By Alexis Dawes
When my daughter Layla was born I had a hard time putting the camera down. And apparently I wasn't the only one. The cashier at the photo developing shop told me that new parents comprised a fairly sizable chunk of their business.
We can't help it! Babies are such beautiful creatures that you want to capture every new movement and every fleeting smile that comes along. (Even if that smile is attached to a smelly gas bubble!)
However the problem many parents have is that their lack of good photography skills can translate into pictures that are too dark, too bright, blurry, out of focus, uncentered, and so on. Perhaps this describes you.
If so, don't sweat it. These problems are easily fixable. An album full of mishaps can quickly be transformed by following these 4 tips...
1) When taking pictures of babies lying on their backs, stand directly over them and shoot straight down.
I used to take a solid color baby blanket and place it on the floor in a bright, sun filled room. When I was ready to take a picture I would put Layla on the blanket, and adjust it around her, making sure not to put her directly in the sunlight. Then I'd get on my knees right over her, aim straight down and snap away.
This technique will allow you to center the camera properly and you'll get some great close-up shots. The natural sunlight will often give you just enough light so your picture isn't too dark or too bright.
2) Capture a range of emotions.
Smiling babies are cute. But so are crying babies and pouting babies and messy babies and sleeping babies.
Be sure to take pictures of your little one in all phases of his or her emotion filled life. You'll be amazed at how truly beautiful they are in non-traditional picture taking situations.
3) Make bath time picture time.
While there are some babies who don't like water, most love it. They often become very expressive in the bath tub - laughing, cooing and splashing. So bath time often becomes a great opportunity to capture a few precious shots of your little one.
I've personally used the bathtub to document how Layla has changed over her 2+ years. Every couple of months I take a few close-up pictures of her in the bathtub. Then I take the best one and place it in a special section in the photo album.
It's truly amazing to see how her face changes so dramatically with each new picture.
4) If you use a disposable camera, choose a good one.
I purchased 3 dirt cheap disposable cameras before I had Layla. When we brought her home these were the ones we used for the first week of photo taking.
Boy was I disappointed! The pictures developed horribly. And as a new mommy with hormones still raging, you know how sad this made me. Those cuddly little moments can never be relived again.
I learned a good lesson though. You get what you pay for.
Now my disposable camera of choice is the Kodak Max HQ. It's one of the more pricey disposable cameras. However the quality is fantastic in comparison to other disposables I've used.
You can usually buy them inexpensively on eBay. Popular retailers like Target and Wal-Mart also run sales on them quite frequently.
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