Baby Poses: Ideas and Tips for Baby Portraits
Many aspiring photographers ask: "What baby poses are the best for capturing the tender early months of life?"
Portraits of newborns and infants are some of the most rewarding and beautiful images in photography. Photographers often need to overcome many hurdles before they are able to capture perfectly the early months of childhood.
Babies are unlike other subjects. They are unlikely to respond to verbal commands, they often refuse to stay in one place or stop moving unless asleep and they need a lot of additional attention to remain content with the process. This article will investigate ideas for baby poses and strategies to make portraits of infants shine. The first step to excellent baby portraits is to take advantage of the age of your subject. In the first few months of infancy, you may need to hold an infant in place to create the shot you are looking for. Infants less than three months old do not pose themselves very well. Be artistic in your pose selection at this point. Your ability to move and pose young newborns make the first few months the most photo-friendly.
Experiment with close up photography; try to highlight interesting elements such as the hands or feet by placing an object of reference in the image. You or someone else may have to hold the baby to get the best baby pose. Why not incorporate that person into the photograph?
If you are photographing the tiny hands of a baby, incorporate an adult's hand in the image. Be simplistic in your approach. Simplicity results in the most creative images.
As a baby ages it starts to move and act on it's own. At this point you can start to experiment with more active baby poses. You may want to include props at this point. Props that the baby can move such as a stuffed animal or blanket are ideal.
While keeping your photographs simple and uncluttered, start to add movement. As the baby learns to move, adding movement to your images will be hard not to do.
Baby poses become more difficult when infants learn to crawl, walk and roll. At this point you can still attempt to deliberately pose the baby either with or without props as you have done in the past, or you can place him or her in a situation that allows the baby to create it's own poses.
At this stage of infancy the best images you take are going to be ones that the baby thought of. You can give ideas, such as placing a bucket of balls for the baby to play within the shooting area, but you are largely unable to completely control poses. The best advice it to just go with whatever happens and be ready to capture the moment.
Technical Advice for
Capturing Baby Poses
When babies start to move around it is a good idea to make sure your camera is ready for action shots. You can do this by setting your camera appropriately and by preparing the area where you will shoot. Have the shutter speed on your camera set high. If you have a fully manual camera this may be easy. Set an automatic camera to the action setting.
If indoors, make sure lighting is appropriate. It is best to use natural light as opposed to a flash or a light fixture. Unless you have expensive studio photography equipment, interior lighting will alter the colors of your image (even if you are shooting in black and white).
Flash can sometimes create unwanted effects, so turn it off. Try to set up a "studio space" near a window. If the window makes one side of your portrait too bright you can use a bounce card, just like a professional photographer would.
Use pieces of white or grey poster board to reflect ("bounce") light form your source (window, lamp, etc) back at the baby from the dark side of the image. Experimenting with the position of these reflectors will give you more light to work with, allowing you to keep your shutter speed high and prevent blurry images.
The background of your image will make your images sink or swim. Try to pick simple backgrounds. Solid colored cloth of a dark color is usually the best. Complex designs in the background of a portrait can distract the eye form the subject. Light colors can create reflections that distract. The real focus should be the baby.
Consider other elements as well. Think about how you want your portrait to move. Excellent portraits have motion, just like artwork. Try a soft focus technique for a unique image. Experiment with lighting.
If you shoot in color and are experiencing poor results, try switching to black and white. Most importantly, keep it simple. Simple, uncluttered images with one clear subject are the absolute ideal. Simplicity will make your baby poses shine.
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