Archive: ‘Babies’

Window light is Best for Babies!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Here is sweet Sophia again just a few weeks old.  The trick to photographing babies is to be patient. I am not a professional photographer and I have not been to formal photography classes  but I am a mom and I know that babies have to be fed, warm and with mama to be happy. So, I am guessing that works for the photography mom too. We got her up after a little nap and mama fed her. We moved over to some window light and started shooting.

First I grabbed some shots of this cute little bottom and those precious feet! I set my camera to the following settings using my 50mm 1.4 lens I love.  

Shutter Speed  1/125, because she was not moving fast, I usually like to keep the ss at least 1/200 with kids. but this day I needed to lower it to get the light to work.

F-Stop 3.5, because I wanted some blur in the background

ISO 500 because we were inside and the window light was not too bright.

I picked up this cute diaper cover at a specialty children’s shop for my camera bag because diapers are ugly and bright colors/clothes are not always flattering on newborns, we love baby skin to show.



Then we put a black shirt on mom and a pink bow on baby and tried out best to get baby to look at me, she was not too interested at first…


But I kept shooting…


and finally got some eye contact!


Next I wanted to get  some more feet to go with the shot we took before she was born, remember this one?



I had mom sit by the window. Window light is best…love it…

Then it was time to eat again! love the ‘nursing hands’!


The next tip is to try to get babies face close to mama, this is harder than you think but worth the effort.


I love the way the light is coming across her profile in these shots:


She is not old enough to hold her head up so a little help from mama’s hands under the blanket works.


Finally one more shot of that precious face! For these I used some black fabric that I had to drape behind her so there wasn’t a cluttered background. A few yards of black fabric is a perfect addition to your camera bag. Make sure the light from the window is on her face with her eyes catching some of the soft light.



I love the black and white/sepia look especially against the black background. Sometime I use the black and white adjustment on my Memory Manager software but then it is a little blue to me…so I warm it up a bit to get this look….not totally B&W and not totally sepia.

img_1792 sep

Stay tuned for some more baby photos of a brand  new baby boy!

Get your camera out today!


Baby Girl!

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I take my camera whenever I go visiting friends with kids – especially new babies. You never know what you may get when you are least expecting. I also know that the new mom doesn’t have time to stop and breathe let alone take time to capture her new little blessing. So, the next time you bring a yummy dinner to a new mom – – bring your camera too and get a few shots of the new baby- – it will be a gift they will love way after the dinner is gone and the dishes are done!

A new hat makes a perfect picture.


…especially when  you get a little ‘almost smile’ to go with it!


Sometime the best photos are taken without moving the baby out of her position at all – – I moved the swing so it faced the window and got the light on her face.


We took her top off because we like baby skin – but she still didn’t wake up!


This is in b&w with a warm touch in editing.


This shows another b&w before warming it up:


…then after warming just a touch:


Love those baby feet! (by the way…invest in a diaper cover, they are a must for your baby camera bag!)



Is she waking up?




Ask mom to help – – her hands were under the blanket below holding up her head – – pretty soon baby will be able to hold her own head up but for now this works great. Remember to stay close to the window light so you see the ‘light’ in her eyes – – that is when you know you have enough light on her face.


Have mom carry her over to the window for some natural window light:



Finally, I carry a few yards of black fabric to use for a backdrop anywhere I go, works great:


img_1792 sep

Camera Mom Tips for this shoot:

  1. All of these shots were with my 1.4 50 mm lens
  2. Most were shot at: f Stop 3.5 (because I was pretty close) ISO 500, ss 1/125; but it all depends on the available light
  3. I did lighten a few of the photos  in editing but I did not touch up any of the shots, if mom wants to enlarge a favorite for framing I will use my editing tool to remove some of the little bumps if she wants me too. But I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of time in editing; we are busy moms and editing takes tons of time!
  4. I keep a small bag packed with the following for baby outings

blue, pink and white small satin blanket

boy and girl diaper covers

3-4 yards of tulle

black fabric

small stuffed animal for getting babies attention, rattle

various hats and bows as I collect them

Camera bag: 50mm lens and tripod

Final tip!

