Getting great pictures of your newborn or infant is certainly not kid stuff. Indeed, the window of opportunity for coaxing a perfect expression and a picturesque pose from your little bundle of joy is fleeting, at best. For parents (and others) who aspire to capture such moments, user-friendly gear, highly functional accessories, and photogenic props can make all the difference. With this in mind, here are our best recommendations to help make photo sessions with your unpredictable little darlings a success.
Pick the Right Camera for the Job
These days, nearly everyone has a camera in his or her mobile device, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best option for commemorating the most significant occasions in your little one's life.
With all the available cameras in the marketplace, selecting the right one for your needs becomes a very personal choice. While there's not nearly enough room here to walk you through the options, Explora's informative Buying Guides can help with your decision-making. Those who are new to photography might also benefit from Todd Vorenkamp's Introduction to Learning Photography.
Adding Light to the Mix
While on- or off-camera strobe might seem like a convenient way to highlight your newborn in his or her best light, the sudden burst of a bright flash could frighten your tiny tot, thus compromising the resulting image. To avoid this, consider one of the many continuous-lighting options that B&H has on hand, such as these LED lights.
If you do own a strobe, a collapsible reflector can be a helpful tool for adding a touch of light with minimal disturbance, by aiming an off-camera flash (or a continuous light source) toward the reflector and bouncing light into the scene.
Hand-in-hand with lighting goes the subject of white balance, an important consideration for pleasing portraits. While setting your camera to auto white balance will generally yield acceptable results, anyone seeking to take things up a notch should consider having a selection of white-balancing accessories at the ready. Those seeking further guidance about white balance can consult Todd Vorenkamp's Explora article, Understanding White Balance and Color Temperature in Digital Images.
Create a Mini Studio in Your Home
The diminutive size of a newborn subject makes it easy to turn almost any setting into a makeshift studio, yet if you're seeking to document your family repeatedly over an extended period, it might be worth investing in a basic studio setup.
The first item you'll need is some form of backdrop material. While muslin and fabric backgrounds can be draped over furniture or arranged to accommodate a draped surface, the most common use for a background is to be hung from a system of background supports.
Two other important accessories to complete your studio setup are clamps, to fasten or stretch drapery to achieve a smooth surface, and sandbags, to keep the stands or other heavy objects weighed down and fixed in place.
With camera gear in hand and the stage set, it's time to add a touch of style to your adorable subject. To assist in this matter, B&H stocks accessories designed by companies such as Custom Photo Props, a leading producer of accessories for newborn photography.
Immerse your infant in the comforting embrace of a colorful knit baby wrap, or let your bundle of joy doze on the soft texture of a faux fur/flokati fur photo prop, offered in varied colors and multiple sizes.
Wardrobe Accessories and Set Props
The background and studio accessories brand Lastolite offers posing props that cater to both infants and adults. Its cushioned Baby Poser with Gray Cover is designed to help keep baby vertical and comfy while enabling you to capture precious and unique moments in your child's life.
Smile-Inducing Posing Accessories
Once baby is dressed for the part, it's time to draw the attention of your tiny subject toward the lens. In the eyes of your infant, the black brick of metal and glass of your camera holds little appeal on its own, but B&H offers inventive solutions for engaging tiny subjects and turning frowns upside down.
Camera Creatures offers posing props in the form of four two colorful animals—a perky peacock or a lovable ladybug that can be wrapped around almost any camera lens. Sold individually or as a full set of four, each prop has a built–in squeaker to keep your diminutive subject's eyes on the lens.
Phoxi Tog designed its Camera Buddies posing aids to become hands-free when the animal's 17" adjustable tail is wrapped around the exterior of your lens, the top of your tripod, or even your arm or the brim of your hat. If your subject's eyes start to wander, a built-in squeaker inside the base helps to regain his or her attention.
Last but not least, Shutter Huggers makes a wide variety of cute critters to fit both cameras with lenses up to 3.5" in diameter (90mm) or smartphones, tablets, and other portable recording devices. Choose from full-sized Shutter Huggers, which wrap around the camera lens, or Shutter Hugger mini designs that easily clip to the edge of your device of choice.
Photography Books and Tutorials
Beyond the set dressing and adorable props, if you're seeking a broader foundation of knowledge and inspiration with which to photograph your infant, B&H comes to your aid with a wide variety of books and tutorials, such as these selections geared toward children and family portraits.
With all of these tools at your fingertips, you should now be able to approach every session prepared to capture delightful images that will form a cornerstone of precious memories for years to come.
Do you have any particular tricks for coaxing that special look from your infant? Share your tips in the Comments section, below.