“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Gerber Baby. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
How hard is it to get a good picture of your baby? Really hard, huh? They never sit still, they never look at you when you’re ready to take the picture, they never smile until after you’ve taken the picture. Who can relate? Well, I’ve been a photographer for a LOT of years, you don’t want to know how many, and I have some tips for you. I LOVE taking pictures of busy babies! So maybe some of my tips will help you out.
These tips are for a beginner photographer, with your camera set on portrait mode. If you would like more detail about how to change your manual camera settings for babies, check out this article. She does the same things I do.
I don’t usually do an ‘only baby’ photo shoot. I usually do a family photo shoot so the siblings and parents of the baby are there. This helps me out a lot in getting the baby to smile. They are always comfortable when they see mommy’s face. You taking pictures of your own baby might be a little more tricky. Because you are the one holding the camera, playing ‘peek-a-boo’ to get their attention. Then you get blurry, off center, half smiles. Right? So this is what I’ve learned.
1. Use a Tri-Pod, sometimes. I say sometimes, because maybe you have a really busy baby and they want to crawl all over the place. A tri-pod won’t work for them because they will get really mad at you picking them up and putting them back in their place. They might even yell at you! Ha Ha! Using a tri-pod is really effective if you have a baby that can only sit, not crawl. Then you can set up your shot and really play ‘peek-a-boo’ with them to get them to smile. I always hide my face behind the camera and peek around it to get them to look at me. Make silly faces and sounds. Anything to get their eyes on you. When using a tri-pod, you can also have your hands free to tickle, use puppets, snap and clap. I love my tri-pod and use it all the time. The picture above was taken with a tri-pod and mommy was talking to baby right over my left shoulder.
2. Use a remote trigger when using the tri-pod. This is a no-brainer. If you’re camera can have a remote trigger connected to it or you can use an app from your phone as a remote trigger, use it! (Check your user manual to find out if your camera can use a remote trigger). This way you can move away from your camera and get the baby to look at you easier. They don’t need to be looking at the camera, right? Just look at these cute pictures looking away from the camera. I still totally love them!
3. Don’t use a tri-pod, sometimes. Yep. Most babies are way too busy to just sit where you want them to sit. No way are they going to stay. This is when a fast shutter speed comes in handy. Try to keep it 1/200th of a second or faster if you can. If it’s too dark you can increase your ISO or even push your Aperture up a little. If you’re not confident with shutter speeds and your photos are coming out blurry because your baby is moving too fast, you might try setting your camera to ‘sports mode’. This is when knowing how to use your camera comes in really handy.
4. Leave the baby alone and just follow them around. This is when I get my most favorite images.The image below was taken after I had followed the him around for a while and just played with him. He sat still for a second and I just said his name and he looked up at me. I was ready.
5. Use toys and don’t worry if they are in the picture. My favorite toy is a soft ball. The older babies love to throw it to me and see if I can catch it. I always catch a smile when they see how ridiculous I am at catching it (on purpose). I had the ball back and say “Ok throw it to me!” They smile because they are having fun. And my camera on the tri-pod was ready and waiting. The younger babies love to watch me throw it up in the air and catch it. Then I just put the ball on the top of the camera and they look right at it with a hopeful look and SNAP. Done.
6. Use Automatic Focus on your lens. Most of the time the baby’s are moving around too quickly for you to fuss with Manual focus. Just keep it on auto. You’ll get sharper images that way.
7. Keep it simple. Seriously. How many of you are going to look back at the pictures of your baby and say, “Oh, look at that cute suitcase in the background!” NO, you are going to be looking at your cute baby and dying over how big he’s gotten. Just keep it simple. A cute chair for them to sit on and the natural background of the park are perfect for portraits. We want the focus on the baby.
8. Have a point of reference for how big they are. This sounds silly, but I love seeing how little they were in the pictures and if there is something for me to compare them to, it helps. Use the same teddy bear, chair, or even better, mommy and daddy’s legs. 🙂
9. Pay attention to your lighting. I’m not sure if you have a flash unit or not that you can use but my preference is to limit the use of your camera’s built in flash. If you do have an external flash and you’re shooting inside – bounce it off a roof/wall (if they are white) or use a diffuser to give indirect light. Otherwise try to find situations that are well lit with natural light. This is the best kind of light. If you can do it in natural light you’re putting yourself in the position to not have to worry too much about your flash. If you’re shooting into the sun though – consider using your flash to give a little fill flash light.
Now that I’ve given away my trade secrets, how about you go out and practice? Then I’d love for you to join the Gerber “Be Our Baby” Photo Search at Gerber.com/Photosearch and enter your baby to win the Grand Prize of $50,000, one year of Gerber food and the chance for your child to star in a future advertisement for Gerber as the 2014 spokesbaby! You can enter the search from now until November 12, 2014.
Just head over to Gerber.com and upload a favorite, recent photo of your Gerber baby. The Photo Search is for children up to 48 months of age. Only recent photos will be accepted. They must have been taken within 30 days of the submission in order to qualify. In addition, Gerber is awarding $5,000 to six winners in each Milestone category. Winners will be chosen based on the highest number of votes in each category on MyGerber.
The Milestone Categories are Birth+, Supported Sitter, Sitter, Crawler, Toddler, Toddler 2+.
You can register at Gerber.com for a MyGerber account. MyGerber is a free program that takes you on a guided journey that helps make early childhood nutrition simpler. MyGerber is packed with tailored content, personalized features, and interactive tools to help you nourish your baby right, right from the start. MyGerber.com is a great resource for nutrition guidance, tracking your baby’s growth and access to Gerber experts.
Voting will begin November 17th and ends on December 14th. Anyone can cast votes for the six Milestone categories and the Gerber panel of judges will select the Grand Prize Winner from all eligible photo entries in January 2015.
Pictures will be judged on (1) visual appeal of the child in the photo; (2)expressiveness of the child in the photo; and (3) consistency with Gerber’s heritage and mission.
What are some things you’ve learned by taking photos of your baby?