Final baby photography tips from our professional photographer
Forget fancy gear
“I’m a firm believer that it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts!” insists Tracy. “You don’t need the latest kit and really don’t have to spend a fortune to get set up as a baby photographer.
“I bought my 5D second-hand, along with the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM lens – which is good quality, but Canon don’t even it make it any more! My lights are a simple home studio kit – which you can pick up for a couple of hundred quid – and my radio flash triggers are good-value Lastolite Flash Wave IIIs – which at £99 cost a lot less than fancy PocketWizards but do just as good a job.
“My studio is ‘compact and bijou’ to say the least – tucked away at the back of a children’s clothing shop. But the simple truth is you don’t need a lot of space to photograph babies – they’re tiny!”
“I shoot with a simple one-light setup, positioned at 45 degrees to baby’s head,” explains Tracy. “A single light gives more interesting shadows that help define the baby’s features than the flat light you get with a pair of lights.
“Once you’ve set your aperture and shutter speed, adjust the light output until you get a well-exposed result. Turn the modelling light off – the heat may make baby uncomfortable.”
Keep it cream
“I noticed most of Tracy’s images had neutral backdrops – such as creams. She told me to visualise how the photo will look blown-up big on a living room wall – plain colours will suit any room décor, and you can always add a splash of colour with an accessory or clothing,” says Carmen.
The baby whisperer
“The best way to get baby into a deep sleep is to keep them awake for as long as possible before the shoot so that they’re absolutely exhausted!” laughs Tracy. “Make sure they’re well fed and well winded – and have a fresh nappy! – and pick them up and cuddle them to allow them to get used to you.
“A gentle massage on their back, neck and head (if your hands are cold wear cotton gloves!) will help them feel protected and settled – and you’ll be able to ‘feel’ when they’ve nodded off. They’ll stay asleep for ages, allowing you to pose them and even change outfits.”
Top of the props
“Vintage props can really make a baby shoot – an old-fashioned pram or bathtub, or dressing baby in frilly clothing reminiscent of days-gone-by, gives your shoot a timeless feel,” reveals Tracy. “Bournemouth has a fantastic vintage warehouse populated by independent traders called Molly’s Den (www.mollys-den.co.uk) that is a real treasure trove – but see what you can find locally in junk shops or on auction websites such as eBay.”
Upgrade your kit lens
“A standard zoom lens is ideal for studio photography, but while you don’t necessarily need to splash out on expensive L-series optics, I’d urge you to upgrade from a basic kit lens,” recommends Tracy.
“My Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM may be old, but has fast USM focusing and an ideal zoom range for studio work.” If you’re using a crop-sensor camera, a 17-70mm focal range, or thereabouts, is ideal.
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Baby photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final baby photography tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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