Well, what a lovely few days of sunshine we have had. I have been enjoying some family time over the Easter Bank Holiday and it’s so nice to finally be able to get outside without carrying an array of different coats! It’s also been busy in the studio with maternity photoshoots and newborn photoshoots which I must say are my absolute favourite. I just love seeing the joy upon your faces when you see the images I have captured.
Now, on to today’s topic – I often get asked about taking better pictures at home, and while many of my client’s pop in for a shoot to record key milestones, we all know that capturing great images at home is also important.
But how do you take better pictures at home? All the images in the collage below are taken in a living room, using natural light.... want to know how? Read on for some tips and tricks!
Light - the key to your perfect portrait!
Finding the right light can be a challenge, but natural light really can be your best friend when taking pictures in your home. North facing windows let in light that isn’t too harsh and glaring, and if you’re taking a photo of your baby laying down on a surface (such as a bed) place their head at the same side as the window (or light source). If you are looking to take a picture of your baby lying on the floor position them near a large window that lets in the most light or even by a glass door that reaches to the floor, keeping the light source to the side of them so as not to cause a silhouette.
Remember that sun streaming into the window will cause your baby to squint. This also applies to photographing outside; work out where the sun is and turn your child away from it. You could time at outdoor photograph for what some photographers call ‘the Magic Hour’, which is usually the first hour after sunrise or the last two hours before sunset. The light is softer and warmer. Avoiding the midday sun will stop heavy shadows, and while cloudy days don’t make the best backgrounds they are easiest to work with!
Levels and Perspective (aka camera angles!)
One huge trick I’ve learnt when taking a picture from above (thus taking in your baby’s full body) is to stand at your baby’s head and take the picture upside down, then when editing you can flip the image around, this helps to keep the image balanced. Being level with your baby is also important, especially if you want them looking directly at the camera!
Remember that whatever is closest to your camera is going to look the biggest. Keep things in proportion, if you stand at the feet end then your baby’s bottom will look disproportionately large!
Just look at the difference between shooting from the head and the bum, both of these babies are simply laid down on my posing surface in a very similar position, one makes babies bum look huge and their head tiny - and we can see far more nostril than we'd like to... and the other? Simply beautiful :
One thing I’ve learnt is that babies are much more cooperative if they are comfortable and warm. Make sure to keep the room you are photographing them in warm, especially if you decide to take pictures with limited clothing, and keep your baby wrapped up if you are taking pictures outside. Being nice and full also aides in your baby feeling happy and comfortable while you’re taking photos, so try to time your photography session after a feed or after snack time. Sleepy babies make for great photos (and also help you to concentrate!) and they really do look wonderfully cute while they’re asleep! And if all else fails, "just go with it" is another huge motto of mine. Shots of them playing and having fun can be just as magical as perfect poses (and even I resort to bribery from time to time!)
To me, nothing shouts "DIY photoshoot" more than a creased or wrinkly background. So my number one tip here would be to either use a nice clean blank wall and sit baby at least a meter away from it, or if you want to use a backdrop or sheet, make sure you get the creases out first. Backdrops and sheets can look wonderful when set up correctly, but creases will draw your eye towards them and become distracting, rather than the focus being on your beautiful baby.
Shooting outside can also provide some interesting backgrounds, especially with older baby’s and sibling photos, but be careful not to make the image look too ‘busy’- and remember to watch what the light is doing so you don't get squinty eyes or harsh shadows!
And Most Importantly... Relax
You are not after perfection (remember, that's my job and it takes years to master). You are capturing beautiful memories of your family; and some of the best memories come from imperfect moments (hello poo explosions!).
Spending time with your baby is one of the most important things you can do, try to get in front of the camera sometimes so your child has you to look back on as well - rope in a friend or family member to help you get some pictures of everyone together where possible. Even if you don't feel like a goddess, pictures of you with your children are some of the most precious gifts you can give to your children once they've grown up.
I hope this has helped to give you a few pointers on how best to capture images at home and record those special moments that you can treasure for ever - but if it still feels like too much, or doesn't quite go to plan, you can always book in a professional session and leave the hard work to me!
Don’t forget to follow along with all my moments over on my social media channels, (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MomentsCapturedByMarie or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/momentscapturedbymarie/ ) for more photography tips, motherhood musings and of course lots of inspiration for capturing your own images.
If you would like to book a session remember that all experiences are tailored to your individual need, and with no time limits on sessions, so you can be sure we have plenty of time to bring your vision to life.