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How to Take Cute Baby Pictures

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    Birth: First Breath, First Cry

    Birth: First Breath, First Cry The first thirty minutes of a baby ’s life is chaotic and amazing all at once, and you want to capture all of that on camera. When the nurses first lay your little one down, they’ll keep baby warm by turning on a heat lamp, which also provides great light for photos. Whoever is taking the pictures should squeeze in as your partner and the nurses huddle around baby being measured. When they can’t squeeze in any longer, they should stand up on a chair behind the group and shoot down.

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    Month 1: Bath time

    Birth: Bath time You can take bath photos anytime, but in the first few weeks of life, babies tend to be super calm in their movement and focused on you. For this image I turned off the bathroom lights and let the skylight be the only illumination. If you don’t have that option, I suggest turning on all the lights. Consider making the image black and white, which highlights emotion much more and also does away with horrible bathroom lighting (or distracting, outdated wallpaper!).

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    Month 2: The fleeting Hair Swirl

    Birth: The fleeting Hair Swirl One of my favorite newborn details is the short-lived hair swirl. To capture this part of your baby’s sweet story before it grows out and disappears, position your partner or another subject near a window, holding your baby as shown. Lean against the window or a wall to make your body still and stable. To emphasize the hair swirl, I moved in closer to the baby so I could fill my frame. If your camera won’t let you get in close, use your zoom feature.

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    Month 3: Tiny cries

    Birth: Tiny cries The tiny cry of a newborn is unmistakable: it’s somehow fragile and furious at the same time. Though this may seem cruel, you’ll want to have a photo of baby mid-cry. (If it’s any consolation, they won’t remember you doing this, but they will love the photos when they’re older!)

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    Month 4: Peekaboo!

    Birth: Peekaboo! Babies love little surprises, and at three to four months, they really get into peekaboo. For this shot, have your partner prop baby up high enough on his or her chest to look over one shoulder. Bend down behind them and play peekaboo with your baby, popping up with a big smile and then squatting back down. The goal is to get your baby engaged in looking over your partner’s shoulder to find you. When baby is totally enthralled, squat down and shoot upward into baby’s face.

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    Month 5: Sitting Up ... Well, Almost!

    Birth: Sitting Up ... Well, Almost! A five-month-old baby, propped up against Mom, has a view that was never available from his bouncer seat. Take some time to capture a few shots of this precious pre-sitting stage, preferably when your baby is most relaxed. Look around your house for a simple setting where Mom can comfortably lay down on her side. You also want the space to convey a sense of quiet to enhance the intimacy of the moment. The less clutter in your image, the more peaceful it will be.

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    Month 6: First Swim

    Birth: First Swim There are so many storytelling images to capture at baby’s first swim — from pool action shots of baby in the water to the quiet, snuggled-up moment of baby wrapped up in a big towel. As you plan these shots, be sure to think about where your light source is. For indoor pools, bring your baby close to the window and put your back to it so that baby faces the light coming in. If you’re outside, put bright sunlight behind baby but have baby face soft sunlight.

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    Month 7: On the Move

    Birth: On the Move For this shot, enlist a spotter not only to spot but also to catch and “restart” baby. I find that it’s easier to take this type of crawling shot on the bed or a countertop, rather than the floor, but your spotter needs to ensure that baby doesn’t get too close to the edge. If she does, your spotter should pick her up and start her back where she began.

    A horizontal format is a great way to capture baby crawling across the bed. Instead of filling the frame with baby, leave a little empty space on one side to enhance the sense of baby being on the move.

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    Month 8: Standing Proud

    Birth: Standing Proud The first time your baby pulls himself up and begins to scoot around your furniture is a moment you have to document. For this shot simplify your setting as much as possible. If possible move the piece of furniture baby is likely to use for support and balance beneath a window, where you’ll get the best light. Also clear away any clutter so that the composition draws you to baby’s excited face and energy. I love having baby barefoot for this photo to emphasize how those feet are supporting him.

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    Month 9: Baby's Best Friend

    Birth: Baby's Best Friend It is amazing to see the connection that can develop between dog and baby. To capture it you’ll want to time photos optimally for both your child and your pooch. If the dog has been cooped up for a few hours, let her run around to work off some energy. You also want to make sure baby is alert and feeling playful. Aim for the late afternoon so you’ll have soft, natural light.

    This photo shoot can require two helpers: one for the dog and one for the baby. If your baby is still a little unsteady when sitting up, have someone ready to prop him back up every time he tips over. The dog may also need someone to give her the commands of when to sit, when to lay down, etc.

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    Month 10: Making a Messy Meal Worth It

    Birth: Making a Messy Meal Worth It If you tend to be a bit controlling, like I am, take a deep breath and prepare to give up control for just this photo. The messier your baby is for this picture, the more fun it becomes.

    I love to have baby in just a diaper for this one because the messiness shows up so much more. To get started let your baby take a couple of bites of food and resist cleaning them up as you go. Remember, messier is better. At some point, let baby have the spoon. His little eyes will light up with wonder, discovery, and independence, and you’ll be ready with your camera to capture it all!

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    Month 11: Sibling shot

    Birth: Sibling shot While your first baby watched everything you did with wonder and awe, your second baby watches everything big sister or brother does with that same intensity.

    Set up for this photo whenever your baby is trying to emulate big sister or brother — playtime is prime time for these moments. Don’t worry about what the kids are wearing — instead, focus on the action and let all those other mismatched details add to the humor. I love this kind of shot because it reveals so much about the siblings’ personalities.

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    Month 12: The big first birthday

    Birth: The big first birthday Baby’s first birthday is a big deal, and you’ve probably put a lot of work into this special occasion. To capture all of the untouched details — and your baby’s reaction to them — take ten minutes before the doorbell rings to shoot everything you can: the decorations, piñata, bagged party favors, and an extra birthday invitation. Once guests arrive and start showering your baby with attention, she will become over-stimulated and tired much faster than normal. If you get any good shots after the festivities begin, consider them the icing on the cake.

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    Get Me Ra Koh’s new book, Your Baby in Pictures, on Amazon.

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