From the moment your baby is born, your smartphone or camera is out, snapping shots multiple times a day. No parent can resist capturing those moments! But when the time comes to set up a DIY photoshoot for some more formal, less candid shots, there are some best practices to follow—as well as some big mistakes. Here are the common mistakes parents make when taking baby pictures.
1. Only taking pictures of your baby’s face
Of course, you want plenty of pictures of your baby’s sweet, smiling face, but don’t forget about all of their other adorable features. Knee dimples, leg rolls, chubby feet and fingers also deserve to be well-documented, says Alyssa Kellert, a family and birth photographer based near Vancouver. This cute baby phase only lasts so long—sniff, sniff.
2. Setting up a shoot during naptime
“Choosing a time of day when your baby is tired or hungry probably isn’t the best idea,” says Kellert. You are much more likely to have a happy baby—and end up with the photos you want—if you wait until after nap or meal times. And the witching hour should be avoided at all costs!
3. Not bringing a backup outfit
You probably have the cutest outfit picked out for your shoot, but you should have a second (or even a third) option handy, advises Kellert, who has seen her fair share of blow-outs and spit up at shoots. “Babies can be messy.”16 tips for taking way better pictures of your baby
4. Forcing the photo
You might have an idea pinned to Pinterest that you want to recreate, but if it’s not working for your baby, don’t push it, says Roberto Caruso, a staff photographer at Today’s Parent. Instead, adjust your location, baby’s clothing or whatever else is necessary to make them happy. “You might end up with a photo that’s different from your vision, but you’ll have something that’s better than endless snaps of a screaming baby.”
5. Overstimulating your baby
“I ban nannies, grandparents and anyone else from set,” says Scarlet O’Neill, a baby photographer based in Toronto. If there are too many people shouting “look here!” or just moving around behind the scenes, baby can become distracted or even anxious. “You want them to be focused on the person holding them in the picture or looking at Mom behind the camera—that’s how you get a really good shot,” she says.
6. Getting too close
Close-up shots of your baby can be really sweet—but not when they’re out of focus. “Unless it has a macro lens, the camera on your phone isn’t made for getting super close,” says O’Neill. As a result, the edges of your picture can look fuzzy. For best results, take a step back when taking your shot.
7. Arriving at the very last minute
Taking your shots somewhere outside the home? New spaces are overwhelming to little ones. Arrive early to your photoshoot location so your tot has time to adjust before you start snapping.