20 tips for successful photos of your baby

 When you become a parent, you also often become a compulsive photographer 😉 ! What are the right reflexes to take good pictures of your baby? Where to take pictures, from what angle, with what equipment, in what conditions? Tips and tricks from Marine Poron, professional photographer for families.

1-Opt for a familiar place

There’s no need to be complicated with a baby. The place of a successful portrait is above all a place where the child feels good, relaxed. The living room, the parents’ bedroom or, if the weather is nice, the garden, the neighbourhood park… It’s all good as long as the chosen environment is familiar and clear, says Marine.

2-Finding the best time of the day

“The light will be softer in the early morning or late afternoon, but parents should follow their child’s rhythm first,” explains the pro. In other words, it’s up to each individual to choose the ideal time of day according to their baby’s mood. Generally, after meals, the child is more relaxed. The early evening is often more complicated for the little ones.

3-Instilling a Zen atmosphere

“It’s best to avoid the presence of other children or adults (other than the other parent, for example),” advises the photographer. It also makes sense for parents not to put pressure on a child to be photographed at a particular time or in a particular room of the house.

Fun during the photo session

4-Smile to yourself

“Phrases like ‘give me a nice smile’ often result in tense photos,” observes Marine Poron. So she encourages parents to smile and laugh to make their babies want to do the same. Until the age of 2-3, children function by mimicry, she recalls.

5-Avoiding Constraints

“Sophisticated or very covering clothes (in winter), props, complicated settings are to be avoided to obtain natural pictures and relaxed faces”, explains the expert. Not to mention the baby’s safety, which could suffer. The pictures that circulate on the Internet (babies in flowerpots, with kittens, etc.) are often taken using Photoshop… In short, it’s better to avoid putting your child through what you wouldn’t want to put yourself through!

6-Fun during the photo session

Cuddling, pampering, tickling, singing, laughing, clowning or small games are all ways to relax the atmosphere and ensure joyful and spontaneous images.

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7-The position on the back for toddlers

Babies who can’t yet sit up will be more comfortable on their backs, lying directly on a toddler mat or a large bed lined with cushions. “This allows babies to move their arms and legs, so they have more freedom of movement and are more expressive,” says the photographer.

8-In staged scenes, waiting for the baby to sleep

If the parents are very keen on their “photo concept” (a cute pose with a plush toy next to it, for example, for the announcement) Marine Poron recommends waiting until the baby is well asleep. You can then position the object in the baby’s arms or close to his face, arrange the decor and the posture of the child. All this discreetly, and without forgetting to undo the staging for the end of the nap.

9-Everything relies on natural light

It will always be softer and more flattering than artificial light. Ideal? Indoors, stand near a window that is barely attenuated by a curtain. Outside, it is best to place the baby in the shade, under a tree, with the sun behind you.

10-Always be at child’s height

“I prefer the frank, face-to-face, eye-to-eye angle because it reassures the child and establishes better communication,” says the specialist. To do this, you have to be at the baby’s height. Crouch or lie down depending on his position, or stand above him if he is lying on a bed, for example.

11-Tanning the flash

He’s responsible for the nasty “red eyes” or closed eyes in the photos. Not to mention the fact that he can scare the little ones.

12-Playing with distances

There’s not really a rule about distance. Marine Poron advises testing, moving, close and then farther away from the child. You can grope according to the mood and the environment. She strongly advises against zooming with a smartphone. It gives pixelated images. The only way to zoom in with a smartphone is to get closer to the subject. On the other hand, with a conventional camera, zooming in on a detail, even if exaggerated, can give an original picture.

13-Putting the baby in the center of the picture… or not

“If you want the child in the center, then you really have to aim for the center. If you’re going to shift the subject to include a lot of the surrounding field, I would advise you to go for the centre. The in-between won’t give a good result,” says the pro.

14-For a portrait, prefer a plain background

The goal is to show the baby well, so it’s better to choose a plain, neutral, light or dark background, whatever it is, but without embellishments or details that interfere with the image, such as an electrical outlet for example, insists the pro.

15-Comfortable and simple outfit

To make the baby feel comfortable, but also so that he remains the main object of the photo, favour simple clothes without too many accessories, if possible in one colour (or with a single printed touch).

Putting the baby in the center of the picture... or not

16-Try manual mode

“Digital cameras are very efficient in automatic mode. But you can also switch to manual mode: it’s particularly useful for increasing the brightness or managing the photo of a moving baby, and avoiding blurred images,” comments the expert.

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17-Don’t ignore the smartphone

“They make very good pictures, especially outdoors. Their biggest advantage is that they’re always close at hand. So they’re valuable tools for capturing important or fun moments,” the photographer admits.

18-Sort your photos!

Parents should sort the photos at least once a week to avoid being overwhelmed. Filing software makes it easy to make “throw away”, “keep” and “print” folders. Later, children and parents will be happy to look at the photos in an album. It’s still easier and more enjoyable than on a screen,” recommends Marine Poron.

19-The “maternity” photographers, it’s not mandatory!

A few large companies share the maternity photography market and they are not always experienced professionals. The photos are often expensive and of lesser quality. Mothers feel obliged to accept, they are often tired and uncomfortable in front of these solicitations. It is better to have a relative or a photographer whom the family already knows take these first photos. We can also wait until we get home to take pictures in a warmer and calmer environment,” advises the pro.

20- Our tips for successful photos in the maternity ward

Turn off the neon lights and move closer to the windows (a parent with the baby in their arms or in their maternity cradle) to get natural, soft light. Zoom in on evocative details: the birth bracelet with the newborn’s first name, feet or hands… Arrange the decor while the baby sleeps or eats: a cuddly toy near his sleeping face (to be removed as soon as the photo is taken), a plain-coloured nappy for mum’s cleavage…