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Friday, March 25, 2011

Photography Tip #6: Photographing Little Ones

Let's face it, capturing babies on camera is usually easier said than done... the moments you want to capture that is. Even if babies can follow verbal commands, often times they choose not to. They don't smile on cue. And if they aren't in the mood to have their picture taken when you're in the mood, then just forget it. But there's hope. Here are several tricks to taking better photos of your baby when both you and she are ready!

Get Candid

Posed photos have a time and place, but you'll find that more often than not, the photos you treasure the most are those candid shots of your child unselfconsciously taken while at play. I love taking pictures of my daughters looking directly at the camera, but I always look for ways to photograph them unaware, absorbed in whatever they're doing at the time.

Be patient. Wait for genuine smiles. If needed, try talking and engaging with your little one from behind your lens. Bring your camera to playtime often so that she gets comfortable having it around. After a while, chances are the little one will forget it's even there and return to whatever it was that she was doing. You will capture some precious moments that will document the spirit of your child.

Don't Forget Yourself

It's easy to get caught up in taking pictures of your beautiful little one, but remember that it's equally important to include family members in some photos now and then... including yourself. I've often found myself guilty of excluding myself from photos, especially since I'm the primary photographer in the house. But, thankfully I have a husband who loves taking photos as much as I do and enjoys utilizing proper photographing techniques. Find someone in your house to capture pictures of you playing with you little one. You'll look back on these images with a certain joy remembering what fun it was at the time.

Don't Leave Home Without IT

Remember to bring your camera with you as often as you can so you don't miss out on unexpected photo opportunities. 

Even though many cell phones have reasonably decent cameras built in, they can't compete with the higher quality resolution your camera has. They are usually too low resolution to generate a good print. 


Digital photography is free and unlimited, so take as many pictures as you can. Children are fast moving. Sometimes the tiniest detail - an eye that's half open, the position of a hand or foot, or half of their face is in the shadow - can make or break a shot. Sometimes out of 10 shots, I get 1 that's a keeper. So, keep that trigger finger clicking... you'll be happy to have lots of choices when it comes time to view all your work.

Pay Attention To Background

Have you ever settled down to take that perfect shot, when you later looked at it only to notice that ugly shoe lying in the bottom left of the image or some other distracting element that should have been moved prior to taking the picture? I have done that many of times. That's one of the reasons I'm so thankful for Photoshop as it provides the ability to remove unwanted objects from an image. However, if you don't own Photoshop, you may want to get in the habit of noticing what's in your frame and quickly clearing out unwanted items before you take the shot. I've gotten myself in the habit as well to reduce the amount of post-production later on. 

Hire a PRO

There's a time and a place to have a professional photograph you and your little one, and while the pictures you take are precious, there is no substitution for professional photos. There are vast differences between a causal snapshot and a carefully composed and executed image. Beautiful photos taken with proper photographic technique become family treasures and timeless keepsakes for generations. Some of the best times to hire a professional photographer are during those childhood milestones when your little ones features are constantly changing: newborn, 3-4 months, 6-9 months, 3-4 years, and early teen years.

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