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Winter Shooting Tips
10 Tips for Aspiring Baby Photographers

Baby 1. Get Close

Most amateurs never shoot a close-up and close-ups are so powerful. Fill the frame with your baby’s face and leave out the lamps and furniture and all of that other visual clutter. A good close-up of a baby can be other-worldly.

2. Push the button a lot

That’s another way of saying take lots of pictures. The more pictures you take the luckier you get and when you’re photographing babies you want to do everything to increase the luck factor.

3. Experiment with the flash off Baby

A flash on a camera is a very handy thing. It allows you to take sharp pictures in dark rooms. But it does something else, too. It ruins the mood. It’s about as romantic as the headlights on your car. A picture taken with a flash is the signature look of amateur snapshots. Use it if you’re shooting snapshots (don’t get me wrong - I love snapshots) but if you want to take pictures that will make other people say, “Hey you’re a great photographer!” turn off the flash.

Baby drinking bottle Baby in bath tub Baby smiling Baby in bath tub closeup

4. Find beautiful light

If you want to shoot beautiful baby portraits this may be the most important step. With your flash off, put your baby in some soft window light or the light of an open, outside door . This is the light Rembrandt built a career around. If you get just how profound this tip is you are well are your way to moving up the photographic food chain.

5. Don’t try and out think your baby

Shoot pictures when they’re in the mood. That’s probably after a nap and after a snack. (And for that matter, that goes for the photographer, too.)

6. Keep your backgrounds simple

You could not possibly err on the side of too simple with this. I spend about half my time shooting pictures trying to find clean, simple backgrounds. Why is that stop sign sticking out of your baby’s head?

7. Take advantage of the moment

You have what every professional photographer wants – access. Store your camera in the same place all the time and always turn your camera off with the same settings. Be ready for the stuff only parents see.

8. Crank up your ISO

I don’t want to get too technical here, but I rarely take a picture with the ISO below 400. Do pictures get a little noisy (grainy) when the ISO is high? Sometimes. How often will you get complaints from viewers when you’ve captured a great moment and there’s a little noise? Never.

9. Learn to file your pictures

If you can’t find them you can’t share them and sharing these gems is what it’s all about. The birth of a baby is a great time to get photographically organized. Create a logical system on your computer that you understand and will use. Key word: use.

10. Back up your pictures

If you don’t have an external hard drive for your computer you need one. All of your valuable family pictures need to be in two places. I know a photographer who regularly burns his family photo greatest hits on a CD and stores it in the glove box of his car.

About Nick Kelsh
Nick Kelsh

Nick Kelsh’s photographs have been featured on the covers of several books in the Day in the Life series and in numerous magazines. He collaborated with Anna Quindlen to create the bestselling books Naked Babies and Siblings, and is the author of five books. He lives in Philadephia.

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Get the book How to Photograph your Baby

Everyone who loves children—from new parents to excited grandparents—wants to take beautiful photographs of the babies in their lives, but they are often disappointed with the amateurish results. Renowned portrait photographer Nick Kelsh shows would-be shutterbugs how to successfully capture images of their kids in this accessible, easy-to-follow guide.

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