This weekend we went to my aunt’s and took some photos. A few family shots potentially for our photo Christmas card this year, but mostly for Connor’s 6 month photos. He’s getting so big and growing up so fast! They turned out really cute but I don’t think we quite have ‘the one’ for our Holiday Card this year.
Lucky for me…we have a few professional photographers on staff so I went and talked to one of them today, Brent, for a few ideas and tips for Connor’s next photo shoot.
His tips for us today…
The first thing that comes to mind when photographing babies is patience, patience, patience. Don’t expect to get a good shot in a couple of minutes. You are at the baby’s mercy and on their schedule. Be flexible, if the baby is sleeping or crying you can still get some great shots.
- Use a plain solid colored background, stay away from patterned blankets. This draws attention away from the main subject.
- Get down on their level. Get down on the floor and shoot from different angles.
- Sleeping shots- If you want some shots of them sleeping lay them down for a nap on the floor where you can do some shots with plenty of room around them.
- Take a lot of shots, you won’t get it on the first shot.
- Capture their different moods, whether that is crying or smiling.
- Experiment with natural light. Put your baby by a window and use the light coming in. Sometimes the flash from a camera will take away all your shadows in the face.
- Zoom in, try close ups that are cropped really tight.
- Shoot hands and feet, put something in the shot to show how big (or small) the hands and feet really are, like a parent’s hand.
- Take one shot with a favorite stuffed animal, you can take this shot every month or so to see how your baby has grown. When they get older it will be fun to show them how they have grown compared to the stuffed animal.
Now if you’re a little more advanced (not me) and have control of the camera yourself, here are his suggestions for you.
Use a fast shutter speed for babies 6 months to 1 year old. They don’t stop moving. Many digital cameras set on auto use 1/60th of a second for the shutter speed, set your camera to shutter priority or manual and use 1/125th to 1/250th. Be careful over 1/250th and make sure your flash will sync that fast (look in your manual under flash instructions if you don’t understand this).
Another tip is to be aware of the background. Watch for shadows, if you are interested in a blurry background use as low of aperture setting as possible, F4 or lower is good. You can do this by setting your camera on manual or aperture priority. If you set it to aperture priority then your shutter speed may change.
Finally, experiment BEFORE you do the actual photo shoot. Try different things and see what it looks like. It is difficult to see the results of aperture and shutter speed when viewing images on the camera LCD, if you have the option look at your test shots on a computer screen to be sure you are getting the results you want.
Remember patience, patience and more patience!
A little about Brent…
Like film in a bath of darkroom chemicals, Brent Johnson’s passion for photography developed over time. He began to explore the area after meeting his birth mother (Brent is adopted), who put a camera in his hand and encouraged him. He later attended the School of Communications Arts in Minneapolis, which exposed him to every type of photography. A professional photographer for 19 years, Brent got his start in darkroom work, then shot team, group and commercial photography for a photo studio. He left to become a staff photographer for a large national company and was promoted to manager of the studio, which is 100% digital. Today, his favorite subjects are sporting activities (I enjoy trying to represent motion with still photography) and his wife and three children — ages 10, 7 and 5.
So, hopefully you all have been having a great week! If you have any questions for Brent or the rest of our professional photography staff, please email me and I’ll get in touch with him (them)!