5 TIPS FOR BETTER BABY PHOTOS AT HOME | WINSTON SALEM PHOTOGRAPHER
MARCH 27, 2019
Hey mama, what a weird time we’re living in! Chances are you’re stuck at home and running low on house projects.. (jk the projects never end!) With the “Stay at Home” rule now being enforced pretty heavily due to COVID-19, I figured you may have a little extra time on your hands this weekend to get some updated photos of your little one(s)! I’m so excited to share these tips with you all, because it’s no surprise that I love taking photos of my daughter – she’s my favorite model!
Check out this amazing Before and After example from a mom who used these tips!
“I had tried to work my new camera over and over again with Youtube videos and all that did was frustrate and confuse me. I spent 20 minutes getting tips about settings from Courtney, and my photos looked professional!”
I recently saw an image with a caption that I maybe took a little too personally. It was about how a new mom didn’t have the time, energy, or resources to take beautiful photos of her child, and she preferred her photos because they weren’t so orchestrated with the perfect lighting, outfits, or background. I felt upset because it’s not that I have the time or energy, I make the time, while chugging a large coffee for energy, because these photos, these milestones, are important to me. And I know they are to you, too! You deserve frame-worthy photos!
This doesn’t mean all my photos are this thought out or frame-worthy. Do I have way too many iPhone photos that are horrible lighting that mean just as much to me, yep! However, I want to share these tips, because I understand that looking at a photo of a well-lit, smiling baby can seem daunting if you don’t know where to start.
So let me help you! Here are my 5 tips for getting better photos of your baby at home:
1. Lighting – Indoors
I always tell my families that book in-home newborn sessions that lighting can make or break your photos. With that being said, this photo tip is the most important (and lengthiest). Having amazing natural light is crucial to getting those light and airy photos. Along with great window light, be sure to turn any overhead lights off. These lights can cast unflattering shadows on your baby.
Find the best window light in your house! Is it in your dining room? SWEET, who cares! Because the beauty is, no one knows that you stood on your dining room chair to take the photo – they’re too distracted at the amazing lighting you got from your dining room windows!
Once you’ve found a great source of light, instead of placing baby’s back towards the light, place them so that the light comes in sideways if they’re sitting or above them if they’re laying down. Don’t place your baby too close to the window, because this will create harsh shadows. Instead, go a couple feet away from the window. I usually find something to bounce some light to fill in the shadows created from the window. Get creative with something white that will reflect the light back onto your baby. I’ve used a pillow with a white pillow case, a white sheet hanging over a chair, a piece of white foam board, and I’ve purchased THIS reflector that works wonders.
2. Lighting – Outdoors
With the weather getting nicer each day, you may want to head outside for some photos. If you do, head outside during the last hour or two that you have sun during the day. This prevents harsh shadows from the sun above (much like the overhead lighting indoors) because the sun is now going down. Keep the sun behind you, and try to stay in a shaded area if possible to avoid harsh light.
It may seem easier to just take a photo of your child on the multicolored quilt they’re already playing on, but for a better, more classic image, move them to a light/neutral colored, solid background. A white fluffy blanket is always my go-to, especially if your baby is lying down.
If your baby is sitting, taking photos in front of their crib, or in their crib is always an option. You can also use a plain, light colored wall behind them. This helps with any distractions and makes sure the focus is on your baby!
As with backgrounds, you’ll want to opt for lighter colored clothing. Similar to when you have family portraits taken, too many patterns can be distracting, and bright colors often reflect onto the skin – which is, you bet, unflattering!
Here are a few of my favorite options for clothing – and the best part is, they all arrive at your home in just a couple of days!
5. Test out angles
If you’re shooting from above, try to avoid shooting up the nostrils. Instead, stand directly over your baby. Another favorite angel is to get down on baby’s level. If you do this, ensure your background isn’t busy since it will likely be in the photos. Placing your blanket next to a window and a light colored wall is a great option!
Keep props to a minimal – these can be distracting to the eye and clutter the image
Jump in the photos, mom! If you’re like me, you’re always behind the phone or camera, not in front of it. Use this downtime to jump in a few!
Turn your flash off. Whether you’re using a DSLR or an iPhone, turn the flash off.
Minimize posing, just let your baby play. Don’t get caught up in trying to do fancy poses. Capturing them in a natural way is beautiful and way less stressful!