Photographing Babies: Tips for Rookie Moms

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All new moms take lots of pictures. We think the photographs should be as charming as the expression on your baby’s face. That’s why we asked LA-based animal and baby photographer Sharon Montrose to give us some tips.

We don’t have professional equipment. How can we take pictures as gorgeous as yours?

People should not underestimate today’s point and shoot cameras, especially ones like the Canon G-10 that have extra settings and really impressive image quality. Some things to keep in mind with digital in general is that you can’t overexpose, so make sure you stay out of bright sun, which is a generally a good idea anyway. You want to look for what is called “open shade”. This can be shade under a tree or from a large building. Also, turn off the flash or put a piece of scotch tape over it to diffuse it. On-camera flash when not used properly can be unflattering, even on baby faces.


If I want to do an amateur photoshoot of my toddler in my house, what set up might work well?

Keep it simple. Pick a room that has lots of windows for natural light. Move some furniture out of the way to make a mini-studio. Use your white or colored wall with carpet or wood flooring as a clean background. If your walls are colored, let the background be the platform for your image and go simple with clothing or just skin. If your walls are light or white, use a punches of color like a red in clothing. Keep propping minimal. If your child needs to sit, try using something that adds interest like a vintage school chair or an Eames stool.

mom and baby

If I want to do a great photoshoot of my new baby and location is flexible, where should I go?

Newborn – 6 months can be tough because of the sitting-up factor. Use the same methods as above, but use a bed or changing table to photograph your baby on his/her back or belly. Lay a blanket down and shoot from above. Try cropping in tight to highlight details: just the face, the bellybutton, the feet, the ears. Most cameras have a “macro” setting to do this.

Kids with dogs – any tips?

I like to photograph kids and their dogs in a outdoor environment. Try a park or your backyard with open shade and go for candid moments.

baby and dog phoot

Any more baby photography tips for rookies?

Utilize locations that inherently make for good images, like the beach.

kid at beach photo

Try converting to black and white.

Experiment with composition. Go for a profile, or humorous hair styles and cropping.

And last, get a chalkboard wall! They are VERY photogenic and fun to incorporate drawing and scribbles into your images.

Do a growth chart picture with it monthly– it is my own personal obsession!

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Thanks to the magic of Facebook, RookieMom Whitney connected with Sharon twenty-five years after their shared passion for sticker collecting and cartwheel contests died down. Check out Sharon’s website to see more of her amazing work.
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More photo fun

- Produce photo documentation for your baby “A Day in the Life
- Have lots of cute outfits to commemorate? Play baby doll
- More than one kid? Stuff them in a Pack N Play

See all RookieMoms.com photo-related activities

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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