Hello friends! We are two days from our little guy’s second birthday and I’ve been going through baby photos I took of him and can’t believe how fast the time went. It also hit me that these photos hold so much joy and value for my husband and I so here I am today. I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing some photography now and I want to share my learnings. I recently had the chance to photograph a few babies—two sweet little 3-month-olds and one 6-month-old. I loved it and feel like that might become my niche with significantly more practice!
Today I’m going to share with you a few tips for photographing babies who aren’t yet crawling or walking. Keep in mind that I’m still learning too, but I’m sharing things that anyone can do to improve their baby photography with almost any camera. This is meant for parents etc… not professional photographers.
Quick note: Even though there are no watermarks on these images, they are protected by copyright. Please do not use, alter or crop these photos in any way. Thank you!
Create a backdrop, any backdrop.
I recently purchased an inexpensive piece of white wainscoting for photo shoots with babies. I spent $7 and LOVE using it. I like to add garland or banners to it. You can also use a blanket, a wall, a plain piece of white board, curtains and so much more. Get creative. I do prefer white backgrounds, but many people like color or black, grey etc…
Strategically place baby so you get bokeh (i.e. the blurred look)
I’m not going to get all technical on you. There are specific numbers when it comes to depth of field, aperture etc…, but in short, if you want the baby clear and the background a bit blurry, you need to bring the baby out a few feet from the background.
Get on the floor to photograph
I love to lay flat on my stomach facing baby. Sometimes you get a great reflection from baby and it’s just a great angle to get beautiful sparkle in their eyes and they are more likely to look at you if that’s the look you want.
Use natural light to your advantage
No matter what kind of camera you have, having the baby facing natural light always helps. This girl’s beautiful bluer than blue eyes really stood out with a bit of natural light. And please, please, please do not use your flash unless it’s dark out. If you’re having trouble with lighting, consider using a plain old piece of white board ($2 at Michaels or other craft stores) and place it in front of your subject to bounce the light onto the baby’s face. This works like a charm. And is very budget-friendly.
Position the baby and make him or her comfortable
For 3-month-olds, I love laying them on their bellies if they can hold up their heads and if they are ok with tummy time. A baby who is not ok with tummy time will not only look awkward, but will probably get a little fussy. It’s not worth it. The photos above show baby Harrison on his belly and he just looked unbelievably adorable. It eliminates distraction and is a cute pose. I’ve also laid 3-month olds on a beanbag or pillows, but they tend to look more awkward this way.
For 6-month-olds, I love sitting them up straight. There are risks to this though, so be sure mom and dad are very very close to the baby or even have someone hold baby up and use Photoshop or another editing tool to remove their hand/arm. Some 6-month-olds fall over pretty easily, especially on slippery hardwood floors. You could also surround them with pillows if you are worried about this. Sweet baby girl above did take a few falls during the session, but her mom and dad were very close and helped with that. It is very important to make sure baby is safe no matter what the age.
Get close, get really close
I love to move all around the baby for different angles. You never know when a baby will look right into the camera for that “money shot.” But I also really love a super tight shot to really get the sweet facial features and crisp eyes.
Be patient, take your time and throw your expectations out the window
Babies or toddlers plus photo shoots can be tricky. Sometimes you nail it. Other times you get very little to work with. Just keep trying and if baby gets fussy, just stop and try another day. Some times very happy babies refuse to smile even though their mom or dad really want a smiling picture. It’s all just a part of the deal.
I started off not wanting to spend much, so my camera is not the best camera out there, but it is pretty great. Here is what I shoot with most days.
- Nikon D90 This camera has been replaced so it recently dropped in price. It makes me sad for my future selling of this body, but happy for anyone looking for an awesome camera on a budget.
- Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens but this budget-friendly version was my first 50 mm lens and I did love it too!
- Grey card
- Backdrop stand, clamps and muslin backdrop cloths
- Ikea’s Ofelia Blanket
- A piece of white wainscoting
Disclaimer: Some affiliate links included.