of great pictures!

Tip #8: Although we all love a smiling baby, sometimes the best pictures are the ones that capture their other expressions.

 

Tip #9: Get close!  You want to capture all the details of that precious little one, not only their beautiful face, but their hands and feet, too!  They are much more important than the background- and cuter, too!

 
  
Tip #10:  Consider using a remote to trigger your camera.  This way, you can get your face out from behind the camera and get the baby looking at you!  Make silly faces, squeak your squeaky toy, and smile at your baby to get the reaction you want.  Plus, you just might be able to get some good pictures of the two of you together with no one behind the camera!

Sometimes the very best pictures come by combining several of these tips!  I took this picture earlier this week in our backyard.  We were outside (#6) and I used a Sony Alpha DSLR Camera (#5) and a remote (#10).  I chose my background carefully (#1) in order to match my prop theme (#3).  I also chose to take these pictures right after a nap and snack (#7).


And because of the wireless remote, I was able to get this cute shot of Brennan and I together, with the dog in the background, of course.  I guess I didn't follow my own tip #1 (though she is awfully photogenic)!


I hope these tips help!  I'd love to see any photos you all take!  Let me know which tip you think is most important!

6 comments:

  1. I love your photos. My favorite tip would be #9, get close. Close ups help you appreciate those special yet easily missed details! By the way http://bit.ly/StylishBloggerAward <~~you deserve it!

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  2. What great tips and of course photos! Your little guy is adorable. Is that a lab I see peeking behind you? We have 4, I posted a pic of them on my voiceboks page. See you there!

    Following you from VoiceBoks!~Lisa
    I am all a twitter about life

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  3. Rachel- Thanks for the award!

    Lisa- Four labs! Wow! I can't imagine the hair... My one sheds bad enough! Our is actually only half lab, the other half is Shar Pei.

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  4. Thanks for these tips! Photographing children can be difficult when you have a squirmy or super camera-aware baby like I do, but I like your advice to take pictures of their natural expressions other than trying to get constant smiles.
    -Katie
    http://www.mynewheartbeat.com/

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  5. Brilliant tips , thanks

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