Don’t bring any expectations with you!!! I try to ‘act’ like my visits are not to get the perfect photo – – when expectations are set high baby somehow knows and doesn’t cooperate! When the the mood is relaxed and fun and calm we are all happier and we get much better photos!

Baby Sophia Finally Meets Her Big Brothers!

Friday, June 15th, 2012

She is here safe and sound and as precious as we all imagined!



Sophia had a big ‘welcome to the family’ by her three big brothers!


Not too much writing today – – just a few tips to let you know that I used my 50mm lens and the wonderful window light that the hospital provided! No more dark dingy rooms from years gone by – – we had wonderful light for a wonderful birthday! party



Someone looks a little worried!







Just can’t get enough of this precious little girl!

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One thing is for sure – — she will be loved to pieces by all those brothers and everyone else of course!


Best wishes to Sara and Mitch as they bring little Sophia home….I’m sure you will be seeing more of Sophia as I have the honor of capturing her babyhood! Can’t wait!

No flash and virtually no editing thanks to the beautiful window light. General camera settings 50 mm lens; ISO 250, F Stop 2.0, ss 1/160

20 minutes With a Precious Baby Boy!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

How do you capture so much cuteness in one 20 min session? As you can only imagine it can be very stressful to even think about a photo shoot with a 3 month old baby – -not to mention actually trying to accomplish it successfully. I am not a pro – – but I am a mom who knows the value of getting that perfect shot of our babies and knowing that because they change and grow so fast we have to be quick or we might miss it.  even though the nights can be long and mom is so tired and exhausted we simply must get these little minutes of that first year documented and frozen in jpeg time.

Here are a few of my favorites shots with some tips mixed in.


We were in the nursery in natural window light. For this shot we put him up on the dresser on a blanket. I draped another blanket over his head and got only 4 shots before things started to fall apart! But we got our shot!

Tip : Be quick!


I used my 50 mm 1.4 fixed lens. I shot with the following settings: f stop 2.8; ISO 650; shutter 1/250.  I did have to warm up the photos a bit in my Memory Manager software (I love it!). The other thing I am learning is that if you edit your photos on a laptop the brightness of the screen may not match the image you get back after printing… more on that in a future post.

Tip: You know you have enough light when I saw the catch lights in his eyes.


This is just a close of of the previous shot – – done in editing.


I don’t like props but a satin blanket works very well. I carry a pink one and a blue one. Try to stay away from white ones if you can as the white tends to confuse the camera and the color balance can be off. It was hard to get him to look in the camera and believe it or not I seemed to have more luck when I asked mom to take little brother (and herself) out of the room. I thought he may get fussy but babies love to fuss mostly to impress mom once she was gone he was very interested in me and my camera!

Tip: try to get mom to leave for a few minutes…the baby will look at you when there are no other distractions in the room.


Love those busy baby hands!  I like them better when part of the baby is in the background. I love the way he is holding and looking at his hands here.

Tip: keep shooting even when he is not looking at you.


There was crying, but the sweet look after the cry is priceless. Here mom calmed him down and put the blanket over her knee where he was snuggled all warm and cozy and safe. We also gave him another blanket to hold and feel more secure and happy.  Notice that all these shots are with no clothes. You don’t want to distract your eyes too much  when you have such beautiful baby skin!

Tip: don’t pack up when the crying starts. Be patient.

Tip: no clothes for babies…so keep the room warm!


Capture the action; start shooting when he puts his hands up to his mouth. Don’t wait for the action then decide to shoot, if you do you will miss it every time.

Tip: Don’t put your camera down! Learn to watch your subject through your lens so you are ready to click the shot. This is one of the hardest things to get used to doing and takes practice.

