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.

Try different tricks for different ages and don’t be afraid to ditch that smartphone.

Ditch the iPhone

Smartphones might be convenient and great for sharing yourlittle one’s growth on Facebook, but their slow shutter speed meansthey’re not going to produce high-quality photos. If you can, get adigital SLR camera, although Drane says not to spend that moneyunless you’re planning to learn how to use it. Both photographersrecommend a 50 mm lens. But don’t despair if you have apoint-and-shoot.

Light it up

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

Go au natural

The trend might be to plop your baby in a basket, but bothphotographers recommend leaving the crazy poses to the pros. “Themore naturally occurring position, the better,” Drane says.Williams suggests taking advantage of the moments that naturallyhappen. Don’t freak out if your baby starts to cry mid-photoshoot;that picture can be just as cute. And make sure the background isclear and uncluttered.

Ages and stages

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

3 months: If they can hold their head up, putthem on their belly, with their fists in front of their chin forsupport. Get down on their level, on your stomach, and take thephotos head-on. You want them to be awake to see theirexpression.

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

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