Tips for photographing 3 month old babies

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by peter_andrew, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. Photo net users,

    I am meeting my 3 month old niece for the first time next week. My
    experience in the past for taking baby photos was very
    dissapointing... many shots and nothing spectacular. What are some
    basics for setting, film use, and framing (with adults, in crib,
    positioning, etc.). I really want to capture these moments before
    they are gone. I use a Nikon SLR with an 18-35 3.5D and an 80-200
    2.8D (I dropped my favourite 50mm at Ankor Wat, hence the gap!). I
    also have a 3.1 megapixel Nikon point and shoot. Any tips will be
    appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Pete Andrew
     
  2. I havent taken pictures of any babies yet, but ive read some forums that gave advice, and one thing you will want to consider is not using flash, because babies eyes are sensative. You should ask the doctor if its ok first. Ive also heard that you should snap some pictures off right away so the baby or kids get use to the sound and it doesnt scare them or get to much of thier interest so that thier not behaving normal. And of course entertain the baby or get someone that can do that to do that. :0).
     
  3. There was a post not too long ago about the flash issues. It can be found at http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=008GDH&unified_p=1
    As far as taking pics of babies, the best advice I can offer is to get in as close as you are comfortable. Fill the frame with the baby and you will be happy with the outcomes most of the time. You don't need to worry about the baby smiling in all of you photos, it just won't happen, at least not at 3 months old. Take natural looking shots, and try some different perspectives like getting on your belly. One other thing I have noticed is that there is some amount of luck in getting good baby pictures. No doubt about it, they are hard to get sometimes.
    Good luck, George
     
  4. For some inspiration look at this woman's site! Good stuff!

    www.heatherrivlin.com
     
  5. Very young babies (up to about 3 months or so) are programmed to smile at human faces. This works for any face, inclding a drawing, at this age. Later, they will only smile at Mum and Dad. What happens is that the baby who smiles constantly at you while you grin inanely back, immediately becomes stony-faced when you hide behind the camera.
    A trick which worked for me and my kids is this: Draw a face on a paper plate. It only needs to be simple - two eyes, a mouth, a hairline, and a chinline (these last two are important.) Then cut a hole in the middle for the camera lens to poke through. The result, hopefully, is a baby smiling away madly at the paper plate, straight into the lens!
    Good luck, Geoff
     
  6. I did a recent portrait session with my 5 month old son, and had some pleasing results. My suggestions... 1. Use available light, preferrably a north facing window (indirect light) I did my shoot on the kitchen floor next to our north facing sliding glass door with a blanket as a backdrop. 2. Orient your subject to create a sideways lighting across their face, it adds depth and shows features. A wall bounce flash could be used to simulate this if no window was available, and would probably be more gentle on the baby's eyes. 3. Try having the baby lay on their stomach. At three months, they are usually inquisitive enough to push their head up to look around. If they won't work with this, maybe create a little reclining seat with some pillows stuffed under your blanket backdrop. 4. Try black and white film. It's much more forgiving of babies' skin, which can be blotchy sometimes. I had my best results using Ilford XP2 400 speed film, which is C-41 process (meaning your local 1 hour lab can do it for you). If you want to go color, use a portrait film which is lower contrast to be gentle on skin tones. I like Fuji NPS 160 and NPH 400, but I've heard good things about the Kodak NC and UC films. 5. Shoot lots of frames. Don't be afraid to burn a roll or two of film at a sitting to get a good shot. Try different framings, etc, try a tripod, try handheld. Here's one of my son, taken with a Canon Elan 7, 50mm f/1.4 lens @ ~f/5.6, Ilford XP2 film. Hope that helps! Sheldon
    008ZPs-18406484.jpg
     
  7. You might try an 'infant attention' filter. This is a filter ring with a piece of springy wire attached on which is suspended one of those small bells for a birdcage. As you move this tinkles and attracts the baby's attention.
     
  8. One of my and that family favorite was "Grandma" holding the baby with the usual necessary drip towel over her shoulder and a very fond look on her face.
     
  9. Peter:
    When you say that your past experience has been disappointing, what exactly do you mean? What was wrong with the pictures?
    Search here on photo.net...there have been lots of threads about taking baby pictures.
    I would say the quality of the light is what usually separates the great from the good pictures. In that way, it's really no different than any other type of photography. :) Fill the frame. Shoot from the shadow side. Make sure the eyes are in focus. Get down to the kid's level rather than just standing at your normal height.
    Three month olds are pretty boring to anybody but their own parents. They start doing more exciting stuff later on. So take pictures and learn from your mistakes. Keep shooting.
    For a little excitement, mix babies with animals. :) (Click on the picture for a larger version.)
    [​IMG]
    --
    Eric
    http://canid.com/
     
  10. Families love picts of baby taking bath. Baby always happy.
     
  11. I recently shot several rolls of great images of a 4 mo old, using a Leica IIIf with a collapsible 5cm Elmar and a Nikon SB-9 flash on-camera. The SB-9 is a cigarette-pack-sized flash which puts the reflector about 6" above the lens axis especially because I have to use a hot-shoe-to-PC cord adaptor. The parents were thrilled with the results, lots better than they or the kid's grandparents were doing with their expensive digitals. I would have posted images but the parents don't want their kid's face on the internet. If the kid was old enough to be crawling or walking though, I would never be so stubbornly stupid as to use a non-AF camera.
     
  12. But Jay, I thought that you had promoted your LTMs to emeritus status, thereby never to be used in combat again. Why on earth did you choose this camera? No offense, I love my Leica IIIc and IIIf.
     
  13. I was out of town for a wedding, and the IIIf/Elmar/SB9 is my guest-at-parties rig. The camera+lens and the flash (separately) are all flat enough to stick in my suitcoat pocket without making an unsightly bulge. I've tried countless others, including a Rollei 35S (no rangefinder, flash on the bottom), Leica M/collapsible Elmar (much bigger, same optical performance because same lens), Minilux (flash too close to lens, requires pre-flash red-eye so is not useful for quick candids).
     
  14. Work quickly, use natural light, make sure you are the only one trying to attract the babies attention. If you can get enough natural light, zone focus and it will be easier.
     
  15. I guess picking em' up, buying them a drink and asking for a bit of cooperation's outta the question then eh?
     

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