Once Baby is on the move, it's a little more challenging to get photos of her sweet smiling face. But I know you have some Jedi mind-tricks and ninja skills up your sleeves and we will utilize those to make this a quick and easy photo shoot. A good attitude, patience and flexibility are also really helpful!
This set-up is about as easy as it gets! Preparing ahead of time is the key to a successful shoot.
First off, we will use the floor instead of the bed for safety.
Once you get set up, the photos themselves should only take 5-10 minutes. To see a Simple Baby Photo Setup for 0-6 mo., click here.
Before we start, find a simple toy or object for Baby to play with to keep her happy and occupied during the shoot, i.e. a leaf, a ball of yarn, or a wooden block (large enough to not be a choking hazard). Choose an item that blends in and doesn't distract, OR, choose an item that goes with your theme.
1. Prepare the space. You will need a bare wall next to a bright window. The wall should be white or a neutral color for best results. You will need about 4 feet wide of space on the wall to use as a backdrop for the shoot. Open all the blinds & curtains in the room to let in as much light as possible. Your main light source (the window) should not be on the same wall as the spot you're using as a backdrop. Ideally your window should be close to Baby... but to the side or in front. Now, go ahead and declutter the wall space and floor area you will be using if necessary. Turn OFF overhead lights.
Note: A good amount of indirect light is necessary for this to work best... so if it's an overcast day or you have trees and bushes blocking the light, it will likely be too dark. You may need to find a different room or move outside. I'll give alternate instructions for that at the bottom of this page.
2. Snap a couple test shots and get your camera ready. Stand directly in front of the space and get your settings and the composition to where you're happy with them. Once Baby has been placed on the floor you will have to move quickly so its best to get everything absolutely ready first! For a starting place when shooting manually with a DSLR, I'd recommend setting your ISO to 800, your aperture to 4.0 or lower, and then adjusting your shutter speed accordingly (look through the viewfinder and when the indicator lines up to 0, you're good to go!).
3. Dress baby in a simple, solid color (unless you're really good with styling in which case ignore me!) and clean her face.
4. Wait until baby is happy and alert before moving on. This is the most important step! And remember... you must remain calm and happy if you expect Baby to remain calm and happy. If at any point this goes south, put the shoot on hold for later. Trust me on this!
So now... do you have something for Baby to play with or do? Is the space ready? Is your camera ready? Is Baby happy? If you can answer yes to all this, then and ONLY THEN - move on.
5. Place the baby in the middle of the designated wall space but leave about 1-2 feet of space (at least) between her and the wall. This will allow for you to blur the background a little. The further she is from the wall, the more potential to blur it but the more overall wall space you will need. Step back, and facing Baby squarely, shoot away! This is where your Jedi mind tricks and Ninja skills come in! It's your job to not only photograph Baby... but to keep her calm and entertained. If you can get her pictures taken while she thinks it's play time (and it IS!) then you've succeeded! Having a sibling or helper sing and interact with Baby while you shoot can be a HUGE help.
Try a variety of shots - some further back where you can see all of Baby... and some closer up. Try shooting from different heights as well - from low on the floor, or a little higher up shooting down into Baby's beautiful bright eyes! Don't be afraid to fill the frame with closer ups of Baby's hands and feet and funny faces. Be aware of the lines as you compose your shots - such as the line where the wall meets the floor - I personally like to keep those as close to accurate as possible instead of tilting. I really think it helps make photos look balanced and professional!
That's It! GREAT JOB!!
If this was your first time trying a session like this, let me know how it went in the comments below!
If it didn't go well, don't get discouraged, just put it on hold for a while and try again later. You can do this!
Alternate instructions for taking the photos outside:
The only thing really different is Step 1. The advantages to shooting outside are that you typically have much more space and much more light to work with. You will just need to find some nice SHADE (unless it's overcast outside)- I usually use the shade next to the house or on a porch- to set baby in. You can use the wall of the house, or the front door as a backdrop, OR, you can use the yard as the backdrop as long as it's clutter-free. For a starting place when shooting manually with a DSLR, I'd recommend setting your ISO to 100, your aperture to 4.0 or lower, and then adjusting your shutter speed accordingly (look through the viewfinder and when the indicator lines up to 0, you're good to go!).
This was taken in the driveway on an overcast morning. I chose to take the photo from a little higher up... I'm sort of looking "down" at Tate. This is a often a good position for portraits and a good trick to avoiding background clutter when composing a shot. My plan to give him a colorful yo-yo he had just been obsessed with 2 minutes earlier didn't work. So I gave him a stick. But he was so excited to be outside he wouldn't sit still and I snapped this quick one before he could crawl away. I love it because he's always sticking his little tongue out and of course I think that's cute!
As you can see, this quick shoot didn't go exactly as I had planned. Baby is always in charge! But I was lucky enough to get at least one good shot I really liked. Good job Baby Tate!
**PLEASE PRACTICE WISDOM AND SAFETY when photographing Baby, giving the utmost consideration to his or her comfort. Never leave a baby unattended, and if he/she becomes unhappy, put the photos on hold.**