A guest post by Susan Black
Babies have the transformative power of kryptonite. There is nothing funnier than watching a tough, leather-clad, motorcycle riding hulk, suddenly morph into a cooing, grinning, nonsense-spouting hulk, in the presence of a toddler. Or how about the completely un-self conscious “face pulling” performed by strangers in line at the grocery store in an effort to entertain a child in a cart? Seeing a baby smile makes everyone happy, and in everyday situations, as long as the little person is not too tired or uncomfortable in some other way, babies will smile repeatedly. So why is it so difficult to get them to smile when you want to take their photograph? Capturing that perfect still image with your offspring can be a truly frustrating experience, both for you and your baby. Here are a few tips to help you and your child smile through the whole process.
1. Natural Light is Your Friend
Bright lights, loud noise, and sudden movement, especially in the first few months of any child’s life, can be very disturbing. The new world that they have emerged into is a lot to take. Consequently, as a new parent photographing a baby, avoid using your flash bulb at all times. Instead, find areas of natural light. Areas where the light shifts over time are preferable. That way, you can leave your little person in one place, while reaping the photographic rewards of an environment that is subtly shifting over time, as the sun changes position.
2. Bigger is Better
Go in close with your photographs or try an entire session in macro mode. Work with a long lens, so you do not have to impose the camera on your child’s space. As the great architect Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details”. Whether you believe in God or not, there is no denying that the little parts that make up your little person are as wonderful as the whole. While everyone wants that perfect smiling shot, remember to take photographs of other body parts as well. They sometimes make for the most compositionally interesting shots, and they can also serve as a great chronicle of your child’s growth. Shooting body parts close-up can also serve as practice for more portrait-style photographs. [Read more...]