Baby Photography: 1 Month

While looking through baby photos that we saw posted on blogs or Facebook I remarked to Kelli Nicole that so many of the photos just didn’t seem to show how cute the babies were. Some may argue that a little human is cute no matter how they look, but I think there are a few tips new parents could use when photographing their little ones. Using these, you might just get a few more “Oh he’s so cute!” comments when you post your baby online. And trust me, those are really fun to get.

I tried to come up with ideas that both those with dSLRs and those with inexpensive point and shoots could incorporate. All of the images you see below are straight out of the camera (SOOC) because I wanted you to know that you don’t have to have Photoshop or other expensive software to get results like this. For those with a dSLR who like shooting wide I would suggest that you avoid going much wider than 2.0 with your aperture, as it can be difficult to get a good focus on those squirmy babies. I chose to photograph him on the sheepskin from Ikea because I like the little bit of texture and depth it adds.

Sitting Up

New parents always seem to want to get a picture of their child propped up in a chair, looking ridiculous because they can’t hold their own head up yet. I admit to being guilty of this as well.

But look at this guy? That, to me, looks awkward. And like a chubby old man who can’t get up out of his chair.

It’s tough, but try propping baby up as much as possible, grabbing your camera and taking the picture REALLY quick before they topple over. It would be best to have another person help you with this. Actually it would be best to just avoid photos in this position until they can look a bit less slouchy but I know I won’t be doing that so I don’t blame you other parents for not being able to resist either.

Angles

What do the following two photos have in common?

I’m shooting right up little T1′s nose! This, in my opinion, is the offense parents are most guilty of. You wouldn’t ever do this to a grown person, so I’m not sure why we think it’s an attractive look on babies.

If baby is looking over to the side, capture them from this angle, if you shoot from the side the light is coming from you’ll also have much better lighting on their face.

Or, you can stand directly over them and shoot down. The best way to get faces like this? Take a bazillion photos. From the videos I post I’m sure you’ve noticed that T1 is a mover/shaker/squirmer, and so when I get my camera out I shoot like mad to try to get something with his eyes in focus and his arms not obstructing his face.

Awkward Faces

This, to me, is not cute. I sometimes see photos like this and think “You do realize that it’s possible for babies to look unattractive, right?” There might be a few people who actually like stuff like this, or pretend to like it, but the majority of people are saying “Sheesh, that baby didn’t win in the looks department.”

A few like this can be funny, but over and over? You’re just going to be scarring your child for life when they read back through your blog and see what you posted of them.

So much better. Stick to the funny/cute/sweet faces. Leave the awkward ones on your memory card.

Awww. I love him.

Reflecting Light

One problem with shooting overhead like the photos above is that the light is only coming from one direction, so you get a half bright half dark photo. I tend to like my light to be a bit more even. How to solve this? I use a reflector. I have a fancy pants one for photography (I like that it reflects warm golden light), but you can make your own with a bit of foil and cardboards.

Without the reflector.

With the reflector.

Without the reflector.

See the difference in the shadows on the left side of his face?

With the reflector.

And he’s done! Good thing because I’m all out of basic tips for photographing a 1 month old. Anyone else have any ideas?

13 thoughts on “Baby Photography: 1 Month

  1. Love those pictures and the tips. All of K’s posed ‘photo shoot’ pictures are on my bed – right next to a large window that gets good, even light and I like the pattern of my bedspread, so it makes a cool background/backdrop.

    I need to try a reflector sometime though!

  2. Jenna, can you share how you position the reflector in relation to A) the camera and B) the natural light?

    You’ve said you avoid the flash, so I’m guessing that was the case in all of these too!

  3. Thanks for the tips! My baby is due on Friday and so I know I will be referring back to these in a week or so.

  4. What’s all this “This, to me, is not cute” stuff? T1 has to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, whether there are shadows on his face or not. :) You’re one lucky mama! (and my husband hates it because I keep showing him the pictures you post and saying “see, see! don’t you want one of these!”)

  5. I actually like the shadows you get from window light :). It makes it a bit more dynamic and creates better black and whites in my opinion.

    My advice would be to try and get the light to hit the baby at an angle, but from the top of the head (if you’re shooting at eye-level to the baby, not from directly above) instead of coming from the chin, so the shadow on the nose hits below the nose instead of above it.

    You gave me the idea to do a lot of set-up pictures when I photograph my new niece next month and do a post on shooting a newborn! Maybe I’ll do a video too.

    Linda Reply:

    Looking forward to reading that post!

    Liz Reply:

    Did you ever do this, Kelli Nicole? If so, I’d love a link so I could read it! :)

    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    Haha, I’ve had a rough draft written up for months now! Maybe this will be the push I need to finish it :).

  6. Yay! I love your tips and I’m excited to try them, especially the reflector one! Also can you believe that in just 2 weeks the twins will be 18 months, which means it’s already been 6 months since you photographed them!? My babies are growing too fast!

  7. Fun ideas. I’m going to look into the reflector things it might be useful for other things, although I’d love to see my husband’s face if he sees a giant tin foil covered cardboard around the house.

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