To wrap up. These shots aren’t perfect but we got them.  I wish I had known what I know today about my camera when my babies were little. I believe that every mom can get good enough with her camera to get the shots she wants.  I also believe that only she can recognize the perfect nooks and crannies of the day when her baby is happy – instead of making a big fuss trying to load him in the car to take him to the professional and hoping that he is not tired, sick, crying etc. at that ‘$250 session’ moment. The best moments to photograph are when  you are at home doing life with your baby: right when he wakes  up, right when he is done eating, right after a warm bath… these are all only 10 min windows so have your camera nearby and ready in the nursery. Know ahead of time where the natural window light is in his room and feed him there, dry him off there and let him play there so you can grab the shots.

Be inspired to get some shots of your baby today no matter how old they are! Remember the minutes turn into years quickly and he will be one day older tomorrow!

Perhaps the hardest but most fun shoot you will do!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011


Everyone knows that it is difficult to photograph babies…that is why most moms are willing to pay big bucks to get big shots of their kiddos…


I am here to tell you that YOU CAN get them yourself! Yes, you the camera mom, can get the shots of your kids that you love – -that the pro will never get because you know your kids better then they do and you know the look you are after.  You also have the benefit of being able to grab your camera during that little unpredictable slice of time when baby’s good mood hits and baby isn’t eating, sleeping, drooling, crying or filling a diaper! The timing is everything with babies but I have some other tips for you as well!

1.  Get anyone over 5 to help you out and stand behind you and make faces, baby will think they are SO funny!


2. Pick your background carefully and stay away from cars and garbage cans. Do put baby outside on the grass on a blanket and have a good spot in the shade picked out ahead of time, with baby facing the light or open sky. I also like to have a clean simple (no patterns or soft patterns)  baby shirt handy to throw on right before you walk out the door to the backyard.


3. Get those baby hands! Start clicking away when you see the hands go up.


or holding toes!



4. Add a hat!


(notice ‘catch lights’ in eyes – you have enough light on their face when you see these.)


5. Look for a nice profile shot.


6. Look for expression. Don’t wait for the perfect smile; that serious look is priceless!


7. Change the background during the shoot. Move to a different place outside, keep the same light but just move around. I love the patterned pillows for the background.


change it to sepia


then get closer with your crop!


then experiment some more and try really close!


8. Put baby on her belly and try a different angel and look up at baby.


9. Get baby to do a ‘baby push ups’ by putting the arms out front.


10. Be quick! Don’t wait too long when you see that good mood …grab it…it will be gone before you know it!

Oh….and don’t forget to take lots of photos of baby…they are not babies for long!

Camera Mom Tech tips:

I used my 50mm 1.4 lens. Most settings were:

ISO 100 because I was outside

F stop: mostly around 3 but I used 7 on some of the closer shots

Shutter Speed: between 1/250 and 1/350 depending on the light. You want to keep your ss fast with kids because they move fast!

Post Editing: very little, warm up the temperature when needed (babies like to be warm) and brighten the mid tones if needed.

How To Photograph A Baby..Just A Few Of Many Tips…

Saturday, May 28th, 2011


They melt your heart.

God made them so so cute because He knew that moms would need to have extra doses of patience and grace when dealing with them! It is true that mom has a maternal ‘eye’ that dad doesn’t  – – which is why we are drawn to baby pictures.  That instinct makes us  ooh and awe over that cute little face with those big eyes and those chubby little cheeks and arms and legs. ..even if it isn’t our baby!  If it is our baby, we ooh and awe but we also usually get a tear in our eye when we see shots that capture ‘the look’ we know and love!

So how do you photograph the most spectacular of all of God’s creations?  And why can it be so difficult?

Here are some tips for capturing babies. Remember that I am not a professional photographer….just a mom who has a passion for capturing the unique personalities of the people I know and the wonderful bits of life that the pros generally aren’t around for.  You can do this too!


Tip 1: Plan for the unplanned. Most  of my very best photo shoots of babies have taken place when there was no prior plans or ‘appointment’. It is nuts, but it seems that the best time to get good shots of baby is when the baby, not you, plans it.  We had some friends over and I noticed that the light was good and the baby was happy so I had to grab my camera.


