(photo credit Elza Photographie)
This is the first of a series of posts to help you mamas and papas capture all the sweetest details of your little ones as they grow.
My first little one is growing up faster than I can handle and at 23 months we're doing her first milestone photo because this mama right her didn't think it was important at the time. Now that I've done a few with my second baby girl, I'm realizing that it's not just about taking a pretty picture. It's about capturing them in that moment so we can recall their little habits and quirks...it's truly another way to bond, and to soak up all their sweetness so we can reminisce about from time to time as they get older. These monthly milestone pictures have become a lovely ritual for us where I get to reflect on how much they've grown and changed, dress up together (me too! I always snap a few selfies together since I'm never in any of our photos), and make some silly sounds and faces between taking photos. So whether it's weekly, monthly, just the first year, or from birth to 18 years, I bet your future self will thank you for taking those extra moments to capture your children as they grow.
I teamed up with my lovely friend and baby/family photographer, Elza of Elza Photographie to share a few general (all ages) and practical tips for snapping those milestones pics. If you love that light, natural light style, this guide is for you!
1 - Choose your equipment
You don't need a fancy DSLR or Film camera to take beautiful photos of your baby, although of course they will give you beautiful photos too. I love how accessible our phones are and if you know how to edit your photos after you snap them you can also get really beautiful results. Try using a different (free!) camera app then the standard camera app on your phone. For Android users, check out VSCO. iPhone users should check out the app Filmborn. This app mimics traditional film photography and the results will instantly make you feel like a pro! Play around with the editing options - I'm sure you'll love it!
(iPhone photo taken with the regular camera the left, iPhone Filmborn Photo even before editing on the right. Check our Instagram for the final edit @buenomarket)
Note: In Filmborn I really only use the Fujifilm 160NS or 400H, or the Kodak P 160 or P 400 Film presets for taking my photos. And then afterwards I usually only need increase the exposure a bit and sometimes adjust the warmth (and sometimes lower the saturation) to get a pretty result!
2 - Find a place with lots of natural light
And light coloured walls (white is best!). If you're shooting indoors, go by a window and open up your patio door. Whatever gets you lots of light bouncing will help reduce harsh shadows, make their skin and eyes look beautiful, and make the pictures crisp. To get beautiful skin tones, Elza suggests you to turn off the lights indoors. "The sun is the only light you need!"
If you're shooting outdoors, Elza's tip is to find some shade. Direct sunlight is not good for photos either.
3 - Keep the colors soft and neutral
Especially for anything near their face. Any bright colours will reflect on to their skin. Elza's tip for the background - try to keep it simple and not too busy. "Move everything that is superfluous or unwanted in the photo (toys, pillows, clothes, pacifiers, the tv guide!". Soft textures like a blanket work best. Dressing in light colors will allow their features to be the focus (that tuft of hair, or wrist rolls...oh how adorable!)
4 - Pick your angles
For sleeping pictures (so sweet at any age...ok maybe no so cute once they are in highschool!), we love shooting from above so you are looking straight down just like the above picture. For sitting or standing photos, Elza says to go down at their level. "So sit down, lean in, or lie down on the ground! The camera has to be at the level of the eyes of your little one."
5 - Provide context
Whether is your hand on their little belly, a position or location they love to be in, a bonnet that matches her blue eyes perfectly, or some vintage baby blocks passed down to him from daddy, try and include something meaningful that will help you remember them at this moment in time. For my second's 4 month photo, she fell asleep on her belly and it will forever remind me of her departure from that sleepy newborn stage into babyhood.
Ready to try yourself? Check our our new collection of milestone cards!
Ok not really a full tip, but make sure to frame your baby with some "white space" around them. That might mean standing up if they are down on the ground, or even getting a stool to stand on if they are up in their crib. But it will really help the photo to feel light and airy and not too congested.
Have fun snapping those pics mamas and papas. Coming up next...a photo guide for newborn to 3 months!