5 Tips for Gorgeous Infant Photographs - Digital Photography School

5 Tips for Gorgeous Infant Photographs

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infant-photographs.jpgIt’s possible that Infant Photography is among the most priceless treasures of family memories. There are few things more remarkable than reminiscing about how far someone has come in life. After all, no matter where someone may end, up, everyone has started from the same place: as a helpless, tiny, 8lb~ person.

Infant Portraits have the power to preserve the precious naivete of an life, no matter how far they stray from it. To many parents, there is nothing so priceless.

Infant Portraiture is challenging. You must be incredibly sensitive to the Mother’s comfort, and extremely careful with the infant. You must be artistic. You must be technically sound. And on top if it all, you must be swift and precise. Here are a few tips to help you sort out your first Infant Portraiture session:

1. Work with the Mother: You don’t want to be responsible for the infant becoming injured during the shoot. A mother will know how best to handle her baby, and possesses the gentle touch to keep it safe. Make suggestions on posing, while asking the Mother, “is it possible to…”

2. Work with available light: If possible, shoot in an area that will not have challenging variables with light. Set up next to a window, or use strobes positioned and tested before you begin.

3. Determine the importance of surroundings: Some families want portraits of the Infant in “natural” contexts. On the parents bed. On a blanket in front of the couch. Sometimes they want to achieve a more “Anne Gedes” look in painstakingly set scenes with special props. Or, the look may be a simple studio backdrop with beautiful lighting. Know ahead of time. You will organize and plan your entire shoot based on this information.

4. Watch Details: Face shots, toes, fingers holding a blanket – all these details are important aspects of your documentation. Use them to add variety and artistry in your shots.

5. Go for the eyes: An infant’s eyes reflect purity and innocence like no other. If the infant is awake, make an effort to engage and pull out expressions. Be gentle. Be quiet. Smile. Tickle the baby. Talk to to the baby. Laugh together. If you connect, you will be able to pull out emotion from the eyes of this little person in ways you didn’t know were possible.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

  • Yani

    This is a beautiful portrait!!! i love taking pictures of my niece and children in general… but sometimes im not sure what ISO i should use (i have a panasonic lumix fx35) if theres any article that speaks of that already id be grateful!!
    God bless

  • http://mangiodasola.blogspot.com Memoria

    How about working with the father or another caretaker besides the mother? The mother isn’t the only person who knows how to take care of the child, and there are some mothers who aren’t good with children. I think you should choose any person the child is accustomed to dealing with, don’t assume that person is always the mother.

  • http://robkellas.com Rob Johnson

    Great tips thank you! I just had my first child recently and its wonderful to take pictures of her and currently the market for infant photography is increasing rapidly I am finding out.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tcdk/ TC

    Good stuff. Also:

    x. Keep an eye out for stuff that’s not supposed to be there. Babies are magnets for pieces of old food and dirt. The natural state of their noses are with a crusty something half-way in. Their mouths produce drool. All of this is hard to nearly impossible, to remove in post-production. Yeah, some of it can be classified as cute, but that will only get you off once. Look over the baby ever so often, and have the parent do the same and have them remove anything unwanted.

    I took this shot last week-end – Dagmar wanted to show us, that she had learned to wink. Very cute. Very crusty as she had just eaten something. I spend a bit of time in PP removing the worst crumbs from her face, but there’s only so much you can do…

    Oh, and smile a lot, laugh and have fun!

  • http://boomersurvive-thrive.typepad.com Rita

    Good tips, especially about having the mom involved and focusing on the eyes.

    Rita at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  • Eric

    I know in traditional portrait photography, you want to use a wide aperature to blur out the background.
    In infant photography, would you use a slightly smaller aperature to capture more depth of field? I talk my first pictures of my new baby at f1.8, but because the baby moved so much, some of my shots were out of focus. I would have sacrificed bokeh for an in focus subject. (maybe step down to f2.8 or something). I was next to a big window with plenty of light.

