Unlike my father and grandfathers, I’ve never taken my child to Sears for a portrait. Photographer Chase Jarvis opined that “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” and given the choice between slipping an iPhone or a department store into my pocket, I always chose the former.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up for taking great photos and videos of your new baby:
1. Take dozens of photos, keep a few
Babies move constantly, and any attempt to keep them still will destroy any chance of a smile. Instead of worrying about taking a single perfect photo, try to snap at least a half-dozen from any given angle, then throw out any that look unflattering or blurry later.
The iPhone 5s even has a built-in burst-shooting camera mode for snapping a ton of photos at once. That’s usually overkill, and prevents you from taking advantage of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) in settings with uneven light. In even, natural light, though, it can be used well to capture shots like this:
2. Short videos are easiest
If the baby is doing something that would look cute on video, I’ll try to shoot a six-second vine of it. Even if the video doesn’t turn out, six seconds isn’t that much lost time. If I can’t get a good vine from something after three tries, I give up and focus on having fun with the baby.
If you need additional image stabilization to record your daughter’s first air hockey match against her pops, both Instagram and Steady can help keep the action from nauseating your family and friends:
3. Let your baby get comfortable with the camera
Investing in a reliable and easy to grip phone case can give you the confidence to let your baby play with the camera. By playing with it regularly and seeing the photos you take immediately after each session, she’ll be excited when it’s camera time.
Before you know it, she’ll be taking her own vines!
4. Families expect holiday photos
When you can take great photos any day of the year, it’s easy to get caught up in holiday celebrations and let the evening slip away without taking out your phone. That’s a rookie parent mistake; your family will call the day after any holiday and ask when the baby’s holiday photos will be online. I suggest taking a bunch of photos and videos right at the beginning of the festivities, when your baby is full of energy and has no food on her clothes, and then focusing on enjoying the rest of the party.
For Halloween, the wings on this costume lasted about ninety seconds, but her grandparents don’t have to know that.
Bonus Christmas babyproofing tip: if you have living room windows facing your patio or balcony, keep your Christmas tree out there beyond the baby’s reach.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll share your photography tips and experiences in the comments section below!