Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a photo of a baby. Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a bad photo of a baby. You know the kind… double chins, eyes wide open (or shut hard), funny faces, blurring… it’s okay, we’ve all done it. I’m no expert, but through the 2,000 photos of my cute kid on my computer, I’ve learned a few lessons. A few things that will make your 17 year old thank you for taking flattering baby pictures he’s not embarrassed about on Prom night (after he sees how chubby and funny looking his friends baby pictures are). I can’t guarantee he’ll be as cool about the naked photos… but those dimply little butts are too cute not to capture.
Okay, so there are three very simple rules to follow. You’re going to look like a pro. I promise.
1. Watch your angle. How often do you take pictures of yourself or your friends from the level of your/their navel? Hopefully never. Double chins ensue. Funny shadows. People look completely different from this angle. So does your baby. I understand, he’s laying down a majority of his time, and if he’s not, you’ve usually got a hand in the matter, making the camera harder to maneuver. But when you take a picture of his sweet little grin from below, it’s not going to look the same as what you’re seeing. He’s going to look chunkier than he already is. His grin will be goofy. Shadows will be everywhere. So move up. Stand above him and look directly down. Hold the camera a little higher than his eye level. Play with your angle, but please, don’t take a photo from his ankles. Unless you’re going for that look. Common case of baby triple chins in the first picture. Plus, since he was only a month old, he wasn’t keen on looking at the camera. So switching up my angles not only eliminated the extra chins (while give you a closer look at the adorable chubby cheeks), but he’s “looking” at the camera now too.
2. Turn off the flash. I know. Babies are ridiculously cute. They are. And they’re cute in the light, airy living room in the middle of the day… and in the dark bedroom right before bed. But turn off the flash. It casts a very harsh light on your baby, making him look two-demensional. Not to mention the crazy eyes it gives him. They’ll either be open wide (and reflecting a very bright light) or they will be closed as tightly as they possibly can be. Either way, he won’t be happy, and you won’t have a great picture. You can always lighten your image up later… or better yet, try to find great lighting in the room. Now, I understand, there are times when he is just making the cutest face or eating his toes for the first time, and it’s just too dark to take a picture without a flash. By all means, turn that baby on, capture that memory. But I promise you’ll like the look of the non-flashy photos much better. Sure, the image on the right is not perfect. The lighting was pretty dark, but his face is so much more him than his face on the left… with it’s harsh shadows, weird almost-red eye, and eyes half closed.
3. Take a million pictures. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you first time momma’s this. But seriously, when your kid is being extra cute and wiggly, pull out that camera and take 3-10 pictures. Chances are much better with this many pictures that you’ll get a good one. The perfect capture of that gummy grin. But here is the key… delete the rest. Sure, every picture of your kid is a masterpiece, but you’ll thank me when he’s 3 years old and you don’t have 3.5 million pictures of him picking his nose. I may have missed that charmer of a photo if I hadn’t been snapping away. It was the 5th photo I had taken in about 5 seconds… and is now one of my favorites of my boys.
That’s it. Easy peasy. Seriously though guys, I know these rules don’t always apply, and sometimes you just need to snap a quick picture. But if you are conscious of these rules, not only are you going to get a good picture, but you’ll capture what your baby really looks like right now. No extra chins, no weird shadows, no gassy burps. I’m no expert, but this is what works for me. Oh, one more… get a cute iPhone case. Your baby will want to look at it… and we all know 95% of our pictures are from our phones nowadays anyway.