The click of a camera might be a familiar sound when there’s a baby in your household. After all, there’s nothing more photogenic than a cute, cuddly baby. But what’s the best way to capture an image that’s holiday card worthy?
Circle of Moms member Jessi D. is about to take her twins for one-month photos, and her questions get specific: “Any prop ideas, pose suggestions or advice in general (like how to keep them from being fussy)?” she asks.
Here, Circle of Moms share seven tips for taking great baby photos.
1. Adjust Your Shutter Speed
As any mom who has tried to capture their child on film knows, precious moments of your baby smiling, sneezing or doing something sweet are fleeting. And it gets even tougher to capture milestones once your baby's on the move, crawling or walking. That’s why it helps to have a camera with a fast shutter speed, says Circle of Moms member Anneke T.
Leanna K. agrees, adding that cameras with a “sport” setting that takes multiple shots with one push of the button also are helpful.
2. Sneak in Photos When They’re Sleepy
For moms seeking shots at a slower pace, Katie B. also recommends photographing your baby while he's sleepy or sleeping. Babies not only look incredibly peaceful when asleep, but they snooze a lot, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to get a good shot!
3. Make Sure Your Baby is Well Rested and Fed
When scheduling an appointment with a photographer for a portrait, it’s helpful to pick a time after your child has napped and/or had a snack. Tots are most content and cooperative when they're well-rested and well-fed, explains Circle of Moms member Wendy R., who has worked for a couple of portrait studios.
4. Create Distractions
To further comfort your child in an unfamiliar setting, Wendy also recommends bringing some of your child’s favorite toys to the photo session. The toys, plus talking loudly, also can help to distract your child and prevent him from moving while the photographer is snapping away. The interaction also helps make for more expressive shots.
Nicole M. concurs that making loud noises can help to catch your baby’s attention so that he’ll look your way. “Even if he doesn't have a huge smile on his face, he will be at least looking at the camera,” she says.
Another way to encourage a young baby to look at the camera, says Katie B., is to hold up some black and white images, which attract the attention of developing eyes better than colors.
5. Use Props
When distractions don’t work, Nicole notes that even pictures in which your child is not looking at the camera can be very compelling. Some of her favorite images from when she worked in a portrait studio captured kids immersed in something, like looking at a book, Christmas lights, or Santa.
Other props that are fun to photograph your baby with include stuffed animals, blankets, and even towels. For example, Laura suggests stripping your baby down to her diaper, putting her in a towel-filled tub and giving her some rubber ducks to play with. “Cuteness ensues,” she says.
Emma H. shares that she dressed her daughter in a Winnie the Pooh outfit and sat her next to cuddly Winnie the Pooh toys. As another idea, she says her cousin has a picture of her little girl posed as a flower, wearing a flower headband on, and sitting behind a stand that looks like a flower pot. The right prop “really depends on the age of the child and what your idea of cute is,” she says.
6. Let Them Go Barefoot — Or In the Buff
When your baby starts to get uncomfortable, by all means, let him take off his outfit, say several Circle of Moms members. Elizabeth H. shares that had lots of cute outfits planned for her son’s first pictures but he was unhappy until it occured to her that the special clothes were making him uncomfortable. Once they were off, he calmed down and “was as happy as can be,” she reports.
Nicki E. didn’t go as far as taking naked baby photos, but she did take her son’s and nephew’s photos without their shoes. “It was super, super cute; the photographer even took one of just their feet close up,” she says.
7. Let Them Be Themselves
Ultimately, the key to getting great photos of your baby is to let her be herself. “I know you just want him to sit still and look at the camera ... what parent doesn't?” says Trisha T. But whether you have a baby or a teenager, your child would probably “rather be off doing what they want to do.”
“What should we do? Let them be themselves! I just recently figured that out for myself,” Trisha adds.
Traci B. agrees, suggesting that just letting your baby crawl around on garden steps can make for an adorable outdoor picture. “Remember,” she says, “just let them have fun and capture what they are doing naturally [rather] than trying to pose them. This is so much better for the both of you, and allows them to get used the camera.”
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