Tip 2: Keep your camera by your car keys. Because most of your best shots are going to be unplanned you have to be ready on a moment’s notice. Keep your camera handy. Oh, and babies love to ‘eat’ car keys so they come in handy too when you are in the middle of your ‘unplanned’ photo shoot!


Tip 3. Switch to the M button. The best portrait type shots are when the subject is in focus and the background is blurry. In order to achieve this and have the most control over your outcome you will want to choose your settings. You also want to control the focus and you want to focus on their eyes.  A lower F stop number will give you a blurry background but if you get too low you may have one sharp eye but not the other (because of the shallow depth of field.)

img_0840 img_0847

Tip 4.  A little dirt never hurt anyone! Babies crack me up the way they pick up the tiniest pieces of ‘stuff’ and focus on trying to get it from their hands to their mouth.  I love their expressions as they work so hard then finally reach their goal; the pine straw made it to the mouth! Thank goodness that this mom didn’t interfere! A little pine straw never hurt anyone!


Tip 5. Get in their world. Don’t quit shooting when they start doing ‘baby’ stuff. Even crying shots are OK.

img_0950 img_0940

Tip 6: Be patient and keep shooting. Follow them and don’t dictate their next move. Don’t have too many preconceived ideas of what you want; babies will give you the best shots if you wait for them. You will have to work for it but the camera mom who has the most patience will win! Don’t give up when the crying starts…it will stop quickly and if you pack up you will miss your next favorite shot.


Tip 7:  You don’t always need a smile. Keep shooting through the more simple poses even if they are not looking at you.


Tip 8:  Get really close …


…then get closer in post editing if needed (and get rid of the drool if you want!) It is not a bad idea to keep a hanky handy to wipe up the constant drool.

Memory Manager software does all of this and is very mom friendly! No need for  Photoshop; this is much easier and quicker to use! Link below.


Tip 9: A tripod usually won’t work with babies….  because they move too fast. Be prepared to do some major moving around to get the baby to look at you. This is not easy! You may have to stand on your head, so do some stretches before you start! You have to follow them because, guess what? … they don’t do what you tell them to do! Make your body a tripod. Brace 3 parts of your body if possible to prevent camera shake and blurry photos: both feet or knees on the ground and an elbow against something like a chair, tree or your knee if it is bent, or your elbows tight against  your body. Sometimes I sit down with one knee up with my camera propped up on my knee so I can get on their level.


Tip 10: Early morning or early evening is the best time to photograph people.  

Photography is all about the light.  When the sun is not quite overhead or when it is behind a cloud or has ‘set’ you will get the best exposures. Remember to look for the catch lights in their eyes (the little white reflections) that way you know you have enough light on their face. You may have to have them face another direction to get this.

You can never have too many photos of your baby!   Take lots of them and take them often. You will blink and your baby will be grown and you can never go back to capture those magic little moments along the way.   Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have pictures of your baby; just go get your camera and take a photo of your child today…then go put your camera by your car keys… you won’t miss another unplanned shot!!

Finally, if your baby is all grown up, find a friend’s baby to practice your photography! Photographing babies is so much fun and rewarding!

+ + + +

Most of these shots were taken with the following settings:

early evening light, ISO 500, F Stop 3.0 SS 1/125  50mm very little post editing. As the sun goes down your ISO will need to go up.

What I will do different next time:  I usually set my shutter speed faster with kids, at least 1/200. I will pay more attention next time and up the ISO sooner to get a faster shutter speed (very important to keep the image sharp). I also will take his shirt off for  a few shots next time.  I like baby skin.

Baby Baby Baby!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Photographing little babies is just so …..  fun, and stressful, and tense and …hard!! But so worth whatever it takes to get the job done.

This photography  effort below was not perfect. I am just a mom trying to figure this stuff out and I make plenty of mistakes on my journey, but this new mom was happy to have some pictures of her little girl, mistakes and all, and I was  happy to get the practice and learn some things.

