Doesn’t it feel like your babies grow up fast, one moment your waking up for nighttime feeds and the next they are walking, talking and developing a character. Capturing all the precious little moments on camera is the obvious way preserve your family memories, however, taking good photos of babies and children isn’t always that easy.
Follow the advice of award-winning baby and child photographers, Faye and Trevor Yerbury, courtesy of Nikon for creating the best results every time.
Make sure your subject is calm and comfortable, Trevor advises not to build a child’s expectations and excitement levels by telling them they are going to be photographed – instead speak calmly and slowly.
Try to only photograph babies and children when they are at their best – try to avoid a photography session if they are tired have a cold as you may only end up with grumpy shots.
Children do need to have fun while they are being photographed, says Faye, so allow for plenty of time and have patience.
Get them involved by showing them the images on the camera, or better still letting them take some photos themselves.
Don’t say cheese!
Never tell a child they must smile for the camera, as you’ll end up with a classic artificial ‘school photo’ look. If you can interact with the child naturally, a good photo opportunity will usually emerge.
Children will react in a difficult way if they are continually requested to smile, as this is alien to them.
Set a scene
If you are photographing a baby indoors, Faye recommends finding where the light is best, as soft gentle light is much preferred. Your bed covered in ruffled white sheets is the ideal location; if not then try the floor near to a window with soft light.
You could use a sheet or christening shawl, as your background as it will provide a nice neutral frame and it will also act as a reflector around the baby, helping to reduce shadows.
If you have the patience, wait for the baby to drop of to sleep and then you will get some beautiful, serene images. Remember it’s not just the face of a baby; also capture the little details like hands and feet.
Faye adds that you shouldn’t always stand above children to shoot down on them, come down to their eye level and don’t be afraid to zoom in tight on the child’s face; – sometimes, this will capture some unique and natural expressions.
For toddlers try going outside: garden sheds, old doorways, stonework and large trees make interesting backgrounds.
Try not to photograph during the middle of a hot, sunny summer’s day as you will get the child squinting and the light will be very harsh. Also at this time of day the light has a blue cast so if you can wait until later in the day the light will be softer and warmer.
Keep it natural
Try to pick up your camera when you see moments about to occur. Do not expect a child to sit down and pose for you, they want to enjoy themselves, so you must wait for the right moment, especially when capturing action shots.
Allow children to express themselves and have fun while you keep your finger on the shutter, ever ready to capture that moment. Shoot lots, it is digital, therefore it’s not costing you anything.