Whether you have a camera phone or a digital SLR or a point and shoot old-school film camera, there are five main things you want to keep in mind when photographing your Lalabye baby to make sure you’re capturing the best photo possible.
1. Is your equipment clean?
This is especially important if you’re using a camera phone. Grease, dirt, and dust can cause distortions and fog, so make sure your lens is clean and free of dirt, dust, grease, or smudges before you begin.
If you’re using a camera, be sure to use proper tools to clean the lens so as not to scratch it. You want crisp, clear photos, and you want the light from the room to enter the camera lens without obstruction.
2. Where is the light coming from?
Light is pivotal to a great photo, and you need adequate light to have a clear, crisp photo. Is the subject lit from the front? At an angle? Do you have enough light? Is the light the right color? (Indoor lights often have a orangey/yellow cast to them.)
If the light is coming from behind the subject, you’ll end up with a silhouette effect.
If there’s not enough light, the subject will be blurry or too dark. (You can lighten shadows using a photo editing app, but it doesn’t always preserve the quality of the photo when you do this and can look grainy.)
If you have too much light, the subject will be washed out; the subject may be blurry, and the colors will not be accurate. Keeping your light source further away, to the side, or diffused through trees/shade of some sort can help dramatically.
Believe it or not, direct sunlight is not the best choice for photographing; overcast skies are your best friend. Working in even shade is your next best option!
To have a warm glow to your photos, try shooting in the hours of dusk or dawn when the light is just beginning to rise or fade from the skies. Photographers call this “the golden hour.” You can see when the sun is anticipated to set just by googling the date on which you’re wanting to photograph. Aim to shoot somewhere in the two hours before sunset.
3. Consider your composition.
One of the easiest ways to improve the composition of your photographs (the contents and how they are displayed so as to be visually appealing) is to apply the rule of thirds. If you don’t know about the rule of thirds, check this out. It’s a great guide to helping you take better photos.
4. Vary your frame of vision.
If you’re continually photographing at a downward angle at your child from a standing position, you’re not going to get a whole lot of variety in your photos. Get down on their level. Get below their level. Photograph from higher above than usual. Vary your level and angles to get a good variety of photos that will reveal different viewpoints of your child. The same is true for how close or far away you are from the subject and where you situate them in the frame of the photograph.
You can also get creative with the way you frame around your subject. There are some excellent examples here on different types of framing and ways to improve framing from Click It Up A Notch (one of my favorite photography guides online for parents).
5. Pay attention to the background/details.
Is there a tree sticking out of someone’s head from behind? (Or is someone’s head sticking out near someone’s behind?) If you alter your angle can you eliminate an unsightly water meter or pile of dirty clothes, for example? Is the tag on your child’s shirt sticking out? Paying attention to the details and the background can help you provide a finished look to your photographs once you’ve mastered the other steps.