You're taking endless pictures of your baby, but they don’t seem to do your little one justice. You want to capture their precious first smile, tooth and steps, but you're also trying to get your head around feeding, nappies, teething and tantrums. So how can you improve your snapshots and get photos which are worth putting in a frame? The good news is that you don't need fancy equipment or prior photographic experience to capture those precious baby milestones.
In her beautiful and easy-to-read book, Shoot the Baby, Helen Webb gives parents simple, sound practical advice and composition ideas on everything from props and lighting to how to ensure a willing subject. Here are her top ten tips to ensure your pictures – and baby – stand out from the crowd:
- Take a step closer – Or crop the shot later. Remember, there's no pavement in the Mona Lisa. As a simple rule, try to fill two-thirds of the shot with your subject.
- De-clutter your shots – A camera won't filter out irrelevant detail as your brain does. Watch out especially for washing, dirty plates or anything behind your baby's head. Move yourself, the baby or the mess until your shot is clutter-free.
- Bin most of your pictures – To improve your photography instantly, simply delete the bad ones! No professional will show you everything they took.
- Know your camera – Those buttons are there for a reason. Read the manual, then venture beyond the fully automatic (usually green) setting. For each shot, take one on fully automatic and one with the new setting, then spot the difference.
- Personality shots – All babies smile and all smiling babies are gorgeous. But don't forget to capture the serious, sad, cross and tired looks – to help you remember all those quirky little mannerisms
- Consider the light – The light in a photo is as important as the subject. Look for the direction and quality of your light source and use natural light (not flash) whenever possible.
- Landscape or portrait – Don’t be afraid to turn the camera around into the upright (portrait) position. It's surprisingly good for … portraits.
- Experiment – Take shots from different angles (above, below, at a level), at different times of day and on different settings. Try to remember or record what you did so you can repeat the shots you like.
- Have a laugh – Relax and your baby will too. Say something stupid or unexpected. Blow a raspberry. Encourage silly behaviour. Smile a lot – it's infectious.
- Print or upload your photos – Is your computer a photo graveyard? Share your best shots with family and friends by uploading or printing your pictures. There are many great photo-sharing sites but remember that grandparents still love the sort that go in a frame on top of the TV.
Shoot the Baby is available from Amazon or your local bookshop, priced at £12.99.