How to take professional looking photos of your child and baby
Pick the right time. Studios set aside 1 to 3 hours to take a child’s photo, so you should set aside at least an hour. Your child also needs to be at his or her best during the shoot, so don’t attempt to try right before or after a nap or when they might be tired or hungry.
Set up a home studio. Create your environment first by creating a studio-like setting in your house. Clear away the clutter, put away toys, and remove anything else that is distracting from the area, such as plants and chairs. Then use a backdrop in a neutral tone – Jennifer Loomis recommends a big piece of black velvet. You can use a white wall too (but no sunlight falling on the wall.). You are trying to create a consistent tone.
What to photograph? Ask yourself “what do I like about my child and what makes him/her different” – is it a smile, a furrowed brow, their feet, how they hug their sibling? Resist the temptation to say “everything” and get specific on just a few things. Write them down – these will provide inspiration for your photos.
Learn to see good light. Use of light is a key to great photographs. Start by turning off the flash on the camera. Find a decently sized window with indirect light (no sun shining on the floor). Position your child at a 90% angle to the window (no back to window, but shoulders squared to the window). Make a note of the time when the light will be at its best.
Dress the subject appropriately. The child’s clothing should be solid colors without branding, patterns or writing on it; no white; in a different color than the backdrop. Depending on the age of child, you might consider taking picture of child without shirt or taking off the shoes because childrens’ feet are so cute.
Use props. If there is something that is important to a child, such as a teddy bear or blanket, Jennifer Loomis recommends taking a few pictures with the item to capture the memory.
Enlist help if needed. If photographing a toddler, you might need a second person assisting you to get the child to be more focused and participate. Work on getting your child to connect with you.
Get creative and experiment. Try framing your images using different distances such as wide, medium and tight, but don’t forget to pay attention to your background. Physically move in and stand back from the subject vs. using the zoom lens, as you will better connect with the subject. Try getting in tight when photographing smaller body parts, such as the nose, the foot, etc. If you are using film (not digital) try some black and white film shots too.