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Few human events are as miraculous as the birth of a baby, and who instantly becomes, for most families, a primary subject of family photography. Extended family members and friends and neighbors want to see all the baby pictures and many want to be photographed with the little bundle of joy. Baby photos, and pictures of your child (children) as he or she grows, may be the first reason you purchased a digital camera when you discovered you would be a parent. Like any kind of pictures you take (groups, pets, vacations, travel and portraits), you’re more likely to capture the best photos possible (baby photos in this case) if you keep these tips in mind.
1. Record His or Her Firsts.
You’ll quickly discover that, during the early days and weeks of your infant being home, most of your baby photography will become a record of “firsts”: first morning, first bath, first time with family members, etc. At this age, it’s difficult to take baby pictures that reveal much of his or her personality. Even his or her reactions to interacting with other people will be instinctive and limited. Each baby will be slightly different, but you’ll probably have to wait three weeks to a month before you’re able to take more of the “cute” baby pictures. By then, your child is more responsive to his or her environment and the senses are more acute, which provides you with a livelier subject that can make eye contact with the camera.
2. Shoot from the Baby’s Point-of-View.
For most beginner photographers, moving themselves and their cameras to find better and more interesting angles to shoot their pictures is a difficult lesson to learn. It’s just seems so natural to grab the camera and shoot from a standing position, whether the subject is on the same level or above or below that angle. When it comes to baby photography that results in the typical pictures of the baby from above, as he or she lays in its crib, bath, carrier, etc.
You’ll immediately begin to improve your baby photography if you shoot at an angle that is closer to the baby’s point of view. You’ll be amazed at the very interesting and rare baby pictures you can take if you place your camera on the rug or the surface where your baby is laying. You can shoot wide shots as well as close-ups of his or her face or eyes. The only caution is that you don’t want to thrust a camera lens too close to your baby’s face. It’s best to use a zoom lens, 24–105mm, for example, and shoot at the widest focal length.
3. Capture the Cute Parts.
If you want to start everyone “oohing” and “aahing,” then shoot close-ups of your babies hands, feet, ear, nose, eyes, etc. Seeing those cute parts in miniature will add a special touch to your baby photography. A digital camera with a macro mode or equipped with a separate macro lens will do the best job.
4. Know When To Shoot.
As a parent, it’s difficult to be patient about shooting baby photography. You feel like you should be recording every moment. If you can think like a photographer for a moment, however, then you’ll realize that the best strategy is first to notice the time of day or specific activity when your baby is more likely to be receptive to being photographed. If infants aren’t asleep, they’re eating or crying, so there are probably only a few brief periods when you can capture those sparkling eyes, a laugh or giggle or an open face that is trying to communicate with you.
5. Keep Your Finger on the Trigger.
The fifth tip is a continuation of #4: Your camera must be handy for those brief moments that you can capture your best baby photography. Now that you know the prime time to take those baby pictures, you can prepare your camera and equipment in advance, saving you time and ensuring you’ll shoot the pictures you want. Remember, however, as your baby develops a personality and becomes more physically active, you’ll discover that he or she will become more receptive to more pictures; so your camera needs to be just as prepared and handy for the growing number of spontaneous moments to grace your baby photography album.