  • Shannon

    I have to second Memoria’s comment. Why are you saying “Mother” instead of “Parent”? That’s a sexist assumption to make that mom would automatically be the one to go to in handling the baby.

  • Love

    Why are we SO sensitive about saying a Mother is the caretaker? That’s probably true for a great majority! The article mentions parents. Shall we be up in arms to assume the child has parents? What about the feelings of orphans? Just read and enjoy the article, and move on. Quit looking for reasons to be offended. I liked the article, just not the nit-picker critics.

  • http://www.loraroney.com Lewis

    One of the reasons you need to shoot with at a higher f-stop with babies is because you are typically closer to your subject, meaning that the DOF you get shooting a baby at f1.8 from about 2.5ft away is going to be a lot shallower than you would get shooting a head shot from 5ft away.

  • James

    To Shannon all I can say is GET A LIFE!

    There is too much of this PC garbage out there. The Lady is only trying to help you!

    Carry on the good work madam ( Christina ) I am assuming you are a lady.

    James

  • Lonnie

    I agree with James and love’s comments…….good grief!!! yes !!! GET A LIFE if the only comment you can make about this article is to criticze the using of the word mother… I thought the hints were great, and yes, the MOTHER is usually the primary caretaker of the baby..Keep up the good work….

  • Rhonda

    My guess is that those who are offened by “mom” handling the baby have never had a baby. Congrats to any dad who is so involved with their child. Really, the main idea is beautiful, memorable baby shots to enjoy for years afterwards. Relax.

  • Nicole

    Rhonda, I HAVE an infant, am a stay at home parent, and the exclusion of fathers pisses me off. My partner is an involved father, and maybe if people didn’t casually assume Mothers are ALWAYS the ones caring for babies (not to mention ridiculing people who take offense at the suggestion) more fathers would be like him.
    We are Feminists, and We Breed. I realise it’s shocking to some that my politics didn’t cause my ovaries to shrivel up, or my partner’s penis to atrophy.

    If you are a SERIOUS professional photographer you will avoid sexist crap and pissing off swathes of potential clientele.

  • Pamela

    Goodness, let’s get over this women!! ……Christina, nice article. Too bad people are focusing on such trivial things such as the general term “mother”. Just as “he” is oftened used for “he OR she”, I believe “mother” is often used for the primary care giver…….often grandmother or grandfather, not JUST dad. So, to Nicole and others: RELAX will you??!! I am a full-time working professional woman and my husband stays home with my infant. This article doesn’t offend me in the least and I do believe the point was to help us get some nice shots of our little ones.

  • Lara

    Okay seriously… enough with the cries, gang. Really.

    Nothing about this article was assumptive of anyone’s situations out there, and you all know that. She mentions parents several times, and if everything in this world was meant to be written per the possible interpretation of every pair of eyes out there, NOTHING would be written ever, out of fear of offending even just one individual.

    Please… stop trying to discourage the author from sharing her ideas with these attacks of yours? I’m quite sure she didn’t mean to offend anyone at all.

  • karlena ludlow

    I was incredibly blessed to be able to work with Christina as she photographed my infant! I was impressed by her creativity in choosing poses and settings while remaining constantly aware of lighting. She interacted with me, asking me to position baby. Yet she also interacted with baby, always treating her as a little individual. Christina is an awesome artist and I would highly recommend her talent, knowledge, and skill!

  • http://www.globetrottingbride.com Globetrotting Bride

    I’m having a baby next month and these tips are soooo great to know!

  • Yvonne

    Thank you Christina for some wonderful tips. I have photographed babies, and have used the very same things you mentioned. As for the complaining going on, I am so sorry you have been subjected to that. It is pretty sad that one cannot try to be of some help, without being jumped on by others who seem to be looking for an argument. Keep up the great job and I will be looking forward to ANY other tips you might have.

    Again, thank you Darren for your wonderful website.

