You already know I take enough photos to fill my phone’s memory, but I’d like to specifically discuss why I end up with thousands of photos every month: The Monthly Baby Photos. You’ve seen them all over Pinterest and even some of your friends post them on Facebook. Sometimes the baby has a sticker on his chest proclaiming “4 MONTHS,” others have blocks, a chalkboard, or if your friend is really tech savvy she might have digitally put some words on the photo.
Last week R turned 7 months and, you guessed it, it’s time for a monthly photoshoot! I won’t say I’ve perfected the monthly photoshoot but I do have some tips that make my photos look pretty darn good. When the cashier at Walmart grills you about having the rights to the photos, you know they don’t look half bad!
Outfits, Props, & Background: The last thing you want to to be scrambling for a bow to match the dress you picked out or to find the M block to finish the word MONTHS. Sometimes it takes me a full week to be fully prepared to do a photoshoot. Props are picked out, backgrounds are tested to make sure they are tall and wide enough, and outfits are laid out with every accessory option available.
Time & Day: If it’s right before nap time or your baby is cutting a tooth, it’s probably not the right time to take pictures. When R was a newborn and basically sleeping 24/7 I would only get a few pictures done at a time. It took all day but I’d rather have a happy baby than a cranky one to display on the wall! Now that she’s older I can schedule almost a full photoshoot between naps but I can’t account for her mood until the day gets started. If you’re planning on going somewhere else to take the photos, have several dates in mind because as soon as you commit to one that day will be the worst of your baby’s life. I am always happy if I get the photos taken before the week she turns another month old.
Lighting: Nothing says “amateur photographer” than bad lighting. I’ve taken my share of poorly lit photos of R and it drives me nuts when I see them. I generally go to my mom’s house if I’m taking indoor photos because she has a room that has a huge wall of basically windows for natural lighting. I love taking pictures outside but then you’re battling weather and bugs which can be annoying. Go for lots of natural lighting if you can. It will produce the best results.
Camera: I tend to take my photos with my phone. I have two fancy cameras but in the end my phone is portable and always charged. It is just easiest. Whatever you decide to take pictures with, be sure you know how to use it before you go to take the pictures.
Support Person: My best photos are taken when my husband is around (especially now that R is on the move). Anyone who can make your baby smile and distract them so they stay in one place is the best person to have around while you take pictures.
Burst or Rapid Fire Photography: I learned quickly, the faster and more pictures you take, the more likely you will get an amazing shot. I would do what I called “Rapid Fire” pictures where I would rapidly tap the shutter button and take as many pictures as I could while R was semi-cooperating. I just learned how to take burst photos on my phone so I’m practicing with that now. Burst on the iPhone will take 10 photos every second which is a heck of a lot faster than I can tap! You just press and hold the shutter button for as long as you want the phone to take pictures. A tip I read is to lock the focus on your subject (baby) by tapping and holding the screen so your pictures come out clearer.
Flexibility: Remember you are working with a baby. Even the most well behaved babies aren’t exactly excited about sitting in one place and taking photos. You may only get a handful of photos one day and the next you may get a thousand. Your baby may have a great day and then it starts pouring rain. You have to be very flexible when it comes to babies!
Use Your Resources and Be Creative: For a newborn, use your nursing pillow or a Boppy Lounger to get them in a good position for pictures. Taking a holiday picture? Dig out your decorations and go wild! Want a new background? Try wrapping paper taped to the wall or your fence. You can even take cute photos of your little one with their favorite furry friend! Use your imagination to make your little one’s personality shine!
Technology: Want one of those cute photos with all the writing on it? Try PicMonkey or another online tool to create your masterpiece!
The best part about doing your own baby photos is the price. Personally, I can’t afford to shell out a couple hundred dollars every month for some cute photos. I can afford to spend an afternoon dedicated to getting the perfect shot.
Have you tried taking your own baby photos? What are your tips for the perfect shot?