Sometimes (on a good day) the sessions from home turn out better than the pro shots do. I think a lot of it is because Katen is more relaxed at home and I have the patience to wait for a good shot. At Katen's very first pro shoot she did great. She was one month old and amazingly was alert for the whole thing. The second pro shoot was quite the opposite. She was all smiles during the morning of the shoot but once we got her to the guy's house and set up on the backgrounds she stonewalled us. Not as single smile... until we buckled her into her carseat and began to leave. (What a turkey!) Pro shoot number three had potential but we had to wait 45 minutes to get in because they were running behind. You just can't ask a 6 month old to behave that long so those shots were not great either. Two smiles. I think that's all we got from the six month shoot. Fantastic.
In doing my own shoots there's definitely been a learning curve. Her two month pictures show my green-ness but they have endearing traits to them nonetheless. Four months was better. At five months I was getting closer yet. As I continue trying to get a little bit better, I've had to dig into the users manual of our camera and I've also gathered tips from others.
What tips can I share for more successful picture sessions at home? Let's see...
-Use natural light when possible
-Outside shade is your friend
-Fill the screen with the object you're shooting
-Try editing with PicniK for some fun enhancements
-Buy remnant fabric and use it for backgrounds – solids are better than busy patterns
-Learn the features of your camera and use them to your advantage
-Take a million pics to get 20 good ones ;)
-Use the ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode to get several consecutive shots at a time
-Frame your subject for a neat effect – try a window, fence, doorway, etc
-Try angling your camera – the pictures don't have to be exactly portrait or landscape
-Get down on the baby's level
And great tips from others...
-I used a sunny window with sheer white drapes, that looked nice.
-Textured blankets or fake fur make good backgrounds
-I turn off the flash and hold a naked lamp behind me, or above.
-I'm partial to photoscape for editing
-Use the macro feature on camera. You can make the nearest object sharp while the background blurs. (This is the F stop on regular cameras.) -My note: You can also fake that camera setting by using Picnic for editing.
-Weird noises get kid's attention more than just yoo-hoo'ing... bark, blow a whistle, sneeze loud... those get her to react more than "hi baby"
-If you are using a point and shoot camera be sure to turn off that flash when possible. The flash can overpower your baby/subject especially indoors.
-Change your perspective, to get a better shot, stand on a chair, lie on the ground.
-Don't take pictures of just happy subjects, crying babies photograph well, too, as well as pensive babies!
-Be sure to take pictures of parts of babies, too. Feet, hands, etc.
-Use perspective to your advantage. Get the favorite toy in the foreground, baby in the background.
-Bounce the flash off the ceiling sometimes!
-A great photo does not always have to be a calm, quiet baby
-Pay attention to shadows – watch your screen for shadows
-Use props...favorite toy, blanket, lovie
-Focus on just one part of the body, such as feet, hands, little belly button, tight shots of face but not the entire face, eyes
-Don't be afraid to get close up.
-Be creative with the focus
-Shoot on manual exposure, you'll get much better lighting than on auto
I'm sure I'll continue to learn even more tips and tricks as we go. My next challenge will probably be learning to get photos of a very high energy mobile baby!
If you want to have a little fun, click this link to see if you can pick
out the pro pics vs my pics. (You probably can. Some of them are obvious, but humor me. I'm still learning.) I'll post the results in a couple of days. :)