No matter if you are a professional or amateur photographer. One of the most difficult tasks that any photographer can take on is photographing newborns. It is not only that babies are tiny and wiggly, but also that they cannot be posed. This article will take you through 12 keys to photographing newborns.
Here are some tips for taking excellent photographs of newborns.
i. The first step to taking excellent photographs of newborns is to have your camera set to manual. This will allow you to set the aperture and the shutter speed to suit your lighting conditions. Invariably, when photographing newborns, you will find that your shots will all be lit by soft light. While the family’s living room is filled with direct sunlight coming through the windows. It is imperative that your shutter speed should match one of these two conditions. If it does not, your picture may come out blurry.
ii. Try to capture the moment. This means keeping your camera still until after the baby falls asleep. If you inadvertently keep moving your camera. You will find that the baby will wake up and open his or her eyes. And just when you are beginning to produce a good shot, it will close them again. Try to remain patient and wait for the right moment before clicking the shutter.
iii. If you have a telephoto lens, try using it instead of having your baby in the center of the frame. This is because newborn babies are sensitive to bright lights so they tend to be squinting. Or looking away from bright lights at different times. When you photograph them from a distance, you will be able to capture these fleeting moments.
iv. If the subject is not in focus and there is no other way to get it right. Try using a fast film such as ISO 400. This will help you get the shot faster than having to adjust your aperture or shutter speed. Of course, if you want to take good pictures of babies, you should keep your camera set on manual anyway.
v. Try different poses when photographing newborns. You might want to put them up on a bed of pillows with their body slightly curled up. Or with one hand upwards towards their face. These kinds of poses are good for producing interesting images. Keep in mind that newborns do not stay still for long so you need to act fast.
vi. When photographing newborns, if the light is too bright. Try using a white piece of cloth to block some of it out. This will help prevent your baby from squinting or crying while having his picture taken. Try placing the white cloth just at the right angle on your camera lens. While you are shooting so that it practically becomes part of the picture itself.
vii. The best way to ensure that your photograph is not blurry is to continue taking shots as the baby moves. This will allow the baby some time to settle down and give you more chances to click the shutter.
viii. It is best not to use flash when shooting infants. It might throw them off balance and cause them to cry or squint. Because all of their senses are coming online for the first time at the same time. So they cannot focus on both light and sound at once. This also works for newborn babies sleeping in their mothers’ arms. Which often tend to sleep with their faces towards light.
ix. If you want to take a picture of your baby sleeping, try putting them down on a bed. Putting a pillow behind your back and making sure that the room is dark. This way, they can sleep peacefully without any light bothering them.
x. When photographing babies in the crib, make sure they are safe from prams. Or rocking chairs that might knock them off balance or swing too close to the crib.
xi. If you have trouble using a flash on a baby’s face. Try using a bounce flash which has an umbrella-shaped flash unit attached to it. This will bounce the flash off the ceiling or any white wall in your house.
xii. Try to get close to the baby while still retaining that really close-up feeling of distance. This is usually done by zooming in or having an extremely wide-angle lens attached to your camera.
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REASON WHY PHOTOGRAPHING NEWBORNS CAN SEEM DIFFICULT
Many Photographers can attest to the fact that taking pictures of infants can seem a bit stressful. Due to the sensitiveness of an Infant or newborn’s skin when exposed to Camera lights. The main element in this aspect is to ensure that when taking pictures of newborns there are no major distractions in the background.
Lighting must also be controlled so as to be able to get pictures that are closest to reality since the skin tone of the Infant might appear brighter than normal skin tone.
Also, when trying to take pictures of infants in a studio environment. It is important that there is sufficient light present. Since flash may cause the skin complexion of an infant or newborns to appear pale thus reducing its natural beauty. It is recommended that the photographer should ensure that there is sufficient light present for several hours if possible. And also take into consideration the needs of the mother and father to be as well as other major factors. Such as whether it can be adjusted to fit their needs.
However, this is not an essential element; it is completely optional depending on what works best for each individual situation.
Lastly, since babies may not sleep well, it is recommended to give them a restless sleep so to help them stay asleep longer than usual. Although many will tend to disagree with the idea of giving the baby a restless sleep so as to attract more pictures, it is entirely up to each individual photographer on how they want to approach the situation. For example, it is said that babies need to be rocked or patted lightly on the back in soft rhythms which helps them go into a deeper sleep.
Most photographers take advantage of this by capturing the baby sleeping peacefully while being surrounded by their parents. This method is believed to cause an increase of pictures that are considered successful since there are no disturbances once the infant falls asleep.
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However, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the fact that newborns are often imbalanced in their sleep cycle. If you think that your newborn’s body may be sleeping in the wrong position, it is recommended that you quickly wake them up after capturing their photo in order to adjust their body into a better position.
For example, if there is something blocking your view when you are photographing an infant, remember to take an extra picture without saying anything about it.
Since newborns do not stay still for long, many photographers opt to use flash when taking pictures in order to make sure they do not squint or look away from the camera at all while they are sleeping. If you want to take pictures of an infant in the crib, make sure the room is well lit before moving them in there.
If you find yourself in a situation where your baby(newborn) is only awake for a few hours it is important to be able to get enough photos within that time frame.
It is recommended that you try to alternate taking regular photos with taking them when they are sleeping; put them in high key poses; photoshop certain areas of their face (dark circles under the eyes, etc.) and use many different perspectives (high angle/low angle/close up).