How to get the best baby pictures ever

When you have a new baby you want to take a picture of every potential moment of that baby’s life. Everything is a first. Every expression feels brand new. Everything your baby does is amazing and wondrous and must be recorded for posterity!

It’s okay: every new parent is like this.

You probably have hundreds of candid shots of your baby by now. Have you thought about having some actual baby portraits taken?

Having a formal portrait of your baby taken every few months during his first year or two is a good idea. Candids are fantastic and you might even be a phenomenal photographer. Still, a posed (as much as a baby can be posed anyway) shot is something that many parents treasure.

Here are a few things that you can do to help your baby’s pictures turn out perfectly (or as close to it as you can get):

1. Stay Close

The goal is to have a picture of a happy and smiling baby, right? Babies are naturally curious creatures and will probably enjoy the visit to the portrait studio—provided you stay close by. Plopping your baby down on the platform and walking over to stand behind the photographer won’t get it done and could actually scare your child. Stay where your baby can see you (but out of the photographer’s frame) so that your baby knows he is safe. This will help him stay calm and, hopefully, smiling.

2. Allow Toys

So many parents hope for a very posed picture of just the baby in front of a cute background. Babies, though, can only last for a few minutes in that situation before they get restless. Having a favorite toy or two nearby (or even in the shot) can keep your baby calm and happy. Even better, it’s a great way to document just how much she loves that battered stuffed bear (which will be the source of many cute stories later in her life).

3. Avoid the Flash

An experienced baby photographer will have a brightly lit studio so that she can avoid using the flash on her camera. The sudden and bright flash of light is traumatic for babies (especially very young babies) and, unless that first portrait is perfect, will pretty much guarantee that every shot after that will be of a screaming, crying and potentially flailing baby. Even better, work with a portrait photographer who uses natural light as often as possible—even in baby photography. Natural light looks best—take advantage of that!

4. Don’t Let Your Self Consciousness Win

Babies are curious but they don’t usually smile as they check things out. If you are determined to have a smiling baby in the portrait, you’re going to have to act a bit ridiculous.

Really ham it up for your baby. This gives them someone to focus on so they won’t worry so much about their surroundings and, hopefully, will get them to smile and laugh for the pictures.

They’re going to feel like a lot of work now, but the effort you put in to getting these fantastic and beautiful portraits will be worth it later. They’re wonderful keepsakes and records of your child’s life and can be used later on, like for graduations, weddings, etc.

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