1. Get physical
Don’t hesitate to stand on a chair, lie on the floor or hang over the edge of the crib to get the best possible shot. Your photos will be more interesting if you’re not afraid to move around.
2. Think outside the nursery
Location can add something extra to an otherwise standard baby picture. Whether you lay your baby on a blanket in the park under the dappled light beneath a tree, or let them toddle around a gallery with interesting art in the background, the ambience is sure to add a special quality to your picture.
3. Dress for success
Simple, unfussy clothes in neutral and muted tones and subtle patterns work best on babies. Loud colours can reflect on your baby’s skin, which can be difficult to fix in editing. If you are going to dress your baby in a fancy outfit for a holiday photo or birthday pic, put it on at the last minute to keep it clean(ish) and to prevent them from trying to pull it off by the time you’re ready to snap the picture.
4. Don’t overuse the selfie angle
A selfie with your baby can be pretty cute, but that overhead selfie, where your arm is stretched out to capture the cool scenery behind you, isn’t flattering. This angle distorts body proportions, making heads appear bigger and bodies smaller. Instead, try to take the photo straight on for a more natural angle.
5. Turn off the flash
And don’t use it—ever! Using the flash on your phone will create a harsh effect that doesn’t look natural. Instead, during the day, open the curtains, and if that’s not bright enough, turn on a lamp (but only one, or else you’ll get strange shadows). If that’s not working, you may need to move to a spot with better natural lighting.
6. Take a step back
Tight shots are great, but if you back up a bit, you can capture the whole story. You may, for example, want an up-close picture of your baby’s first taste of sweet potato. Snap a couple of their face, but then take a few steps back so you also get some of Dad feeding the baby (and his reaction to this milestone)—plus, the mess on the floor.
7. Clean the camera lens
Smudgy camera lenses have ruined many a great shot. Use a cleaning cloth like the one for your glasses (or, in a pinch, any clean cloth or even the corner of your T-shirt) to buff away fingerprints before you begin taking pictures.7 mistakes parents make when taking baby pictures
8. Use Burst Mode
Once baby starts crawling, use Burst Mode, available on iPhones and most smartphones, to take a series of pictures as you hold down the button. It will help ensure you catch a clear image of your little one’s big moment, even when they won’t hold still.
9. Do a background check
Clutter on the kitchen counter or a garbage bin behind you in a park can look messy. You shouldn’t miss an important moment because the background isn’t perfect, but if you have time to change the angle or tidy up first, you’ll end up with a better picture.
10. Delete, delete, delete
To keep your phone from getting overloaded—and the really great shots from getting buried—select favourites and delete as you go. Put a monthly reminder on your device so you don’t forget.
11. Buy a backdrop
If you don’t have any neutral walls in your home, consider picking up a small piece of white foam core (32 by 40 inches should work) from a craft store to use as a backdrop for monthly pictures.
12. Don’t trash all the bloopers
Babies are unpredictable subjects, and even a home photo shoot can go wrong in so many ways. Uh-oh moments, like a toddler pulling off their diaper or a naked newborn peeing on Dad’s arm, can turn into shots you’ll treasure.
13. Don’t forget about everyone else
Pictures of just baby are wonderful, but it’s also nice to have some shots with grandparents holding your little bundle, as well as friends and the rest of the family—plus the parents! Someday your grown-up baby will be happy to look back on pictures of themselves, but they’ll be even happier to see Mom and Dad in there, too.
14. Look baby in the eye
Taking pictures from overhead can give you a sense of how small your little one is and provide an interesting angle, but once babies are big enough to sit up, don’t forget to get down to eye level and look at them straight on.
15. Pause before you press the button
Babies move quickly, but if you can take a moment to assess the light, angles and background before you start snapping, this will help you get the shot just right.
16. Use props wisely
Overstyling your shot with masses of faux flowers or piles of stuffed animals can take the focus off your baby—who should be the centre of attention. On the other hand, a favourite toy or a funny hat can be just the thing to tap into your tot’s playful nature for a sweetly staged picture. When it comes to props, simple is best.
Stay in touch
Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.