How to take baby photos for beginners

Children grow up very quickly, so it’s important to capture their emotions and achievements, whether it’s the first steps or graduation from kindergarten. This is especially true for infants, because they literally grow in front of our eyes and we want to keep at least a few photos of this period as a keepsake.

However, getting small children to pose is almost impossible, which is, of course, part of the charm of a baby photoshoot with their sincerity and natural emotions. This is why knowing how to photograph babies right is essential.

We have a few practical tips to help you to take beautiful pictures of babies, even if you’re a novice photographer!

Baby photos example

Newborn photography camera settings

To competently implement ideas for photographing infants, it’s necessary to set up the equipment in advance. It is important because small children may need something at any moment. So the process of shooting is not continuous but rather consists of periods of time when a child is relaxed and calm.

Start by switching your camera to aperture priority mode. This way you will have some creative control over the depth of field, which can be very important for portraits. If there’s no such mode on your camera, it might have a "portrait" mode, which is worth a try to get nice fuzzy backgrounds.

Child photograpy example

The optimal aperture for photographing children is f/5.6. This value will give a good depth of field, but will not slow down the shutter speed. It will blur the background and keep the child’s face in focus.

Pay special attention to the lighting and exposure, but avoid using flash as it can frighten the child. If the room is poorly lit, set ISO between 400 and 800. It’s not recommended to have a very high ISO number as it will result in grainy photos, so, if you have to shoot with a flash, make sure you have a softbox on it. This will improve the lighting and the baby will not be disturbed.

Environment settings

Child photography is not easy as is but photographing a newborn baby will require even more environmental planning from you to get interesting shots.

Try bringing a large piece of solid color cloth with you. You can hang it on the walls or use it on the floor and beds as a backdrop. It simplifies the shooting process and allows you to fully focus on the child. If a solid color background doesn’t fit your style, find something that will take everything out of the frame so that the newborn is the focus of your lens.

Infant photography example

If you want to include other things in the photo, think about the colors of the furniture you will be using before the shooting, including the background. Shades should not be too obvious so as not to divert attention from the child, and should not resonate with other things and accessories.

All sorts of blankets, towels, mini-pillows will come in handy too – among other things, they will create comfort for your "model" and unobtrusively allow you to give them the right pose. You can also use a few oilcloths for a newborn in case of surprises. They should not be visible in the frame though, veil them with a cloth or towel.

Newborn photography ideas

It’s easy to feel the pressure when taking photos of newborns because babies are so fragile and grow every second. Plus, they can take only two positions without assistance – lie one way or another. So, you need to work with it.

The key to getting into the position you want and maintaining it long enough for the shooting is to keep your hands on the baby for as long as possible, right after laying down. It will let the child calm and feel safe. The warmth of your hands, the consistency and confidence of the movements are most often just what the child needs to "hold" the position you put them in.

Once the baby is in the right conditions, try different scenarios, such as:

  • Measuring the child’s height. To do this, you can use a toy that you need to put next to the child in order to understand in contrast how small and vulnerable the little baby is.
  • Kids and toys. You can arrange a separate photoshoot of the baby and their toys. In the future, it will be nice for a grown child to remember the wonderful first moments of life surrounded by their toys.
  • Baby photoshoot with toy example
  • Baby’s facial expressions. Of course, here you can’t be sure that you will take all the pictures with many different facial expressions that you want in a single photoshoot. You can do this type of shooting in several visits.

These are unforgettable moments in the life of a new person, which many parents want to keep not only in memory, but also in a photo album or a slideshow which can be shown to friends and relatives. And for a photographer it’s an important experience – after all, if you manage to work it out with the most challenging type of models, it would be a breeze with the older ones!