I headed out the door with my bag packed:  one white satin baby blanket, some white tulle, a few simple baby outfits, a rattle, crunchy bright toy,  my 50mm 1.4 lens, an empty memory card and a full battery.

What I was hoping to find when I got to the house was: nice window light and a fed ‘not sleepy’ happy baby!

Here are some thoughts on what I learned and a few tips.

Pack a little simple outfit just in case the mom forgot. I like lots of baby skin showing but a little simple dress for a girl or shirt for a boy is cute too. I brought this  little pink slip along with a cloth diaper cover…always use a diaper cover (found at most specialty children’s stores) there is nothing cute about a disposable diaper.


I found some great natural window light in the upstairs foyer. We put the white blanket over some pillows and tried to set her up a bit.  Remember to turn off the flash!

You may or may not always get the smile you want at this age…so be happy with the tongue!


Be even happier if you get the tongue AND the smile together! Notice in this shot that the head needs to be tilted down a little more. Note that the tulle in the background keeps the carpet from showing.


Try to face the baby directly toward the window light. Notice the light in her eyes?  I have had some success with mom holding baby and getting the over the shoulder shots. But she has to hold her up high so the baby isn’t buried in her shoulder.


I used my 50mm lens and learned that the f stop needed to be a bit higher than it was with the close-up shots  These were shot at 2.8, ISO 160, shutter speed 1/100.  When  your f stop is low and you are close,  the depth of field is shallow meaning that only a sliver of the photo will actually be in focus. In this case one eye is in focus and the other one is not because it fell a little behind the right eye and out of the focus area….this is called a shallow depth of field, only a small part of the are is in focus. I should have increased my f stop to include a larger area.

After a little crop.


I always like to get hands in the shot, both hands seems to be a bonus.


Try different angles and work through the crying and diaper changes. Don’t get discouraged; one minute they will be screaming and the mom will be anxious then the next second they will calm down. Although an extra pair of hands to help is good, I seem to have the best success when mom leaves the room!


Try changing to black and white post editing. This is black and white with the temperature warmed up a bit.


I had to get flat on the floor  for this shot but I love it. Once the crawling starts this shot will be hard to get so get it before they start moving!


I love the interaction here with mom. The beauty of this shot  is that you can’t really tell if she was laughing or crying! So keep shooting through the crying! You may be surprised!


Finally, keep shooting till the very end when baby gets tired and the ‘nuzzling’ starts. At this point it would have been good to get some sleeping baby photos but she was changed and put down for a nap. I felt like I needed a nap too!


Camera Mom Tip:  Practice is the key to getting better with your photography. Remember with babies especially you will have to take a lot of shots. Practicing with a baby doll is a good idea. I like to plan a few sessions so I don’t feel so stressed to have to get it perfect the first time!

Not Just Baseball Going On at the Ball field

Monday, April 11th, 2011

One great thing about being a mom with a camera is that you get to capture unexpected moments that happen all around you in your day to day life….moments that can’t be planned out or repeated for the photo appointment with the pro. I love this photography stuff and I love surprises! I feel like I get to open presents all the time!

At the game last week, I was getting the biggest kick watching this baby. One of his big brothers plays on our team and while I was shooting the big kids I was also able to keep my eye on this little guy.


This baby was on his grandmother’s lap and she was getting the best giggles from him as only a grandmother can do.  Can’t you just hear him?!  I immediately knew that I had a little magic to capture.


The perfect thing about this moment in time is that it represents something that is pretty rare…. nice light with a spontaneous slice of ‘baby life’: the tongue, the hands in the mouth, the instant change from a giggle to a stare to tears then back to the giggles… If I were going over to this sweet family’s house to photograph their kids, this would never happen…because you can’t plan this stuff! That is why you, the mom, have to learn how to use your camera and get these rare shots at an un-planned moments notice.


