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Photography Tips for the Eager New Mom

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Photography Tips for the Eager New Mom

mom blog photography tips

If you couldn't tell, I take wayyy too many photos of #babybillybrez (that's really his hashtag - I'm the worst). But! Something tells me I'm not the first new mom to do this, and that I won't be the last. At least maybe I can impart some photography tips I've learned to take presentable looking photos with minimal training and even minimal-er editing. It's the silver lining I thought up just now. 

Professional photographers go ahead let out a collective sigh because I am avoiding your services at all cost! (Unless you catch me in a moment of weakness. Fine.) 

Anyway, sometimes I get lucky and take some decent looking photos to post on my blog. And people are all like dang girl you got it going on (no one has ever said that to me but you get the point). So, here's what I do. 

(Note: Camera and lens deets are over here. Nothing fancy.) 

Lighting - So important. Natural light is the best, as they say. But I don't know about you, I'm not typically schlepping around my giant Nikon bag when I'm out and about in the sunshine. And photo shoots outside? Ehhh. Seems like a bit too much effort to do on a daily basis (i.e., how often I snap photos of my offspring). Put that baby by a window and call it a job well done.

I know that a simple lighting reflector can work wonders when taking photographs, but look. We're new moms. We don't have an extra set of hands for that (usually). So when the lighting looks good (like when happen to be bathing your baby in the sink and the light is hitting perfectly just so), make someone take over bath time so you can get to snappin'.

Aperture Mode - I used to think that in order to take nice pictures, you just had to take pictures in manual mode. When I have one hand on my wobbly baby and another on my camera, I do not have time to adjust shutter speed. I don't know what Pinterest article led me to aperture mode, but I'm so glad we are friends now. Let the camera adjust shutter speed for you. You deserve it.

I like to keep my f-stop in the 2 to 4 range when I'm taking baby portraits. Based on the f-stop I want, I set my ISO, and keep an eye on what the camera is giving me for a shutter speed. Since the little guy is moving, I try for this to be above 1/200s at a minimum. (When he was a fat, immobile blob I could get away with a slower shutter speed, around 1/100s.) For indoor lighting, I'm usually at a 400 or 800 ISO.

This is f/2.8. ISO 800. 1/640 shutter speed. 100% cuteness.

Exposure Compensation - My noob self finally figured out how to adjust exposure compensation on my D3100 via this tutorial and it has been amazing for indoor photography when you don't have the free hands to shoot in manual mode (which for me, is always). A little +.3 or +.5 on the exposure compensation (it's that little +/- symbol on your camera - I had to go into the menu on my camera to find it, but it's an adjustment of two clicks), will change your life

Exposure compensation is how little Will doesn't look like a dark shadow with all that backlight coming in from the window:

f/3.2. ISO 800. 1/400s. +.3 exposure compensation.

Photo editing - Please. Ain't nobody got time for that. I hit up the occasional crop and/or straightening in Picasa. (Phone apps are a different story - filters are a weakness and I could tinker around all day in Afterlight and VSCOcam.)

Oh, and having your subject(s) in focus is always a plus. But sometimes ya gotta share anyway. In which case, it's always better to slap a black and white filter on that bad boy. 

See? Now it's totally Instagram worthy. 

What tips and tricks do you use when you are documenting the ever-important milestones of your cherished offspring? Drop me that knowledge down there in the combox! I'd be ever so grateful.  



At September 10, 2014 at 4:22 PM , Blogger Caitlin said...

Ahhh, you have the cutest, smooshiest baby boy! It's hard to take a bad photo when you've got such an amazing subject :)


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