January 29, 2012

How to shoot a baby – getting ready.

This week, we’re trying something a little new with Frame One. Instead of mini-tips, we’re picking a subject and dedicating a week of posts to show how to make it happen. It’s like Shark Week, without the Sharks, or mega budget.

Blurry, expected.

How to shoot a baby. With a camera. What did you think I was talking about?

I have kids. Lots and lots of kids. And they’re all just so darn gorgeous that it’s no wonder I picked up a camera and started snapping their pics.

But it wasn’t easy.

I started taking photos of most of my little ones when they were babies. What I (quickly) learned is that babies can be just about the toughest subjects to shoot. They’re super fast. They don’t take direction well. And they eat crayons, which you don’t notice on their new teeth until two days later when you’re editing the photos to send to nana.

So you’ve got to be both faster and smarter than a baby (way harder than it sounds). Before you grab your camera, you need to think about a couple of things:

Consider what you want to do.
Snapshot of the action? Formal portrait? Start by thinking about what you want the photo to look like.

Having an iPhone around makes it easy to take loads of photos.

Shoot lots.
Babies blink, move, sneeze, grab your glasses and get gas. Take at least 3-4 photos of any given moment to make sure you got a good one.

Use your windows.
Please, please, please don’t light your baby with the flash on your camera. You want here to look like an actual baby – not an overlit alien. Take photos near windows or screen doors. So pretty.

Think about “zone” coverage.
Babies are super speedy -- so fast that they’ll tick off your autofocus, which will then refuse to work for you. Don’t follow the baby around. Instead, point your camera in a specific area. Look through the lens. Get a good background. Then wait. The baby should show up in your frame. When he does, start clicking as fast as you can.

Babies are great to shoot from different perspectives.
Move around.
Don’t take the same baby photos as everyone else. Get down to the babies level. Stand up super high on a chair. Try cool stuff out. You will be amazed at the different shots you’ll get.

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