In having a baby you’ve created the great love of your life – as well as the ultimate photo subject. It is estimated that if you stacked up every photo taken by new parents in a single day, they would be enough to stretch to the moon and back.
But quality, not quantity, is the key to taking great baby photos. You want to capture your baby’s personality minus their bearish grumpiness, and you want photos you can be proud of as you’re showing the baby album to your child’s future prom date.
For the best advice on baby photography you turn to Meghan Doll. She developed a love for photography as a little girl playing in her grandfather’s darkroom, and became a professional while still attending college.
“I originally worked as a wedding photographer,” said Meghan. “My clients would often call me back nine months later to have me take photos of their babies as well. There’s something so precious about new life, full of innocence and wonder. I quickly fell in love with photographing babies and ultimately decided to specialize in that instead.
“Every age presents its own challenges. Newborns are by far the easiest. If you can keep them asleep while you put them into position, you can spend anywhere from two to four hours photographing them. As babies get older you pretty much have to let them run the shoot. You must work with their short attention spans, and give them breaks because they don’t like changing so much.
“One of a baby photographer’s greatest tools is the feather duster. Just use one to give your baby a little tickle on their toes and immediately snap their reaction! Peekaboo and silly faces are of course both amazing when the baby gets old enough. Parents are naturally able to take great photos of their babies because they know what makes them laugh better than anyone else. I call on parents to cheer up their babies all the time during shoots.
“A few basic photography techniques will make a dramatic improvement in your photos. Above all else, position your baby so the window is in front of them or at their side – never behind. You want as much light facing them as possible. Shooting outside is always a nice choice, but make sure your baby is in a shaded area. They’ll terminate the shoot the moment they get too hot, and you don’t want photos of them squinting anyway.
“The iPhone has an excellent tool for taking baby photos called burst mode. It lets you press one button to take ten photos in a single second, which you can then go through to pick out your favorite. Babies are very animated and change their expressions quickly, but with burst mode it’s easy to capture the million dollar shot.
“But at the end of the day, a professional will always take the best baby photos. I’ve been working with babies for 15 years now, and I definitely know all the tricks to get them to play along and show their unique personalities. I have an eye for detail and will notice a hair that’s fallen out of place or a wardrobe malfunction like a visible diaper. A baby photographer will also let you relax and even be in some of your baby’s photos for a change. We all know moms miss out on that quite a bit!”
In an ideal world you’ll take both approaches to baby photography. When your little bouncing bundle manages to do something exceptionally charming, such as eating or sleeping or breathing, you’ll feel lucky to live in an age when your camera can live in your pocket. But for the big, important photos – the proper ones that will without a shadow of a doubt remain on your walls until kingdom come – you will be happiest with the work of a professional.
If you would like to hire one of the Twin Cities’ preeminent baby photographers, please reach out to Meghan on meghandoll.com.
By David Scheller