To Grandma’s house we go. The fun place with the big backyard, wonderful kisses and hugs and a soft, cuddly Shi-Tzu. I’ve been checking the Weather app nearly every day, anticipating the warmer part of the week. I packed my busy bag with baby’s clothes and hair things before we left, eager to set up shop in the backyard when we arrive at Grandma’s. Oh, this is gonna be fun!
Just as the app had predicted, the weather was nice and sunny. Maybe a little too sunny. I waited until 5PM when the shadows would less harsh and baby’s eyes wouldn’t be squinty. The backyard had a pretty spot with a soft beam of light shining down on it. I set up shop there, laying down a pink blanket (it had a bunch of designs on the other side, which would have been distracting from Baby) and positioning Aspen in the just-right place.
Not long into the photoshoot, my cuddly toddler brother decided to love on Baby, and he found the little tiara (that I had so desperately wanted to use when Baby was newborn and easy to pose) lying beside her. He picked it up and tried to set it on his little sister’s head…upside down. I didn’t quite realize what he was about to do, but (thanks to my Mom, who said, “Look what he’s doing! It’s so cute!”) I got some very adorable photos. The unexpected changes can be beautiful with a little imagination.
The wonderful thing about little kids is that, with a tiny amount of prompting and a sweet smile, they usually do what you say. For example, my Mom stood behind me and said, “Can you kiss Baby?” He does quick kisses, so we had to ask him a couple more times (in which he gladly complied) before I shot the first photo in this post. If at first the toddler kisses to fast to be caught in-camera, try, try again.
It was very hard to capture the moments when Baby was looking into the camera, but some of the photos turned out adorable and somewhat thoughtful. She has the tiniest of smiles, and her eyes have little catchlights (the dots of light) in them. Catchlights are very important. They add life to a portrait.
Baby toes. You have to love them. They’re just as much an adorable part of the baby as the chubby faces and wrap-around fingers. They are tiny and some people like to kiss them. I’d rather photograph the toes than kiss them. The soft sunlight hit Baby’s foot just as she stopped moving her legs for a split-second. The softness of the blanket around her feet added a great background. Babies are soft and a comfy-looking background is a good choice.
Wait for the sweet moments. Little kids are usually naturally sweet and love their siblings. They kiss them, hug them, and just plain have fun with them. Patience is important in photography. The more patience you have, the better chances are of getting a great snapshot.
Remember the little tiara I’ve been dying to use on Baby? Well, it doesn’t fit her very well anymore. So, as a last attempt, I lay her on her back (it didn’t work so well on her side, obviously) and tilted the tiara on her head. Yay! I finally got my chance to use the tiara, and it actually turned out pretty good! Don’t be afraid to try, even when you don’t think things will work out.
So, that’s it! Here are the details for this photoshoot:
I tried to snap photos at different times of the day, waiting every couple hours until the shadows had somewhat disappeared. It doesn’t hurt to try something, regardless of what the “pros” say. Who knows? Maybe the worst photography mistake will be fashionable ten years from now.
As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Don’t count on that perfect picture in your head before you go into a photoshoot. Expect the unexpected, like sweet little boys who add a whole new dimension to a photo.
Don’t worry too much if things aren’t going the way you want them to. If the baby is crying or you can’t find the just-right photo, try something new to keep you going. Shoot from a different angle or, if you can, take a short break to regroup. Inspiration can strike quickly.
Listen to others around you, photographers or not. Your creativity can come from watching others being creative. Listen to their good ideas. They can help you create the thousand-word picture you want.
Take photos of the baby’s tiny features, such as the feet, fingers and chubby face. These make great album photos for when the child grows up. Comparing the changes is wonderful for families. Make memories and tell stories. When you can do that, you have succeeded in becoming a photographer.