I normally don’t write much about how to take pictures because I’m not an expert photographer. I love photography but I’m not a great photographer even though I have learned a lot of things. I believe I have improved my photography greatly (read 5 simple things that will improve your photography) but I am so much behind in the creative department. I write this article however, because it is rare when I have the chance to see a good photographer up close and be able to learn a few things from him.
If you have a baby then take some great pictures!
Sometime ago, when our son was born we wanted to go to a photo studio and take some pictures of him while he was very little. We were very fortunate however that my friend John Mueller (visit John Mueller photography) offered to come and take pictures of our son as a gift to us. We said yes, of course. We were only used with standard photo studios so far and we didn’t know what a great photographer can do with a little baby. However, we were greatly impressed with John’s skill and creativity. In addition, I learned a few things myself about photographing infants. It is these things that I’ll be sharing in this article. Feel free to comment and share your own lessons.
1. Feed the baby, burp the baby and then hope he falls asleep.
It actually works ! At least it worked for us. Initially we tried a few pictures but he was not very sleepy, so he didn’t like it much. Eventually, my wife fed him and burped him and then he became very mellow and sleepy and amazingly compliant with all the positions we were trying on him. Other things that may help: keep the room somewhat warm, infants love heat and it makes them even more sleepy. Also, the smaller your baby is the more compliant he or she will be.
Infants are great subjects for photography, but if your subject is cranky and doesn’t want to be in the spotlight you will become frustrated very quickly. So, take care of your subject first…without him there is no picture!
Get the baby to sleep and he’ll pose for any picture in any posture.
2. Pay close attention to the light.
The light is the most important ingredient in photography. This is true not only for pictures of infants but for any type of photography. Our photographer has chosen to come around sunset time and we opened the blinds for some natural warm light to come into the room. This worked great for the most part. When the light was not enough, John brought some extra lights to use from some angles. John knew well how to use the light he had to obtain great pictures (check out John Mueller’s blog for some great examples of using the light in photography).
3. Have a dark colored background.
This applies to any type of portrait photography. John brought a black piece of felt material that worked great. These days you can do everything you want on the computer with your pictures. You can add any background if you want. However, having a simple dark colored background helps greatly with making the picture simple and making your subject stand out. We pinned the background with some thumb tacks on an empty wall and that’s how we created our little studio.
A dark background will make your subject stand out very easily.
4. Some simple creative props add life to your pictures.
John brought a few really cute outfits: an Eskimo outfit, a net and a small barrel. Some didn’t work well for our son since he was already pretty heavy and chubby. Others, however turned out to work very nicely and turned normal pictures into great pictures. Now, it is true that you have to have the creative eye. Well, John was very creative and his eye worked wonders (see more examples of John’s creativity.).