From the moment they are born, your baby will change dramatically in the first few years of life. Capturing your baby and toddler’s image with photography is an important way of remembering these special moments for the future.
Amy from Amy Tong Photography shares some of her top tips for taking beautiful images of your baby and toddler from the comfort of your own home.
Any photographer will tell you that the most important aspect of any photograph is lighting.
● Turn off your flash. The on camera flash on your camera creates a harsh light and is very unflattering. Turn off your flash and use natural light for a much nicer result.
● Angle your light. The angle of light hitting your baby’s face is one of the most important elements of taking better photos. Sit your baby next to a large light source (door or window) and angle them slightly towards the light. Look for a reflection in the eyes of your baby (known as a “catchlight”) at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock in the eye to know that you’ve got the right angle.
● When taking photos outdoors, try to avoid the bright midday sun as it creates harsh shadows. The best time to take photos is in the “magic hour” before sunset when the light is beautiful and soft.
General Tips & Tricks
● Get nice and close and down to the level of your child. This changes the perspective of the photo completely and makes their face and expression the feature of the image
● Try to avoid distracting backgrounds. A plain wall or grass is all you need to frame your image. If you know how, set your aperture (f/ stop) to a smaller number (say around f/2.8) to blur the background and make your child the focus of the image
● To capture genuine smiles and expressions from your child you will need to engage with them from behind the lens. There’s nothing worse than a posed photo of a toddler or older child where the photographer has asked them to “say cheese”. For older babies and children, capture their attention by photographing them when they are doing an activity they enjoy. For babies, a squeaky toy can do wonders. For toddlers, a great idea is blowing bubbles.
● Keep them happy. The time to capture great images in when they are well rested after a nap, aren’t hungry, hot or cold.
● Keep it short and sweet. For older babies and children, their short attention span means that you will need to be super quick to capture great images of them before they get bored or distracted. Get your camera ready first then take lots of photos in a quick burst – you’re more likely to get a winner.
● Print them out! In this digital age, it’s easy to leave our photographs on a card or on our phones. The main problem with this is that they are easily lost (make sure you back them up with several copies! It’s not a matter of if your phone or hard disk will be lost or fail, but when). Get professional-grade prints of your favourite images or a nice idea is to get an annual book printed with your favourite images from the year. Your children will thank you for it in the future.
● Make a date. Being a parent is a very time-consuming job. The days and weeks seem to fly by in a blur. Make sure you don’t miss capturing each stage of your baby or child’s growth by making a point of photographing them at regular intervals. Make an appointment in your diary for the same time each month.
Amy Tong is a newborn and baby photographer. She lives in Balmain, NSW with her husband and 2 young children. She enjoys the daily challenge of juggling her busy photography business and family life. She gets a thrill from capturing precious moments with photography and has a weakness for chocolate chip muffins.