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4 Easy Steps to Taking Better Pictures of your Baby

I’ve been keeping tabs on the mama from the last post.  Before I wrote that post, she told me she had no idea how to take pictures of her baby, and it showed!

Take a look at the difference between her baby’s 1 month and 3 month facebook photos. Check out how much improvement there is in the 3-month photo, after following my 4 easy steps to taking better pictures of your baby.

It’s not perfect, but it sure is a lot better! Let’s break it down.  Mama used two of my tips to make this image shine:

Tip #1:  Change your angle

Then: In the old photo we were looking at baby’s crotch, and nobody wants to see that.  We were also looking up baby’s nose, which means we were not looking at baby’s eyes–even though they were open.

Now: In the second photo, mama took conscious steps to change her angle. It’s a subtle difference, but it has huge results! Because she got her camera up to baby’s eye level, the first thing we see is his big beautiful eyes!  We don’t even notice the crotch area anymore.  Baby’s face is the star of this picture, because mama knew to get at eye level with her little one before snapping the picture.  Way to go mama!

Tip #4: Keep the background simple

Then: In the old photo, the blanket in the background is distracting.  It was put there intentionally to serve as a backdrop for the portrait, but it got all wrinkled up while baby squirmed. We can see the edges in the photo, which makes it come across as sloppy and unintentional.

Now: This time mama was careful to keep the background clean.  Cluttered or otherwise busy backgrounds are distracting, so  having the blanket pulled tight and no edges showing makes it easy to focus on what matters – that beautiful baby boy! That being said…

Tips for next time

Background: Although I love myself a monkey (I mean – who doesn’t love monkeys!?) it’s usually best to go with a plain background to further remove distractions.

Lighting: We are still having a lighting issue here. I love how mom changed her angle so that she’s at eye level with her little one, but now we can see her shadow blocking the light!  Unfortunately, especially in the winter, there isn’t always an easy answer to this. Getting lighting right takes practice. Sometimes it takes specialized equipment. It can be especially difficult indoors in artificial light.

My best suggestion is to try to get to an area with natural light coming in through a window.  Positioning next to a window means the light will come in from the side instead of from above / behind. This makes it easier to avoid casting a shadow.

Also, try to wait for a time of day when the sunlight is not directly coming in through that window. That way, you avoid harsh shadows and squinty, unhappy babies!

Once you’ve located a good spot, I recommend placing the baby at an angle with their head towards the window. This will help you to end up with natural seeming shadows and avoid “scary movie” lighting, where the light direction is coming from below.

I drew you a little diagram below to get you started.  Keep in mind this only applies for babies who are lying down.  Please feel free to leave any comments on my drawing skills below.  😉

How to Position Baby For Good Lighting

 

If you want to get creative, you can often get away with rotating baby almost all the way, so their side faces toward the window (check out my sample image from the original post). If you do that, though, you’ll need to get between baby and the window in order to take the picture. So, you’ll need to extra careful about casting a shadow!

Other Observations: What to wear for your photo session

I always tell people that the number one tip for “what to wear” is to make sure your clothing fits.  One of the biggest reasons that the second photo looks a lot better than the first is that his onesie fits like a glove!  Loose clothing is distracting, especially on teeny tiny babies.  Mama made this improvement all on her own!

I love seeing people learn to make small adjustments that vastly improve their pictures.  We all deserve a beautiful record of our lives in images, and this mama has taken a giant leap forward in her ability to capture her son’s story.

Take a look at the pictures you’ve taken recently. Did you use any of these tips? Could you have? What other types of pictures are you taking that we could help you to improve?

Let me know in the comments below, or send some examples!

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