Tips for photographing your baby like a pro


Babies: So little, so cute, so... incredibly hard to photograph. Your bundle of joy might be adorable, but capturing that on camera can be challenging.

We talked to two pros, Erika Williams of Just Peachy Photography in Palatine and Megan Drane of Firefly Nights Photography in Naperville, to get the scoop on taking studio-quality photos at home.


Ditch the iPhone

Smartphones might be convenient and great for sharing your little one's growth on Facebook, but their slow shutter speed means they're not going to produce high-quality photos. If you can, get a digital SLR camera, although Drane says not to spend that money unless you're planning to learn how to use it. Both photographers recommend a 50 mm lens. But don't despair if you have a point-and-shoot.


Light it up

"Nobody's born knowing how to work with light," Drane says. If you're having trouble telling where the light is, look for the reflective glare in your baby's eyes. Take advantage of your windows, whether they're in the master bedroom or the bathroom (Williams' favorite spot in her home). You don't want the day to be too sunny; Drane says cloudy days can produce a great soft light, and suggests taking photos about two to three hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset. Make sure to turn your baby toward the light, but not directly into it-Williams suggests a 45-degree angle.


Go au natural

The trend might be to plop your baby in a basket, but both photographers recommend leaving the crazy poses to the pros. "The more naturally occurring position, the better," Drane says. Williams suggests taking advantage of the moments that naturally happen. Don't freak out if your baby starts to cry mid-photoshoot; that picture can be just as cute. And make sure the background is clear and uncluttered.


Ages and stages

Newborns: Swaddle them in a solid-colored receiving blanket or leave them naked (if they start to wiggle, though, get ready for a shower). It's probably best to let them sleep. Place the baby on their back, and then position yourself directly over the baby. Make sure you're not looking up their nose.

3 months: If they can hold their head up, put them on their belly, with their fists in front of their chin for support. Get down on their level, on your stomach, and take the photos head-on. You want them to be awake to see their expression.

6 months: Once they're able to sit on their own, you can have fun with clothes and accessories. Act crazy and try to get them to laugh or smile. It might be a good idea to have someone else there to help keep their attention.


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