ParentMap photographer Will Austin has tips on how to get excellent photos of your babies.
Which are the most important stages to capture and when is the best time of day?
Start shooting at nap time -- nothing more beautiful than a sleeping baby and sometimes you can arrange them in their crib without waking them. Prime photo time is after they wake. With babies, this might be a 20-minute time window, but this varies. Be ready because that elusive smile or giggle might happen just once. Patience is required, but a quick shutter finger is even more important.
Also, there are critical ages and stages that are important -- newborn shots then 3-to-4 moths or when they hold their head up. Also, try to capture the first smile, laugh, crawl, steps, etc.
Parents with busy schedules can try a few tricks for getting those memorable shots.
Start with mom or dad holding the baby. For instance, putting baby on a shoulder facing backward. Get the baby's attention gently. Try taping a favorite toy to your camera just above the lens. Don't have a crowd of helpful people standing behind you or you will only get photos of a confused baby looking in all directions.
Let's talk about lighting. It’s kind of tricky sometimes in dark nurseries or in parks where light filters through trees.
Find a bright area with a plain background. The best place is inside near a window on a cloudy day. If you are outside, a cloudy day is still best or look for a spot in full shade on a sunny day. The next step is find best background - make it as clutter free as possible and hopefully darker than where baby is sitting. The baby is your subject, not whatever is behind her or him.
The best accessory to keep in your car is a white sheet with low thread count. Not only is it cheaper but it lets more light through. I always carry a white sheet with my camera gear. If it is a sunny day, I can drape it over the window and it fills with glowing light or use it on the ground for baby to lie on.
Why do professional photographers always seem to capture details so well?
Look for those details: chubby feet, tiny fingers and face close-ups.
Also, in terms of different perspectives, get down to their eye level. It means you might have to lay on the ground, but staying a few inches above the floor or about at their eye level makes the shot much better. Another option is to take aerials -- standing above and shooting straight down. The baby can be laying on an even surface, a piece of furniture or even mom or dad's back.
As they grow up, these perspective shots are priceless.