Baby Photography: Baby’s First Year of Portraits
|March 3, 2012||Posted by admin under Photography|
Babies change so drastically in the first year that an entire book could be written on how to handle photographing your child during this time. Here are some poses to sample and expand upon for the first year of baby’s life.
A baby who can’t sit up, look up or even hold her head up is a real challenge. Of course, this is also the shear beauty of the age, and one of the shortest-lived stages. Therefore, photographing these early days is essential. To artistically express the intense love you have for your newborn, try some of these poses. Using a completely black backdrop (or sheet, or large piece of fabric), have someone hold the baby with his stomach resting on the forearm and his face resting in the hand.
It’s best to have this person dress in all black to keep anything from distracting from your subject. Set your camera up on a tripod a couple of feet away, and zoom in to include only the baby and part of the person’s arm. The only background that should be seen is the black backdrop. When your camera is ready, remove the baby’s diaper. This picture looks even better if the baby is asleep and resting peacefully in the arm of a loved one.
Another option is to place a completely white blanket or sheet on your bed. Lay your baby on her side, either dressed or naked (remember, this is a pose for a picture, not how you should put your baby to sleep under normal circumstances). Scatter a handful of rose petals, or any other favorite flower of yours, around the baby. You will need an overhead perspective, so find a way to position yourself over the baby, and take the picture.
Other choices for posing with a newborn are to include the most important people in the baby’s life in the picture. Place the baby near his mommy’s bosom, and capture the security he finds there. Lay her on a pillow across Big Sister’s lap, and photograph the love they have for each other. Snap a shot of the sparkle in Grandpa’s eyes as he snuggles with his newest grandchild.
While the above suggestions can still apply here, babies of this age have developed from peaceful and passive to active and excited. These are the emotions we want our pictures to express of our children at this age. The intense curiosity and aggressive desire to become a contributor to their environment are what we want to remember. Keep that in mind when setting up your photographs.
This is a marvelous age to capture baby’s first times on her belly. She will hold her head up, maybe only briefly at first, and reach for toys nearby. The best position for your camera is as close to the floor as your baby is. This can be difficult, so if you need to put baby up higher to gain this perspective, that is fine, and can be further improved by getting down even lower than your baby and shooting upward. This pose alone can be intriguing, but put a favorite toy in front of her, and you will forever preserve that scowl she makes when she intently studies a newly discovered toy. Peek-a-boo around the camera, or have a loved one help you out to get that precious smile, if he will give it to you. If not, don’t push it. Just because he isn’t smiling doesn’t mean it isn’t a good picture!
Cover a pillow or, even better, a nursing pillow, with a sheet or backdrop of your choice. This will prop baby up just enough to get a good angle with your camera. Again, you will want to get low to the ground. If you have an older sibling you want to include, prop baby up on the bed, towards the edge (with a responsible adult nearby, of course), and position the sibling directly behind her.
Baby Photography Tips and Lighting Setup
Sitting up and crawling are the milestones of this age. A video camera is not the only way to record your baby’s new mobility. With the theme of movement and action in mind, you can portray these exciting skills in a still shot. Perspective will, again, be very important, so stretch out and practice your squats because you will need to get down low to baby’s level.
Something to keep in mind in these pictures, as well as any others, is that it’s all in the eyes. What you want to look for is anything that will give your baby that gleam of excitement and determination. Place a toy far enough out of her reach to encourage her to move toward it. Whatever method of transportation she favors is fine. From scooting, rolling, going backward, or even actually crawling are fine, you will love the memory of her ingenuity! With the level of mobility he has at this age, keep baby on the floor for safety sake.
Draping a backdrop or sheet over the couch is a nice way to achieve that photo-studio look at a much cheaper price. Sit baby a couple of feet away from the edge of the couch and snap, whistle, jingle keys or just say her name to gain her attention. Smiles come much easier at this age, so any encouragement you can give him to smile will create a photograph to treasure. Of course, if smiles don’t come easy, and that just isn’t the personality of your baby, take the picture of the face you see every day, as this will be the memory you enjoy more.
Another wonderful achievement at this age is the ability to self-feed. Messy as this may be, it is still a precious picture. Whatever your baby’s feeding milestones are at the time, they are big ones and always deserving of a picture. One word of warning: watch out for flying food, as this will not be good for your camera.
Ten Months to One Year
Crawling is old hat, feeding, while still messy, is a regular event, so now we need to photograph one of the most important learning curves in your baby’s life: Walking! Not just the first steps, as the chances of you actually having your camera poised when this grand event occurs is highly unlikely, but all of the trials it took to get to those first steps. Babies at this age are very good at pulling themselves up to standing on all sorts of objects; so let your imagination go wild in choosing props for these pictures. An adorable child’s rocking chair, the railing on your patio, a park bench, even a fallen tree in your backyard will work.
The possibilities are endless, and the camera angles can be changed to alter the feel of the photo. An eye-level photograph gives the intimate feeling of being close to baby’s achievement, an overhead shot reminds the viewer of truly how small your little one is, and an upward angle gives baby a valiant appearance.
An all time favorite is the picture of a loved one holding their arms out to baby as he hesitantly takes a few awkward steps toward him. Even a picture of a crying baby on her bum who has just fallen in a failed attempt to walk is adorable. The best thing about this age is that you can really get out and hit the town to your favorite places to take baby’s pictures. Be sure to take along an extra pair of hands to help you out so you can concentrate on the photography.
There will always be wonderful photo opportunities throughout your child’s life, and this article by no means is to take away from all these times after the first year. The point is that your child will never change so much as he will in the first year of life, and you will need many tricks up your sleeve to record all of the milestones he will face during this time.
Take these ideas and run with them, as there are many, many more ways to emphasize the emotion of each stage of development.
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