3 Rules for Better Baby Pictures

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This is the first in a series of articles from guest contributor Boaz Zippor with professional tips on improving your family photographs.

Contact Bangkok-based Boaz for your next professional photo shoot.

I can talk for days and write thousands of words on what a good picture should be, what techniques can and must be used, what elements must be considered, calculations made, references taken etc. I can. But I won’t.

3 Rules for Better Baby Pictures

Mainly because it is boring technical stuff, but also because it is irrelevant. These days most house-hold digital cameras will do most of the work for you, and what I can do is just give you a couple of advices on how to make sure you are on the right path.

If I had to sum up all I know into practical pointers, this would be it. Three simple rules, that if you just keep in mind, will improve your photographic crop in ways you never imagined.

Clean your act up

The less “cluttered” the shot, the better the result will be, as we try to concentrate the attention on the baby, the interaction with the parents , the emotions etc. this is important when choosing on what BACKGROUND to shoot, and although you really shouldn’t hang an old bed sheet on the wall every time you feel like snapping a toddler’s smile, you can always choose where to take the shot, and what wall, sofa or leafy plant will be the base of your photo, on which the characters can be seen in their full splendor. Another useful tip is to keep the clothing and the background as light as possible, with my personal preference being white. It “cleans” up the whole view and give a much more detailed and focused shot.

Don’t be a poser, but keep control

Pictures that are posed, will always look, well, posed. You know, the range goes from deer in headlights look and cheesy well performed plastic images, but in the end, it just doesn’t look true.

I never pose my clients when doing a shoot, and let them interact between themselves freely as I find the right angle and frame, but I will push a little , ask for a small twist or turn towards the light, and generally just place the subject of the photo in the optimal position, where they can play and be free.

Facing your baby a little towards the window will not make the shot seem artificial but will give a much needed added value in the form of light and shadows, of artistic interest.  Remember, you can’t change the position of the window, but you have two points you can change, that of the baby and the direction it is facing, and your own position. Look around you. Turn. Walk about. Find what is the right angle and direction and don’t be afraid to control the scene , to slightly turn your subject towards the light etc.

Don’t be afraid to change the angle of your position. Shooting from the floor can give a completely new view of your baby. Shooting while standing on a chair will give an over view of the play and shoot area. You will also notice that your baby will react differently, according to your position.

Framing can be fun

Once you have figured out on what background you take your photos and what available light you have to work with, the last component is the composition.

As I said before, we never want to pose our subject, and it is always useful to change your own position, so what we have is a complete freedom in how we frame our shot.

What do we want to show? The full area? Just a closeup of the face? Do we want to include the window in the photo, giving it an additional artistic composition, or do we want to keep our shot as clean as possible and all we want is the patch of single color carpet the baby is on at the moment?

Take a step backward, take a closer look and bend forward. Zoom in, zoom out. Try. Same shot, from same angle can give completely different results if zoomed in or out. Completely different. In the visual effect, in the emotional effect, in the story you are trying to tell with that single click.

Boaz Zippor
Boaz is an accomplished photographer, writer and poet with a background in industrial design and visual communications. He has founded several multimedia and design companies in Italy and Israel, and now runs his studio and gallery out of Sapan-Kwai in Bangkok. His work can be found in private collections in New York, Italy, Israel, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Shanghai and Thailand. Visit Boaz at: http://www.boazzippor.net/photo/

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