Baby Portrait Photography Tips – How to get great results!

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Photographers often think baby photography is easy. Your subject doesn’t move much, you can set up the location however you like, and you normally have a doting mother and father on hand to act as assistants too.

This is far from the reality, though, so here are the baby portrait photography tips to get you underway.

1) Keep eye contact with the baby


 

Keep eye contact as much as you can with the baby and only look through the viewfinder of the camera when you are about to take a photograph. This is because a baby is hardwired to look at faces, especially smiling faces. The more they can see yours, the better your results will be.

bay portrait

2) Use the parents


 

A mother standing behind you, perhaps waving a favorite toy, will often get you a smile and will certainly ensure there is eye contact.

 

baby portrait

3) Be flexible


 

A baby won’t negotiate. If they are hungry they’ll cry. If they’d like to sleep then they’ll cry. If they make a mess in their diaper they’ll cry. If they are bored or overstimulated then…you guessed it…they’ll cry. Look for the cues and if things aren’t going right stop for a while, then start again. Build this into your timings for the photographs.

baby portrait

 

4) Don’t use flash


If you can avoid it. Baby eyes are sensitive and it’s one of the things that could distress them, sending your shoot down the wrong road. Use window light instead which is softer, more natural and much more flattering.

 

No camera flash

5) Use a fast shutter speed


Whatever mode you have your camera in, keep checking your shutter speed. Babies wave arms, kick legs…a fast shutter speed avoids these actions blurring. I use M (manual) mode because the light doesn’t change, and this gives consistent results I can control.

6) Focus on the details 


Small hands with tiny fingernails, the grip on a favorite toy, their eyes,etc..

It is also important before you start taking the photographs to have a think about the kind of environment you are going into, and above all have no pre-conceptions. This is where baby portrait photography tips can be most useful. You’ll want the photographs to look clean and uncluttered, focussing on the child and their world, so you may have some rearranging to do. Make sure you watch your backgrounds too. For a very young baby, you might have to only photograph them lying down in which case your options are limited and you have to be at the top of your creative game.

Another nice baby portrait photography tip is to photograph the baby lying against the shoulder of the mother. A lot of parents can be self-conscious about having their photo taken, especially with the lack of sleep, and this allows them to be in the photo without focussing on them.

Lenses recommended for baby portrait photography


The lenses you might use for this kind of photography should be anything over 50mm. The Canon EF 50mm f1.8 is fine for a crop sensor but will also give perfect results on a full frame body. For the details, a macro lens, such as the Canon 100mm f2.8L allows you to get details you might otherwise not pick up. The Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L is also a great lens for baby portrait photography but take care the size of it might scare some babies! Have a look instead at the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 – cheap, fast focusing and very good for portraits.

Walk through the below video:


I hope these tips are helpful and good luck with your baby photo session :).

Related Posts

Newborn photography tips and tricks

 

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2 Comments

  • Hi Ehab. Very educational website for me especially the best lenses for baby portraits paragraph. Baby portraits must be hard at times, as you mention, babies are not negotiable and if they are wet, hungry etc this causes for instant adjustments.

    Also maintaining eye contact with a baby is very important development for a baby as this is how the read you and so yes totally agree eye contact whilst smiling and trying to keep them amused.

    I also think it’s smart that you have added classes for a more in depth knowledge of photography also.

    Good stuff

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