Better Baby Pictures: It's a Snap!
You've shot gazillions of photos of your cutie pie but have only a dozen or so gems? Our pros can tell you why.
You shoot picture after picture.
Instead ... Define your focus.
Before you start clicking, ask, "What's my motivation?" suggests photographer Me Ra Koh, author of Your Baby in Pictures. If you're documenting an experience, like the first bath in the big tub, go for a pulled-back shot that emphasizes how tiny she looks in the tub. If you're trying to capture details that define her personality, zoom in on that funny pout she always makes.
You snap when it's convenient.
Instead ... Wait for the right light.
Pros hunt for bright spaces, Koh says. Find a well-lit area near a big window or a sliding glass door, and do a little photo shoot. If the light is too bright, buy an inexpensive sheer curtain and tack it up over the window. By all means, though, use a flash to capture special moments in darker settings.
You strike where there's action.
Instead ... Encourage action against a neutral backdrop.
From a lighting perspective, it's smart to shoot outside. It's even better to do it against concrete, which is neutral in color so light bouncing off of it flatters skin, Koh says. Inside, photograph your child on a mellow-colored carpet or bedspread.
You shoot from above.
Instead ... Get low and get close.
"People tend to miss a lot when they take photos from their own vantage point," says Caroline Kaye, a photographer in Cold Spring, New York. Stoop down and move in close so your beautiful bébé fills the frame.
You grab the camera when Baby does something cute.
Instead ... Re-create the moment.
Her wide-eyed look when she's fiddling with a new toy: priceless. The side of her leg as she rolls away from that would've-been-perfect shot, not so much. "By the time the camera shoots, the moment is over," Koh says. "Don't put pressure on yourself to be fast. Note the magic that you're seeing, then re-create it." Stash away a couple of toys in a box and pull one out for a photo op, or grab a bottle of bubbles and have your partner blow while you snap away. The results will be just as good as an impromptu shot.
You click only if he's happy.
Instead ... Document all the faces you never want to forget.
Think of the frown she wears when she's practicing a new skill, or the vulnerable look with the quivering lip. "I took an amazing photo of my younger daughter in her crib with ginormous tears running down her face," says Kaye. "I want to remember those moments too."
Quick camera tips
1 To reduce camera shake, turn your body into a tripod: Stand with feet slightly apart and tuck in your elbows.
2 If your little squirmer is on the move, set your camera to the "sports" setting, and capture her as she wiggles.
3 Clothes? Less is more. You want to see her kissable belly and dimpled thighs. Long live the diaper shot!