Babies grow so fast. There are so many monumental things to document nearly every day, like their first bath, their first smile, the first time they pee all over the wall above the changing table. And who is it that rushes to grab the camera 9 times out of, well, 9? Mom. Scrolling through the bajillions of images in our gaggle of Shutterfly albums of pictures taken throughout Kendall’s relatively short life so far, one would think the kid grew up with a single parent. Here’s dad holding you at the hospital, here he is again giving you a bath, here he is changing you, here he is reading you a story, here he is swinging you upside down, here he is showing you what a beer looks like… oh wait… who is that?? She looks… well, it’s hard to tell. She’s not really looking at the camera, and the angle is a little weird, but it appears that, for a very brief moment in your life, you may have had a mother!
Now, I have to admit, I’m not the world’s easiest subject these days. Like most new moms, I’m self conscious about what pictures are taken, and for the first few months of Kendall’s life I was topless at any given time, so I can’t blame Scott for not being the perfect shutterbug back then. He has become better as the months go by, but only because I’ve taken several opportunities to say, “HERE. Take some pictures of him with ME. Please.” The problem with that is the moment has usually passed. So, yes, of course there are pictures of me and Kendall, just not as many and not as fun as the ones of him with his dad.
That’s why I’ve enlisted the expert advice of Mollie from Photography In Bloom for this post. As you may recall, Mollie took some amazing pictures of Kendall a couple months ago. Here’s her advice on how to take great pictures of not only the new little one’s in your life, but also of the mommies that are spending their hours rocking, feeding, shooshing and staring in amazement, who don’t have the time or the energy to beg you to take pictures of these small moments, and who will greatly appreciate them when they crawl out of the sleep deprived haze they were in for the first three months to finally look at them. Mom’s new and expecting – print this out, email it, whatever you have to do to give your partner that extra nudge they need to find and get comfortable with the camera.
rule #1 – get down on their level!!
babies and kids photograph best when you get down to their level! not only will you get better eye contact, but when you get down with them, older kids will immediately see you as their play pal and give you a big genuine smile!!
rule #2 – find great natural light!
natural light is best when possible to get those great skin tones and colors. when indoors, be sure to face your subject towards the source of light to get even lighting and avoid harsh shadows on faces. when outside, seek shade! direct sunlight will make kids squint like crazy and shade offers a great even soft light. if you can’t get a ton of sunlight for your pics, don’t worry! break out your flash and capture cute candid moments whenever you can. fun everyday moments can often highlight your child’s personality better than any lighting can.
rule #3- keep it clean!
before you snap the shot, take a quick look at the background in your viewfinder. are there distracting patterns? a floral couch pulling attention from your sweet baby or perhaps a tree in the background that looks like it could be growing out of your wife’s head? be sure to take pictures with a non distracting and neutral background. soft neutral colored blankets make a great backdrop for tiny babies and birth announcements!
rule #4- you look great!
angles are key to flattering pictures. take the picture from slightly above or have your wife turn a bit to the side to show off her curves. girls, we all know the old ‘hold your arm slightly away from our body’ trick to keep our upper arms from looking like ham hocks, but when taking a full body shot, try crossing your feet slightly in front of each other (think ballet class!). it gives your legs great angles and curves and takes away from that no so flattering thigh on thigh action.
Thanks again to Mollie! Now… no more excuses.
Kendall is 5 days shy of 6 months old