  • Simply Stacy

    I have a new great nephew and really appreciate the advice. I’m very amatuer, volunteering a lot of sessions for free, probably upsetting the paid professionals in the area, but I need the experience and am not ready for the pressure of being paid! I love this site, and the classes. I just wish people would stick to the rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say… SHUT UP!” It’s something like that anyway, right? : ) Learn what you can and leave the rest alone or write your own article about working with fathers if you find this one so offensive! . Congrats to the fathers who outdo the mom’s… the point is, who cares! It’s about helping me get great pictures and this article does that. If you find this article offensive, stop reading this author, but don’t clutter up what should be constuctive comments with your complaining. Please and Thank you!

  • http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca Jay McIntyre

    I set this cake smash shoot up beside a big window with a 43 inch reflector and had fun. The real fun started though when the dog joined in on the shoot.
    http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/benjamins-cake-smash/

  • janifer

    How do I keep my pictures being blurry when taking pic of baby while she is moving.

Some older comments

  • Jay McIntyre

    May 18, 2012 04:02 am

    I set this cake smash shoot up beside a big window with a 43 inch reflector and had fun. The real fun started though when the dog joined in on the shoot.
    http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/benjamins-cake-smash/

  • Simply Stacy

    September 2, 2011 08:05 am

    I have a new great nephew and really appreciate the advice. I'm very amatuer, volunteering a lot of sessions for free, probably upsetting the paid professionals in the area, but I need the experience and am not ready for the pressure of being paid! I love this site, and the classes. I just wish people would stick to the rule "if you don't have anything nice to say... SHUT UP!" It's something like that anyway, right? : ) Learn what you can and leave the rest alone or write your own article about working with fathers if you find this one so offensive! . Congrats to the fathers who outdo the mom's... the point is, who cares! It's about helping me get great pictures and this article does that. If you find this article offensive, stop reading this author, but don't clutter up what should be constuctive comments with your complaining. Please and Thank you!

  • Yvonne

    October 2, 2009 04:58 am

    Thank you Christina for some wonderful tips. I have photographed babies, and have used the very same things you mentioned. As for the complaining going on, I am so sorry you have been subjected to that. It is pretty sad that one cannot try to be of some help, without being jumped on by others who seem to be looking for an argument. Keep up the great job and I will be looking forward to ANY other tips you might have.

    Again, thank you Darren for your wonderful website.

  • Globetrotting Bride

    September 15, 2009 12:53 am

    I'm having a baby next month and these tips are soooo great to know!

  • karlena ludlow

    August 30, 2009 03:11 am

    I was incredibly blessed to be able to work with Christina as she photographed my infant! I was impressed by her creativity in choosing poses and settings while remaining constantly aware of lighting. She interacted with me, asking me to position baby. Yet she also interacted with baby, always treating her as a little individual. Christina is an awesome artist and I would highly recommend her talent, knowledge, and skill!

  • Lara

    August 27, 2009 03:23 am

    Okay seriously... enough with the cries, gang. Really.

    Nothing about this article was assumptive of anyone's situations out there, and you all know that. She mentions parents several times, and if everything in this world was meant to be written per the possible interpretation of every pair of eyes out there, NOTHING would be written ever, out of fear of offending even just one individual.

    Please... stop trying to discourage the author from sharing her ideas with these attacks of yours? I'm quite sure she didn't mean to offend anyone at all.

  • Pamela

    August 27, 2009 02:42 am

    Goodness, let's get over this women!! ......Christina, nice article. Too bad people are focusing on such trivial things such as the general term "mother". Just as "he" is oftened used for "he OR she", I believe "mother" is often used for the primary care giver.......often grandmother or grandfather, not JUST dad. So, to Nicole and others: RELAX will you??!! I am a full-time working professional woman and my husband stays home with my infant. This article doesn't offend me in the least and I do believe the point was to help us get some nice shots of our little ones.

  • Nicole

    August 24, 2009 09:08 pm

    Rhonda, I HAVE an infant, am a stay at home parent, and the exclusion of fathers pisses me off. My partner is an involved father, and maybe if people didn't casually assume Mothers are ALWAYS the ones caring for babies (not to mention ridiculing people who take offense at the suggestion) more fathers would be like him.
    We are Feminists, and We Breed. I realise it's shocking to some that my politics didn't cause my ovaries to shrivel up, or my partner's penis to atrophy.

