This week I chatted to Adele, photographer and mum to almost 2-year-old Emilie. O (This is one I'm particularly excited about, as photography is something I've really developed an interest in since becoming a parent). Adele has been a photographer for over 15 years and has been photographing babies for the last 4 years at her home studio in Epsom, Surrey. Adele shares her top 5 tips for capturing the early moments of your little one, that go SO fast!
1. SHOW THEIR SIZE
Newborns are so teeny tiny but it can be difficult to show just how small they are when there is nothing to compare them to. Taking photographs of your baby safely held in mummy or daddy's hands is a lovely way to record just how little they were.
2. PHOTOGRAPH THEM SLEEPING
It can be really difficult to capture their lovely angelic features when their hands are waving around in front of their faces. Newborns have very little control over their co-ordination so their arms and feet can often have a mind of their own. Photographing them asleep or in a lovely swaddle means that you have more time to think about how you want to photograph them rather than trying to quickly snap an image with a blurry hand flying by.
3. CAPTURE THE DETAILS
I'm sure it's not just me who is fascinated by little hands and feet. The best way to photograph them is either to steady their hands and feet with your hands or photograph them while they're sleeping. If you have a macro setting on your camera or phone (sometimes this is a flower symbol or a picture of food) then use that for capturing close up details.
4. CAPTURE THEIR FIRSTS
I love keeping a photo diary of my daughter, I don't get chance to keep a written record of her early years, but thanks to camera phones I can easily capture all her major milestone. Not all photographs have to be perfectly composed, some just need to quickly capture a moment, a memory, that will help you remember in years to come. First steps, the first taste of a lemon, their first bath and first feeling snow, they're all magical moments and make for wonderful photographic memories. TOP TIP: The Flickr app is amazing for automatically syncing all your photos to your online account and they can all stay private unless you manually go and change the settings. Every single photo I have is on my private Flickr account and then I change the privacy to "Family members only" so distant relatives can keep up with Emilie. It's also useful if you lose your phone or if it dies. It literally backs up every single photo (oh and set it to only back up when you're on the wifi to save your monthly data allowance).
5. GET IN THE PHOTO
I know how hard it is. I really had to force myself to do it too. With a post-baby body, sleep-deprived eyes, a lack of make-up and complete disregard for brushed hair, the last thing I wanted to do was get in the photo. BUT... One day your little one will want to see photos of themselves and photos of all their loved ones around them and they will REALLY want you to be in them. They won't want to look back at a childhood of memories and for your not to be in them. Even though you might be the one behind the camera it will appear as though you weren't even there. And the thing is, they see you every day, they see their mum, they see your love for them and they adore you. You're just you, their mum and they love it, they don't care if you've put your makeup on or if you have bags under your eyes. AND you don't need to show photos to anyone else, they don't need to be shared on social media, they can sit in a box just waiting for your son or daughter to discover them when they're older, so they can look back on them when they're ready to have children of their own. Here's the proof that I actually did it!
If you'd like a photograph with your little one that includes a little retouching fairy dust then I offer mummy & me sessions. Images are professionally lit (which makes a huge difference) and retouched to show you at your very best.
A NOTE ON SAFETY
Sorry to be a nagging Nancy but as I produce images which may sometimes involve a little photographic trickery I feel I have a responsibility to explain that there are some things online that you shouldn't try at home. Not everything you see online has been done safely or is as it seems. Please don’t put your baby at unnecessary risk for the sake of a photograph. Here are a few things that you will find on the internet, that should be avoided...
1. Never place a baby in anything glass. Whether a bowl, vase or any other vessel. It’s just not worth the risk.
2. Please don’t ever wrap fairy lights around your baby. They can get very hot and burn them, not to mention they're electric wires and babies like to chew, dribble and pee.
3. Never suspend your baby in a hammock or dangle them from a sheet of fabric, branch or hoop. Newborns have a startle reflex and if they startle it could be catastrophic. Many of the images you see involve some photo trickery.
4.If a baby looks in a position that looks cute but tricky please don’t try it. A baby can not naturally balance their head up on their hands propped up on their elbows (aka froggy pose). Their head is too heavy and their neck and wrists aren’t strong enough. Not to mention they are not stable and could startle at any time. Leave tricky poses and composite images to those who have had training. In the image below, it looks like mum is holding her baby up in the air but with a cheeky behind the scenes snap you'll see baby never left the beanbag.
5. Don’t dazzle them with your flash. Camera phone flashes can go off unexpectedly in low light and it’s likely that you’ll be quite close and baby might be looking right at you when you take the photo. So if you’re taking photos on your phone please double check your flash is OFF and not on auto if you’re taking a photo of your baby while they are awake.