Introducing Baby Milo…
Today I’m introducing you to my sweet, baby boy Milo and sharing six of my favorite tips for photographing babies! I’ve been bit absent on the blog as we adjust to life with this new little guy. But I’m so happy to be back and sharing all things photography again! Milo Andrew Young was born 16 days after his due date, at home, in water, on October 6, 2022. He definitely kept us waiting and we were all so excited to finally meet him.
I’ve had such a wonderful time photographing this little guy. Let’s jump right in with my tips for capturing beautiful baby photos.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
So far Milo has been really great with the camera and smiles and laughs when I take his picture (for the most part!). The key to photographing babies is to be quick! You only have a short window of time to get your shot before baby looses interest and wants to move onto the next thing. So you have to get in, get your shot, and get out! I always make sure I have my scene completely set up and my camera settings already in place before I bring in baby.
GIVE BABY SOMETHING TO DO
It always helps to keep those little hands busy. So if you can work it into your photograph give baby a toy, a blanket, or something that can captivate her interest for a few minutes while you get your shot, do it! There are so many beautiful baby toys available these days that are just a dream to photograph. I particularly like natural wood or cloth toys because I find the textures so visually pleasing. If it doesn’t work to have something in your shot then the next best thing is to have a helper. I often get my older to kids to jump around, clap, or hold up toys to keep baby interested.
HAVE A BABY SPOTTER
While we want to keep baby interested, more importantly, we need to keep baby safe. And as much as I’d like to say you can do your baby portraits all on your own, sometimes you really just need someone to help spot baby. If you are trying to put baby in a difficult position or if baby is just not completely sitting on his own, then you really need to have someone helping you. Safety is always our first priority!
Now I have been able to be my own spotter for some of my baby photos. By placing my camera on a tripod and using my remote shutter I am able to keep an eye on baby and still get my shot, but not every situation allows for this kind of set up. And the wonderful thing about photography is that we can use a program like Photoshop to help us edit our spotter right out of the image, giving the illusion that baby is sitting in our scene all on his own. In the image below my husband was actually holding baby Milo as he perched on this log. With the magic of Photoshop, I was able to edit my husband completely out of the frame!
LOOK AT BABY AND SMILE
I know this seems obvious but sometimes we get so caught up in shooting that we forget to actually make eye contact with baby and smile. We have to remember that all baby sees is your lens staring back at him. So if you want a shot of baby looking right at the camera you need to get him to look at and connect with you. I have to remember to peek out from behind my camera and smile at Milo every so often. Once he sees my face, he usually reacts with a smile and then I have to work quickly before it disappears. This is also something to remember if you have someone help you keep baby entertained. Sometimes it can be so distracting that you can’t get baby to look right at the camera. Be sure to communicate with your helper and let them know when to turn it down a notch so you can keep baby’s eye on you if necessary.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING! GOOD MOOD VS. SLEEPY
When photographing babies we have to work with their schedules. I can’t tell you how many times I have set up a scene only to realize that baby it too tired and needs to take a nap and I have to wait to shoot. If we want a shot of a happy baby we have to start with a happy baby. And that means a baby that is well rested and well fed. If baby is tired then your chance of getting that perfect shot goes down drastically! However there is a flip side to this rule and that is if you are trying to get a shot of a sleeping baby! And then by all means we want a tired baby. I find that these kinds of shots are the easiest to get with younger babies. When they are really little, young babies (especially if they have just been fed) can sleep through a lot of poking and prodding. My 7 month, however, would wake up instantly!
I thought I would leave you with one of my favorite baby props and for me it has got to be the hat! In my opinion hats are just the perfect way to frame that sweet little face. They bring a pop of color and texture that helps to enhance any photo. Most of my babies had very little hair and so I found that hats were a great way to add variety to my images. I use them the same way I like to switch up the different bows and barrettes that I put in my daughter’s hair. So if you have a baby without much hair like mine, hats can be a great prop!
So let’s do a quick review!
- TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE – work quickly because babies loose interest even quicker!
- GIVE BABY SOMETHING TO DO – Give baby something to hold/play with to keep her interested and busy
- KEEP BABY SAFE – Always have someone keeping an eye on baby to keep him safe from falling
- BE SURE TO CONNECT WITH BABY AND SMILE – Don’t forget all baby sees is your lens so be sure to peek out and smile.
- REMEMBER TO WORK AOUND BABY’S SCHEDULE – A happy baby makes for happy baby photos.
- HATS, HATS, AND MORE HATS – Put a hat on baby can really add variety to your photos.
Of course there are many other things to consider when photographing babies and this is by no means an exhaustive list. And photographing newborns is a whole other topic all on its own! But as I have been photographing my son these past seven months these are the tips that have seemed most relevant and keep coming up at every shoot. So I hope that this post leaves with you some actionable tips that you can take with you the next time you photograph a baby, whether it be your own or a client’s. And for more tips of photographing older children check out my post here!
Before you go! I am participating in a blog loop this month with some super talented photographer friends. Check out my friend Ali who is a Charlotte Lifestyle Maternity Photographer and her post all about lifestyle maternity sessions!