My f stop was low so I got the blurred background but I had to be careful to think about the depth of field issues as I moved from the far away shots on the field to the up-close shot right in front of me with my big lens.  In general, when you have a low f stop with a close up you will have only a very small slice of the subject in focus. Notice how some of his face is in focus but not his ears in the shot above? This is called a shallow depth of field. The further away I get the more everything would be in focus. It would have helped to have my 50mm 1.8 fixed lens with me, note to self: bring that lens to the ball filed.

Love those baby hands!


The middle brother got in on the action as he got some sweet mama love and kisses.


Notice the wonderful light on the side of his face during that yummy time of day?  Also, this shot works better with the fence in the background blurred out, if it wasn’t it would have been distracting to the subject.


Did I say I was glad to get those cute little baby hands?


..and more hands…


Aha, now we know why the obsession with the hands…there they are…the two little teeth…

He was just so cute I wanted to eat him up!

So, be really flexible and be on the lookout for these unplanned shots when you are with friends…once you start looking you will see them where you least expect them…


…..even on the ball field!


Camera Mom tip:  Look for the story within the story and be ready to take the stuff going on around you when you are at an event. Also, when the moment is right and it is working…..keep shooting! Gone are the days when we had to stop and change our film and miss the shot. Be prepared with an empty memory card and extra cards just in case… take full advantage of the moment and don’t get stingy with  your shots.

I am not a pro and these photos aren’t perfect as I am still learning a lot, however, if you were this mom wouldn’t you be so glad to have them? : ) So don’t worry if you are good enough,  just go practice and have fun and good things will happen!

most shots were taken at dusk with f stop 2.8, ISO 200, 1/400

I Love Babies and Showers!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

I can’t think of too many things that are more fun than a baby shower, especially a pink girl shower! Welcoming the new little person into the world of friends and family is just about the best thing ever.


1/600, S.8, ISO 800

Be sure to get the details of the celebration. Cake pictures are so fun to take. You can move them to good light and play with your aperture (f stop). Don’t be afraid to try all different angels. Also, come early to get the cake shot….no one likes to wait for the photographer to do their thing while everyone is waiting to cut the cake! That is a good tip in general for any type of party shots. Arrive early and get the decorations and guest of honor before the crowd arrives and everything gets crazy.



1/64, f stop 2.8, ISO 800

The people are a must but don’t forget to take shots of the party decorations too.


Window light is best for balloons….pay attention to your backgrounds.


Don’t forget the guest of honor! Welcome sweet Natalie Grace!


1/500,  f stop 2.8, ISO 1600

and again in B&W



Hidden Photo Treasures

Monday, January 10th, 2011

What is a photo treasure? It is a photo that you find within an older photo that you didn’t know you had!

Andrew bw Evan wtih Donna Cropped and sepia

I love these pictures. You may not think they are that great, but to me, the mom, I see my sweet babies.  I have them included in a  small arrangement of frames around my house and keep some at my bedside. When the boys were babies I was still using film and I unfortunately did not know much about what I was doing with my camera.  As I get more experience with my photography I am sad that I don’t have the shots of my babies that I know I would get today.  I have very few close up shots and so many of my shots were out of focus. So what is a camera mom to do? Go on a treasure hunt of course!

Look through your old photos with a new eye. Look for the photo within the photo and see what you can find.  You want to look for clear sharp images and believe it or not the ones from a basic point and shoot camera work well. Once you find some good candidates then scan them into your editing software. The next step is to crop it close. Crop it, change it to sepia or black and white lighten it up a good bit and see what you come up with.

You won’t believe where I found my treasures.

the photos on the left were cropped out of the photos on the right.

Andrew bw 4 x 6 landscape blank pages - Page 001

Evan wtih Donna Cropped and sepia 4 x 6 landscape blank pages - Page 002

Sometime it doesn’t work if the resolution is not good; but if you have a good scanner you will get pretty good results.

Here is another treasure:

009_16 cr desp 4 x 6 landscape blank pages - Page 003

Go on a photo treasure hunt! Have fun, crop in close and do a little editing. You will be SO excited over what you discover… these may just become your favorite photos! Let me know what treasures you find on your hunt!!


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