During the first year of your little one’s life, it’s easy to miss the moments as your baby goes through numerous changes and developments at such a quick rate. However, each little moment is a precious memory for you to look back on as your child continues growing with time. For parents who would like to document the growth of your little ones and capture their milestones every step of the way, this article is for you!
We have specially invited Ms Ashley Low, a professional newborn/baby photographer, to share some expert tips with parents on how to photograph your baby in your very own home with minimal props and equipment, yet look almost professional!
Tip 1: What Photography Equipment do I Use?
The key to choosing the right equipment is to know which camera suits the look and feel of the photo that you’re going for! With various cameras equipped with different functions, disadvantages and advantages, how exactly do you choose the best option for the theme you have in mind?
The key is to understand the advantages of your equipment. For example, a smartphone is not only easily accessible, it also has a large depth of field, which allows you to focus on a large area. This is great if you would like to capture everything in one frame.
However, if you are looking for an equipment that would create professional-looking photos with the background blurred and the focus on the baby, you should opt for a camera like a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. These allow you to tinker with the settings manually and let you be creative in your photography skills. Make a list of pros and cons to see what photography equipment is considered a worthy investment for your family’s memories.
Tip 2: Know Your Sun
Lighting is always difficult to get right. As said, natural light is the best source of light you can get for daily photographs. However, getting the right angle from sunlight is another tricky matter altogether. Too much light and your photos are overexposed, too little and the photos will turn out dark and dreary. So when is the best time to take photos at home while utilising natural light?
Either in the evening or the morning! These two times of the day present warmer photographs that do not risk too much light coming into your photograph. Try positioning your baby to face the sunlight at a 45 degree angle or using a reflector to reflect the light and cast shadows to create a defined 3D effect! If you are shooting in midday next to your windows, get some sheer fabric to diffuse the light streaming in!
Tip 3: Creating Your Stage
Some parents might be more keen to make their stage from scratch. This includes setting up with elaborate background materials, decorating the space around the baby with props and/or using baskets to enclose the baby.
However, not everyone has the luxury of time to do so. Thus, the quickest way is to shop for various kinds of textured cloths such as play mats, thick blankets and fabrics that you can pose your baby in! This helps make the photos look more presentable and coordinated! But how do you know if the textured cloth you choose is a good option?
The safest way to go about it is to get variations in neutral tones. With neutral colours, you do not take the attention away from the baby’s expression (if that is what you are going for). If you are looking for something different, get a patterned tone to work with. Get matching blankets that coordinate with the baby’s outfit. This helps your photo to have a more harmonised feel!
Tip 4: Knowing Your Newborn
Newborns are tricky to work with. Most parents would love to capture their newborn smiling, but they have not noted that these “reflex smiles” are easier to capture at a certain point. This is not a full proof theory, of course, as each baby is different. But years of being a newborn photographer has conditioned us to know what to expect. So the million-dollar question is: “When is the best time to take photos of my newborn where I have the highest chance of getting a smile out of them?”
The best time to keep your camera close by to capture a reflex smile is immediately after a full feed! This is the time that the newborn would feel drowsy and reach the REM stage of sleep! The additional plus is that when the baby is not moved around too much and is comfortable, they are more likely to smile more!
Tip 5: Posing with Your Baby
As your baby grows from a delicate newborn to an expressive 8 month old, the quality of photos you can take with the baby changes. You could insert more toys and chairs to brighten your “set”, or you could get in on the fun and pose with your baby as well. We do see parents who love matching outfits with their little one and taking pictures with them. But they don’t necessarily know how to pose with their baby.
Try lifting your baby up and down to get some great posing. Babies love the ‘flying’ sensation that occurs, which means they will start giggling and be expressive in this pose. Another pose that parents can try is the memory shoot. Get a couch or a sofa that is comfortable and place your baby next to you in the pose. You can take pictures the same way every month, to document your baby’s growth from month to month. Encourage your baby to be more expressive with toys and snacks. These photos then become more precious as you can see the baby’s personality slowly evolving!
With these little tips, you would be able to take photos of your baby on your own, yet turn them into beautiful portraiture filled with long lasting memories! You will find more tips like these and more details on how you can create gorgeous elevated photographs in Ashley’s “Watch Me Grow” book!
About Ashley Low
Ashley Low Photography is a well-established family photography studio that has specialised in Newborn and Baby Photography for over 7 years now.
Ashley has also written a book called Watch Me Grow: A 12 Step Guide To Photographing Your Baby’s First Year. This book aims to educate and share tips and tricks that would be useful when parents photograph their babies in the comfort of their own homes, using an equipment of their choice such as a smartphone.
Currently, Ashley hosts hands-on workshops that help interested new parents understand and be able to try their hand at photographing with Ashley’s guidance.
Visit watchmegrowphotos.com to grab your own copy or to check out the upcoming dates of workshops!
If you would like to see ideas of how various baby photos are taken, visit www.ashleylowphotography.com or follow them on their social media pages in the links below.
To all readers of SMG Women’s Health, Ashley has specially prepared a little gift – $50 off session fee* for their services. Simply call 6443 3953 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Terms and conditions apply.