By Laura Dunger
In the many types of photography you may have to do as a photographer, baby shots may be the most difficult. Even if you are not a professional photographer but you are trying to get a great looking portrait of your own child, getting them to cooperate is a major undertaking.
The first rule to live by with baby photography is that, as a matter of face, they ARE the boss of this shoot. The entire process has to be built around that fragile mood of this child. But there are a couple of tricks of the trade you can use, professional or amateur to get the best shot of that sweet baby.
Baby’s respond well when they are fed and rested, with people they know and trust and when they get all the attention. So right off the bat, you as mom and dad can see to it that the shoot happens when requirement number one has been met. Now, that is not always easy. If you have an appointment to take the baby to the get his or her portrait made at the local photography studio, that mood may not be the way you want it to be.
That is why, if at all possible we would discourage taking the shots in a studio. If you can set up a shoot at the baby’s home, where there is a comfortable setting and much that is familiar around, you have many more opportunities to get that smile that will make the portrait of a lifetime there. Now that calls for a “house call” by the photographer but if he or she is a photographer that wants only the best shot of the child, they will work with what you want.
Another advantage of scheduling the shoot at home is that you know when the baby usually is at his or her best so you can schedule it when that time of day is just right. In fact if the photographer can show up during nap time, there is plenty of time to stage the shot before the angel awakens. And by eliminating the car ride to the studio, you take away a huge risk of that fragile mood going south en route.
A second tip comes from the fact that babies like people they know. So if the photographer has time to meet the child, play with him or her and get a rapport started, then they will be more receptive to playful direction to get the shot you want. You will have to be clever how you introduce the camera as it can either be an object of fear or looked upon as a toy and the baby will want to play with it.
As far as the camera goes, think about the kind of equipment you will utilize to get that perfect baby portrait. You want it to be portable, so you can do those on location shots that work so much better. It should be small, both for portability and to not alarm the child. Digital is best because you can shoot lots of shots and never have to reload. But make sure it’s a good quality piece of equipment that will shoot at a high resolution so when you get that prefect shot, it will transfer to a portrait printing nicely.
By setting up the room with the kind of backdrops that will create a good portrait, you can then have the baby begin to play with her or her toys and interact with parents, siblings or the photographer in a happy way. Before long that sound of the camera clicking and even the flash will become familiar and the baby won’t pay it any mind.
The best shots are of the baby laughing. Try to get on the same level with the child as he or she plays. Mom and dad know the notices or games that always get a giggle so exploit their inside information extensively. The baby will enjoy getting to know you and hearing those familiar games coming from you should do well at getting that sweet laugh or smile you want.
By learning the baby’s personality and how to get in sync with the child, you can coax pictures from the shoot that might other wise be impossible to get. And that is what you want if a portrait of a baby that you want to last a lifetime.