    If you are a SERIOUS professional photographer you will avoid sexist crap and pissing off swathes of potential clientele.

  • Rhonda

    August 24, 2009 01:27 pm

    My guess is that those who are offened by "mom" handling the baby have never had a baby. Congrats to any dad who is so involved with their child. Really, the main idea is beautiful, memorable baby shots to enjoy for years afterwards. Relax.

  • Lonnie

    August 21, 2009 11:33 pm

    I agree with James and love's comments.......good grief!!! yes !!! GET A LIFE if the only comment you can make about this article is to criticze the using of the word mother... I thought the hints were great, and yes, the MOTHER is usually the primary caretaker of the baby..Keep up the good work....

  • James

    August 21, 2009 06:29 am

    To Shannon all I can say is GET A LIFE!

    There is too much of this PC garbage out there. The Lady is only trying to help you!

    Carry on the good work madam ( Christina ) I am assuming you are a lady.

    James

  • Lewis

    August 21, 2009 05:36 am

    One of the reasons you need to shoot with at a higher f-stop with babies is because you are typically closer to your subject, meaning that the DOF you get shooting a baby at f1.8 from about 2.5ft away is going to be a lot shallower than you would get shooting a head shot from 5ft away.

  • Love

    August 21, 2009 02:54 am

    Why are we SO sensitive about saying a Mother is the caretaker? That's probably true for a great majority! The article mentions parents. Shall we be up in arms to assume the child has parents? What about the feelings of orphans? Just read and enjoy the article, and move on. Quit looking for reasons to be offended. I liked the article, just not the nit-picker critics.

  • Shannon

    August 20, 2009 06:52 am

    I have to second Memoria's comment. Why are you saying "Mother" instead of "Parent"? That's a sexist assumption to make that mom would automatically be the one to go to in handling the baby.

  • Eric

    August 14, 2009 11:57 pm

    I know in traditional portrait photography, you want to use a wide aperature to blur out the background.
    In infant photography, would you use a slightly smaller aperature to capture more depth of field? I talk my first pictures of my new baby at f1.8, but because the baby moved so much, some of my shots were out of focus. I would have sacrificed bokeh for an in focus subject. (maybe step down to f2.8 or something). I was next to a big window with plenty of light.

  • Rita

    August 14, 2009 06:30 pm

    Good tips, especially about having the mom involved and focusing on the eyes.

    Rita at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  • TC

    August 14, 2009 05:46 pm

    Good stuff. Also:

    x. Keep an eye out for stuff that's not supposed to be there. Babies are magnets for pieces of old food and dirt. The natural state of their noses are with a crusty something half-way in. Their mouths produce drool. All of this is hard to nearly impossible, to remove in post-production. Yeah, some of it can be classified as cute, but that will only get you off once. Look over the baby ever so often, and have the parent do the same and have them remove anything unwanted.

    I took this shot last week-end - Dagmar wanted to show us, that she had learned to wink. Very cute. Very crusty as she had just eaten something. I spend a bit of time in PP removing the worst crumbs from her face, but there's only so much you can do...

    Oh, and smile a lot, laugh and have fun!

  • Rob Johnson

    August 14, 2009 04:36 pm

    Great tips thank you! I just had my first child recently and its wonderful to take pictures of her and currently the market for infant photography is increasing rapidly I am finding out.

  • Memoria

    August 14, 2009 01:01 pm

    How about working with the father or another caretaker besides the mother? The mother isn't the only person who knows how to take care of the child, and there are some mothers who aren't good with children. I think you should choose any person the child is accustomed to dealing with, don't assume that person is always the mother.

  • Yani

    August 14, 2009 12:49 pm

    This is a beautiful portrait!!! i love taking pictures of my niece and children in general... but sometimes im not sure what ISO i should use (i have a panasonic lumix fx35) if theres any article that speaks of that already id be grateful!!
    God bless

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