Simple tips for baby portraits at home

Baby photography can be quite challenging at the best of times, however once you understand some of the basics, the only limit will be your imagination. Here are some simple tips to get started:

Timing is everything

Choose a time of day which is good for you and your baby. I’ve found that morning or just after a feed can be a good time. I’d highly recommended asking a family member or friend to help you, so that you can concentrate on taking pictures!

Lighting tips

Window lighting is perfect for a baby’s soft, delicate skin. Here are some tips for great lighting:

  • Larger windows create softer light
  • Choose a room in your house with bright window lighting
  • Sunny days are best for maximum light
  • Shooting at midday on a sunny day can help you avoid issues with direct sunlight

Clothing

Choose clothing in colours that help to bring out your baby’s eyes. Play around with different options, such as cute hats. To make nappy shots look more appealing use a cloth nappy cover.

Use distractions and toys sparingly

Have some noisy toys ready before you start. Because babies can quickly becoming desensitized to noise, ask your helper to wait until you’re ready before trying to get the baby’s attention.

Location and posing ideas

Bedroom poses:

Try sitting your baby at the head of the bed between some pillows and add a pillow behind their head if more support is needed. Use a throw, blanket or bedspread over the bedhead and/or pillows if needed. Then lay them on their stomach for some cute shots, allowing you to get at a low angle.

Place the baby on their stomach near the edge of the bed with their head and arms being propped up by a pillow. Drape a throw over the pillow if needed. Then sit or kneel on the floor and take some shots at the baby’s eye level

Place the baby on their stomach (as in the picture on the right), turn the baby’s head toward you and take some shots at eye level

Ask your helper to hold the baby’s leg’s together and take some photos of the soles of the feet

Have the helper hold the baby’s legs further down and wrap a small blanket around the baby’s legs to help cover your helper’s hands

Living room poses

Drape a blanket or throw over the top of a beanbag, car seat or bassinet for a nice clean background, then place the baby in position facing the window light.

Position the baby in the corner of a lounge chair or sofa, using blankets or throws (if needed) to cover an old lounge

Floor poses

Lay your baby in a curled up position on their side on a blanket or throw and shoot from directly above. This works really well for sleeping shots.

Place the baby on their stomach and take some nude or nappy shots from direct above, using a small stool if needed.

Held poses

These held poses include your helper in the shot, so it’s best to choose a partner or family member you want to appear in the photograph.

For the more flattering lighting, take the following shots standing near a window.

Get your helper to hold the baby facing them, then give them a kiss on the face or tummy to get their attention. Be ready to capture their expression at the right moment!

Ask your helper to hold the baby lying cradled in their arms, taking some close up shots and including the arms of your helper. Then take some more shots including your helper interacting with the baby.

Position the baby in a more sitting up position while still being cradled for a variation on the previous shot.

Place the baby over your helper’s shoulder with the baby’s facing the camera. Take some close ups of the baby’s face and then take some shots of your helper interacting with the baby

Backyard shots

On a sunny day use the shade of awnings, pergolas, walls or shady trees to avoid direct sunlight

If the sun is low in the sky, take some shots with the sun behind, being careful that the sun is not hitting your lens

On a cloudy day you can shoot almost anywhere, because  the clouds will ensure soft lighting in all directions

Technical tips

Once you’ve set up your shot, do a quick scan of the background for any distractions. Change your position or move the baby if needed.

Unless used carefully, flash can cause harsh lighting, so try turning your flash off.  However, it’s worth keeping in mind that without flash you’ll need bright window light to avoid blurry shots.

If you know how to change your aperture, choose a wide aperture for a beautifully blurred background.

Choose a macro setting for close up shots of your baby’s eyes, ears and hands

Start small

Try selecting only a handful of ideas from above, otherwise you, your baby (and your helper) will quickly become tired.

Remember, you can always save some ideas for another day!