Babies are perhaps one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, mainly because babies have their own schedules, not to mention you can’t expect them to follow directions as to how they would pose. On the flipside, such qualities make them such fascinating subjects because of them being natural, not to mention being cute to look at as well.
Difficult as they can be, babies are not impossible subjects to tackle. If you’re a photographer who is looking into specializing into baby photography, let this guide help you out on how to get started and develop your skills doing this type of photography.
Timing the shoot
As noted earlier, babies have their own schedules as they tend to be awake or asleep at any given time of the day. Thus, it is best to plan ahead and coordinate with the mother as much as possible as to the best time when to take the photos. Generally speaking, for newborns, it is best to time the shoot while the baby is sleepy.
Nevertheless, there are those unpredictable moments when the baby starts to cry or throws a tantrum as you are about to shoot. Given the nature of how babies behave, rather than wait it out until the baby stops crying or throwing a tantrum, it is best for the photographer to keep shooting, preferably having your camera take photos in continuous shooting mode. Chances are, there is a moment worthy to be captured even if the baby is having such moods.
Always be ready
Given the aforementioned unpredictable moments, you’ll never know if and/or when the baby is caught or having a moment that can be considered “camera worthy.” As what other photographers like Cluskey Smith Weddings would say, you should keep your eyes and lenses open for such moments and make sure you get to capture them well.
Keep it simple
One fault a number of baby photographers make is that they tend to prepare elaborate setups for their baby photography shoots. Such preparations only serve to lessen the highlight of your subject which is the baby. And that should not be the case. Simplicity is the key for good baby photography and any elements that are to be added in the photo should not serve to distract the main subject of the photo which is the baby.
No flash, better lighting
For baby photography, the use of flash is discouraged as much as possible. For one, the subject may look bad with the harsh lighting the flash provides. And also, some babies may not be fond of the flash blinking in front of them. On the other hand, a better non-flash lighting system goes well with the natural soft elements of the subject, highlighting the baby’s features. As much as possible, go for natural light like the light coming in through the window or through an open door, creating a more artistic effect.
Invest in good equipment
If you plan to set up your own studio for baby photography, it is important to invest in some good equipment for you to shoot quality images. If your studio does not have any natural lighting coming in, better invest in lights that would highlight the soft features of your subject. Another piece of equipment you should invest on is a small heating system which will provide a little warmth for the baby especially if the baby is going to be shot not fully clothed or wrapped.
Create a personal approach
Some baby photographers make a mistake in treating babies as a client, with no sense of attachment or connection whatsoever. Regardless of your relationship with the baby subject, it is important that you make a connection, make the subject feel comfortable with you as you take those pictures. Create not just photos but memories that will be cherished for a long time.
For your camera, it is best for baby photography to set it at a high ISO and/or faster shutter speeds to ensure good detail. As a rule of thumb, try to go for 1/500s shutter speed and an aperture of f/5.6 and wider under normal daylight. It is also recommended that the camera lens should be f/1.8 or lower for faster shutter speeds.