Babies change so fast in the first year, there's no shortage of milestones to photograph -- first smile, first step, first messy bite of chocolate cake. You're probably snapping the shutter all the time. However, you may not be taking the best photos you can. Of course, nothing beats professional shots, but with some tweaks to your technique you can get great results on your own, whether you have a point-and-shoot camera, a fancy 35mm, or a digital one. We spoke to photographer John Hedgecoe, author of Photographing Babies and Toddlers, to learn his secrets.
Here are 10 tips for taking great photos of a baby at any age:
1. Wait until just after she's been fed. This way she won't be fussy.
2. Dress your baby in simple, comfortable clothes. Or just leave him in a diaper so you can get the wonderful little folds of skin on film.
3. Make sure the temperature of the room is comfortable. You don't want your baby to be too hot or too cold. Take into consideration what she's wearing; if she's just in a diaper, keep the room warmer than you normally would.
4. Set everything up before you put the baby in the picture. If you're using props in the picture (presents under the Christmas tree if you're taking a holiday photo, for instance), get everything ready and then bring your baby in. You want the photographs to take only a couple of minutes so your child won't get fussy.
5. Get in close enough. Fill your frame with the child. Don't leave too much room around him.
6. Keep it simple. Uncluttered backgrounds, such as a grassy lawn, a white bedspread, or a solid-color carpet, are easiest to photograph. Sitting your baby on a chair also works well.
7. Use mirrors as reflectors of light. Angle a mirror so it reflects the sun on your child posed in a dark corner. It will look as though she's lit by a ray of sun coming through the window.
8. Keep shooting. You might need half a dozen shots to get one good photo.
9. Incorporate play. Toys make good props that also keep babies amused and occupied.
10. Have your pictures tell a story. A sequence of photos, even of a crying infant, can be interesting as a framed series.