My Instagram feed is full of the dreamiest photos portraying life with a baby, but my pictures never turn out quite so stunning (even though my daughter is adorable). How can I take better pictures?
Babies are easiest to photograph (and you get the best expressions) when they are fed, dry, warm and content. Grab your camera when you and your little one are relaxed.
Lighting is the big secret to taking the best photos. Avoid taking photos in harsh direct sunlight, very dim lighting or under unflattering overhead lights. Find an area in your home that receives plentiful, indirect light—near a large, unobstructed window, for example. The more light that’s available, the greater chance of capturing images that show off your tot’s beautiful features. Clear a space in a bright area, and put down a few pretty blankets on the floor as a backdrop.
Don’t be afraid to move distracting furniture like lamps and chairs out of the way temporarily. These objects may create unwanted shapes in the background of your picture and draw the focus away from your baby.
Take a moment to zoom in on special details like fingers, toes, ears, eyelashes and lips. Because these features change quickly, it is fun to photograph them as your kiddo grows.
Tools of the trade
Play with the built-in tools on Instagram to enhance your images before posting them. The interface uses sliders, which make it easy to experiment with different effects. For a dreamy look, try reducing the “Contrast” and “Saturation” sliders, while raising the “Brightness” slider. If your picture is a little dark, use the “Shadows” slider to brighten up only the dark areas without losing detail in the areas that are already light.
Don’t get caught up in comparisons on social media. When you look back years later, the most meaningful pictures will be those that truly captured a time and place in your life. True-to-life photos of your baby will stir memories of how those first few months really felt. The most important things are to take photos often and then get them off your phone and into a baby book or family album that you’ll treasure for years to come.
—Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters, award-winning child photographers and founders of Shoot Along, a program that helps parents learn to take better photos of their families