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Planning Before the Session

You need to plan ahead.

1 - Mood

Your baby's mood makes or breaks your photography session.

1) The best location is one that the baby is familiar.

If your baby is bored with the space, he or she will be less likely to want to scurry in all directions exploring—or—withdraw into concern about a novel place.

You may want to limit your babies movement.

Corral your son or daughter in an office chair covered with a quilt, or ?

2) Get everything ready ahead of time.

3) The best time is after being fed, after a bath, or ?

4) The best session is brief.

Plan on photographing for five minutes.

5) Have your son or daughter doing something.

For example, your results may be better if your baby is sleeping, bathing, eating, after dinner contentment, being held, or ?

2 - Light

The lighting is the second factor which makes or breaks your session.

6) Use a large light source.

The guideline of using a large light source applies to any location.

Outside Light

The sun is a small light source.

If you're outside, avoid photographing your baby in the sun.

The shadows will be distracting.

They'll be dark with sharply defined edges.

Instead, photograph on an overcast day or in the shade.

The light source is large, the entire sky.

If there are any shadows, they'll be bright with fuzzy edges.

In the Sun

If you must photograph in the sun, pop your flash up to brighten the shadows.

On a point-and-shoot camera, press the lightening bolt icon until Flash On appears on the LCD screen

On a digital SLR camera, set the exposure mode to P, or to S or Tv.

Press the button near the flash to pop it up.

Indoors - Existing Light

A large bright window is an excellent large light source.

Position yourself, if you can, with your back to the window.

The light is coming over your shoulders from the window, past you, and on to your baby.

You can also have the window to one side of your baby.

Indoors - Flash

Avoid using your pop-up flash.

The light is small.

This small light source produces glare on your baby's face, and often, red eye.

Instead, use a separate flash that you can bounce off of the ceiling.

The ceiling becomes like an overcast sky, a large light source.

Is a Flash Safe?

Can a flash damage the eyes of a baby?

Consult your pediatrician.

Dr. Don Bienfang

Dr. Arun K. Mishra

Dr. Jo Lee

3 - Lens

If you're using a digital SLR, consider purchasing a 50mm lens.

This non-zoom, fixed focal length lens, lets in more light than a zoom lens.

You won't need to use flash.

Also, when used at f/1.4 or f/1.8, the backgrounds will be very out-of-focus.

Go to 50mm Lens: Good for Low Light & Less Depth-of-field.

4 - Color of the Light

The color of the light is also important.

Many people are unaware of how adjusting the white balance to match the color of the light in the scene, will improve the results.

7) Set the white balance to one of the following icons.

Overcast

Cloud icon

Removes blue

Shade

House with shadow icon

Removes blue/green
Window (No sun)

On a sunny day, use the house-with-shadow icon.

On a overcast day, use the cloud icon.

 

Flash

Lightening bolt icon

Removes blue

Be sure to switch the white balance back to automatic after the session.

5 - Brightness of the Light

The ISO setting changes the sensitivity of the sensor to light.

A higher number makes the sensor more sensitive.

8) Use the following ISO settings.

Shade or overcast

ISO 400

Window (No sun)

ISO 400

Bounce flash

ISO 400

6 - Exposure Settings

Your camera may have a scene mode called Baby or something similar.

The camera will try to use a fast shutter speed so there's less chance of camera shake or blur from you baby running around.

If you're familiar with shutter speeds, use the S or Tv exposure mode.

Set the shutter speed to 1/250th or faster, if there's enough light to do so.

7 - Shutter Lag

When using a point-and-shoot camera, there is a lag between when you press the shutter release and when the shutter opens.

Shutter lag makes it difficult to capture a fleeting expression.

You can reduce shutter lag somewhat by pre-focusing.

Fill the frame with your baby, and press the shutter release slightly to engage the focus.

8 - Vantage Point

Most often, you should photograph at baby-eye level.

9 - Burst Mode

q

Pet photographer Li Ward's advice applies to babies, too.

Like I mentioned previously, I shoot mostly in burst mode. That, and the fact that I just keep shooting. The camera never leaves my face until I feel I have captured what I want for that particular moment. My eye is glued to the viewfinder.

Back in the day when I was obsessively photographing just my own cats, I'd wait for them to do something interesting or cute before I actually brought the camera up to shoot. Of course by that time, 1 or 2 seconds have elapsed, and they're doing something less interesting, and I've missed the shot.

Now, I sort of treat my still camera as a video camera. Even if I'm not actively shooting, and even if the subject is not doing something "capture-worthy," I continue tracking through the viewfinder and recomposing. Because soon enough they will do something capture-worthy, and I'll be ready to press the shutter the second it happens.

Expert Tips on Photographing Your Pets

Rik Fairlie

9 - Practice

9) Before you photograph your baby, practice using a toy or spouse as a stand in for your baby.

10 - Research

Search for examples, such as newborn baby poses.