Shoot at home
Enter their world
Use natural light
Keep it natural
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Photographing babies has to be one of the most challenging things I have had to do as a photographer. It can be a very difficult task and I mean this if you are a pro or you just want to photograph your own child. The difficulty of the whole process comes from the little control you have over the baby’s reactions and emotions. Let’s face it, if the baby wants to cry, it will.
There are however several tips that could help ease things the next time you photograph an infant. Here they are.
The best place to have the shoot is the child’s home. Babies are more relaxed when they are rested, well fed and when they recognize their surroundings. Also, the parents have better control over their schedule and they can inform you about usual nap times. It’s best to be there when a baby wakes up.
Before actually starting to photograph, you have to get the child to trust you. Babies respond better to familiar faces, so spend some time playing with them before you pull out your camera. When you do pick up the camera, make sure you introduce it in a way that will not cause fear.
A laughing baby is something you definitely want to capture in your photographs. Try to encourage him and create as many opportunities for laughing as possible.
Babies see things entirely different than we do. Getting their trust and making them feel comfortable with you involves getting down to their level. Standing above a child while photographing him will not only make him scared and you intimidating, but it will make your photos look average and lacking creativity.
At the end of the day, each photo shoot with a baby is a game of patience. Right from the start you have to accept the fact that he is in charge and you are there to do your best in capturing the wonderful expressions. Sometimes, it can take over an hour to get the shot you are waiting for so you should mentally prepare yourself from the beginning.
I am not always a fan of ambient light, but with babies it’s kind of inevitable. Using a flash repeatedly will only stress the child and possibly make him cry. Try setting the background near a window. The light should be as soft as possible, just like the shadows.
Putting all sorts of `funny clothes on him or wrapping him up in a ribbon because he is a gift from God might seem like a good idea, but it really isn’t. You probably wouldn’t want your own child to look back at some kitschy photos of him after he grows up. Keep it simple and natural for best results.
Photo by Monica Marcov