Monday, April 26, 2010
Ten Tips For Better Baby Photos—04/26/10
Newborn babies make for once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities
1. Work fast. Babies are sleepy and harder to disturb in the first week of life. A sleepy newborn makes for the ideal subject, and one who’s just been fed won’t complain much either. New babies also have that distinctly "newborn" look, which goes away fairly quickly. In a month, you’ll be amazed at how your baby looks like a whole new kid.
2. Shoot lots and lots. The upside of your baby’s rapid physical development is that the pictures you take today will show a baby who doesn’t look much like the baby of tomorrow. That means it’s good to keep shooting, making lots of pictures of your baby’s progress every step of the way.
3. Use window light. It’s soft, bright and beautiful—especially for lighting newborn babies. Plus, bright strobes might disturb the infant, and hot lights could be too hot. North-facing windows provide ideal, non-direct soft light.
4. Use a telephoto lens. The shallower depth of field and compression from a telephoto lens will simplify compositions and help you fill the frame with baby. Minimize distractions to put the focus on that cute little face.
5. Use a macro lens. Even better than filling the frame with baby’s face, a macro lens lets you get unbelievably close and intimate detail shots of tiny fingers and toes, or baby’s little nose or sleeping face. A macro lens is a surefire way to create special once-in-a-lifetime photos.
6. Keep the baby warm. Crank up the heat to make sure baby is warm and toasty and comfortable—especially if you’ll be taking pictures of a bare baby. If it’s a little too warm for grown-ups to be comfortable, it should be just right for baby.
7. Keep it simple. Unless your family name is Geddes, you may have better luck with simple shots of baby in mother’s arms or surrounded by simple white towels or linens than with constructing an elaborate set or an alternate reality out of bizarre props. Besides, what baby doesn’t make for a cute-enough photograph on his own?
8. If you’d like to do something a little more flashy, dress up the baby in a simple costume—just a cute hat or patterned jammies will go a long way toward those "awww" moments when you show your photos to family and friends.
9. Keep it light and bright. Overexpose to create a soft, high-key look, and use white linens and simple light backgrounds to generally keep the feel bright and soft for the most flattering photos of the baby.
10. Make it perfect in post. If there are any imperfections in the scene, or the backgrounds, or in the hands that may be holding the newborn, simple retouches in postproduction with the Clone stamp or the Spot Healing brush can make baby’s first pictures perfect, without taking them to unreal. Of course, a friend of mine says it’s all much easier if you have the most beautiful baby in the world like she does!