If you're taking baby photos, then reach the next level with these simple but effective tips from professional snappers.
Taking endless photos of your newborn is a rite of passage for new parents. After all, your baby is the world’s cutest, right? – and with the ubiquity of camera phones and digital cameras, mums and dads are taking more pictures than ever before. It's estimated that 1.2 trillion photos were snapped in 2017. We can't help wondering how many of those will be of cute little yawning faces or tiny newborn toes.
It’s no surprise we’re so obsessed with snapping away; babies change so fast and photos offer a great way of freezing time and retaining those all-important memories. But capturing the magic as it happens in front of you – your little one's first smile, or a rare, tender moment between siblings – can be tough. All too often, the resulting images can be blurred, badly lit or just feel flat. It's missing that sparkle of personality you'd hoped to preserve.
Happily, simple changes to the way you photograph your children can make a big difference. We asked some professional snappers to share their fail safe tips.
1. Show how small they are – add scale
“We all love a nice photograph of a little newborn lying on a blanket,” says Lisa Rogers of And Then She Clicked.
“But it's when parents cradle their tiny baby that the sense of scale and raw emotion shines through. Switch off any in-room lighting, use the soft, natural light from a window and cuddle those newborns close, showing how small and precious they are. Another pro tip: dad’s hands tend to look great next to newborn skin!"
“Alternatively,” adds Lisa, “snap a photo of your newborn swaddled up safely in their cot. When they progress into their big bed, you’ll always have photographic proof of how teeny tiny they once were!”
2. Taking Baby Photos | Go low
“Get your camera low,” says Ania Wilk-Lawton from Photography for Parents, an online and in-person photography course provider. “No, lower still. Keep going till it gets to your child’s eye level. It's a technique that works even with babies.
“As adults, we don’t like to bend; we view the world from a five-foot-something height and when it’s time to take a photo, we do the same. And two things happen. First, the shooting angle inevitably means a whole lot of floor will be included in the picture (and let's face it, that floor is the least interesting thing, not to mention it'll be adorned with stray toys). Second, it distorts our child’s proportions (especially with a phone camera), giving your kid a big head and disproportionately small body."
“Don’t do it to your child – get down on the floor, get your camera at their height and take the photo at an angle parallel to the floor.”
3. Zoom in on the details
Don’t forget to photograph those little fingers and toes – you’ll cherish them for years to come.
Ania says: “Take these detail-heavy photos when your child is asleep, otherwise their little limbs will be moving too quickly to be captured in sharp focus.“Plan in advance. Put your little one to sleep in a room which is bright enough for your camera. Make sure they’re not wearing scratch mitts or socks. Shoot at a low angle (parallel to the surface they’re on) and zoom in, rather than getting close, to take the photograph – this makes all the difference!”
4. Taking Baby Photos | Don't say 'smile!'
Authenticity is something you can always detect in a great photo.
“Capturing a grin is great, but when you tell your child to smile, they'll only produce a false smile, which is never very captivating,” says Ania. “But if you make your child laugh, you'll capture the magic. So play peek-a-boo, have a tickle, tell them a silly joke – make them laugh and your photos will shine.
“And on that note, don’t forget to capture those other, non-smiling but equally important moments in your child’s life, too,” she adds. “When they’re thoughtful, curious, cheeky, cuddling a family member, engaged in play – all those moments, all those things make them who they are, and that’s what the best photos capture.”
5. Taking Baby Photos | Little and often
Sophie Knight of Alex Knight Photography says: “Make photos a part of your daily life without turning every opportunity into your own personal photoshoot. Capture everyday moments that your children enjoy as an honest record of their childhood."
“While today it might seem trivial, in the future you’ll be glad you have photos of the different stages of their development. Milestone cards or similar weekly or monthly prompts can be a good way to keep motivated to create a priceless memoir of your little ones.”
If you loved this article about taking baby photos, you can read more of our advice and guidance articles for when your little one has arrived.