There's no shortage of milestones to photograph in your baby’s first year. The first smile, first tooth, first step, the first messy bite of a chocolate cake. We’ve had lots of KidsCasting parents ask us how to make a quality baby photoshoot in their homes, and we’re happy to share some great tips with you.
First and foremost: If you’re shooting indoors, find a place in your home with beautiful natural light. To make the light softer, you can put up a light bedsheet in front of the window. Don’t position your baby in the direct sunlight, instead, step back or to the side about 3–5 feet to where you are in the shadows. If you’re shooting outdoors, try to shoot in the warm, syrupy light of early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky — professionals call these "the golden hours" with good reason!
It might seem that nothing beats professional baby photoshoots, but you can get great results on your smartphone, too. We loved this tutorial from YouTuber Leah Ashley where she explains how to get the perfect photo with your iPhone:
If, however, you’re looking to invest in some gear, DSLR cameras are just perfect for photographing babies, as they can shoot in raw, allow for lens changing, and have a high ISO range. Choose fast shutter speeds and/or high ISOs. There’s nothing worse than capturing a great moment that is slightly blurry because the shutter was too slow. Mirrorless systems are also great because they shoot silently, keeping your baby undisturbed.
Make sure your baby is fed, changed, and in a good mood (these things are important for auditions too!). The room needs to be very warm, babies will feel best in warm room temperature above 75 degrees. Clear out the clutter and look out for visual distractions. It will be very disappointing if you capture the perfect smile, only to notice later some mess in the background. Your baby hasn’t yet fully adapted to the outside world at this point, and they can easily get distracted by the sounds around them. A white noise machine does wonders to drown out the noise. As for the props and decorations, you probably already have all the props needed for the perfect baby photoshoot. You can use your baby's favorite blanket, book, or toy. Avoid over-the-top outfits — if you’re shooting for a portfolio, the attention should be on your baby’s face. If you’re shooting outdoors, seasonal decorations like pumpkins, flowers, and autumn leaves will provide a great frame of reference for your baby pictures. We just loved the work of photographer Kath. V who recently got featured in People magazine with her amazing and colorful sitter sessions:
Being able to capture your baby’s interest is key to getting great pictures. Strive for eye contact. If you’re shooting with a DSRL, discourage well-meaning assistants from trying to get the baby to look at them. Usually, this results in a vacant stare above or past the camera. Instead, make your baby’s favorite sounds, ask them questions about the other objects in the frame, or sing their favorite song. Finally, over-shoot. Digital photography is free and unlimited. It often takes 10 photos or more to get one great one, and you’ll be happy to have choices when it comes time to edit the photos.