Bethany Wears Photography » Natural and Creative Photography

My itty bitty teeny tiny baby is not so itty bitty teeny tiny anymore! We just celebrated her first birthday, and as I was editing her 12 Month photos, I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned along the way! If you’ve already started taking your baby’s pics, don’t worry, some of these can still be applied! Unfortunately it took all 12 months for me to come up with these, so I didn’t follow each of these tips. I’m expecting another wee one in September though and I’ll be sure to follow them for him 🙂

Faye’s Monthly Close-Ups

  1. Try to take the photos in the same spot and at the same time of day each time.
    -I know your kiddo might not always be the most cooperative, but at least give it a try! There were several times I went to take Faye’s photo and she was not having it, so I gave her a few minutes before shoving the camera in her face. We played a little trying to get her to smile or at least look at me without crying! Sometimes the face you get after the crying face is the sweetest one! If you think there’s nooooo way they will calm down for at least one shot, try again the next day.
    -Taking the photo at the same time and place is the best way to get consistent lighting in your 12 photos. As you can see in my monthly pics, the first two are a lot darker than the rest. Take your photos by a window or door that gets good light from outside. Natural light filtering in from the outside is the best way to get good coloring in your photos and to really bring out your little ones skin and eyes. Using indoor ceiling or lamp lighting can make your photos look yellow, and even if you fix that, it’s hard to show their natural skin tone and eye color with indoor lighting!
    -If you’re having trouble finding a window or door that has bright enough light, sometimes using a white blanket or sheet as the background can help reflect the light onto your baby’s face/body.
  2. Use the same orientation each month!
    It’s easier to compare the photos afterwards if they are all the same orientation (portrait vs landscape, horizontal vs vertical). The first one I took was landscape, so I tried (and failed one month!) to take the rest that way as well. It might be easier to take them using portrait orientation, as your baby will be getting longer each month, so you’ll have more room in the shot to get their body and background, and you won’t have to worry about accidentally cutting out a foot or hand 🙂
  3. Use the same item each month for reference.
    Stuffed animal, favorite book, baby toy, fake flower, whatever you want! I used a vintage stuffed dog that was my husband’s grandparents’. Keep in mind your baby will likely grab for it once they get old enough, so make sure it’s not something they can harm themselves with in the few seconds it will take to get it away from them. Also, along that line, when they do grab for it, embrace it! As long as it’s something you’re ok with them holding, it’s fun to see them interested in it and a good way to document that milestone 🙂
  4. Add something personal for interest if desired!
    I didn’t think about this one until the third month. I knew I had a lot of blankets that were either made or bought for her by various family members and friends. I thought it would be neat to lay her on a different blanket each month, so I have a photo of her with each of her blankets as well! I didn’t bother counting how many blankets I had though, so I ended up using a blanket that I got in Mexico (month 12) and reusing a quilt I got from my Grandma many years ago (month 2 and 11)! It’s ok though, they’re both still special to me so that keeps it personal 🙂
  5. Take a LOT of photos in a row.
    Especially when they start moving nonstop! It can be hard to judge exactly when you’ll get that perfect look or when they will stop flailing their arms and/or legs for a half second haha. Plus outtakes can be hilarious!
  6.  Take a full body shot and a close-up.
    The full body shots are fun to see how much bigger your baby has gotten over the months and the close-ups are fun to see how their sweet little faces and hair change (or stay the same!). I think the close-ups are important to include, because in the full body shots, you have to zoom in or hold the photo super close to get a good look at that face! When taking the close-ups especially, try to angle them so that both sides of the face have decent lighting. You can see in month 2 and 4 that I didn’t do a great job of this. Obviously getting a photo at all is a feat in itself, so if this isn’t super important to you, that’s totally fine. I found that if I rotated Faye a little bit and moved myself closer to the window, when she looked at me more of her face was lit.

    These next few tips are for if you are using a camera that allows you to adjust the aperture and focus:
    Aperture/f-stop is the opening of the camera lens every time you take a photo. It determines how much light is let in to each photo, and also the depth of field. A larger aperture (smaller f-stop) allows more light in, and a shallow depth of field (less of the photo in focus). A smaller aperture (larger f-stop) lets less light in, and more of the photo in focus.

  7. For the full body shot, use a smaller aperture.
    Since you will be taking these from farther away you want to make sure more of the photo is in focus, incase you focus on an arm or leg instead of the face. In my case, for most of my photos I held the camera out over Faye. I wasn’t looking through to see and be able to focus where I needed to, so a smaller aperture would help to keep more of her in focus.
  8. For the close-up, use a larger aperture and focus on the eyes.
    Show off those beautiful baby blues, greens, browns, hazels, etc. No matter the eye color, baby eyes are fascinating! Focusing on the eyes will naturally smooth skin also, since the depth of field is shallower with a larger aperture, if the eyes are in focus, most of the rest of the face will be slightly out of focus.