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15 Tips for Recording Your Baby's Firsts on Camera

Katlyn Joy |24, May 2013


Even those who shy from cameras or cringe at the sight of photo albums will become a shutterbug when baby arrives. It's a constant discovery of another "first" that must be photographed. But many of us can be all thumbs when it comes to capturing those perfect shots. Here's some help for the new parent who doesn't know flash from focus.

1. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. The beautiful thing about digital cameras is you don't have to worry about wasting film or processing bad shots. Keep taking photos and make sure you never leave home without your camera. You'll be certain to find your baby riding a unicorn in the park if you left it at home.

2. Don't worry about the blemishes. We all have them including your adorable baby. Newborn acne, stork bites, flat or cone shaped heads, and crossed eyes are common in newborn photos. You can learn to use simple editing software to remove or soften those little imperfections.

3. Watch the angles. Get down low for some great pics. Lay down and experiment with different angles. Play around with the focus and find some unique shots.

4. Zoom in and see what you find. Don't just zoom in on that sweet face. Babies are cute from head to toe, so why not take some pics of those sweet piggies or that perfectly curl on the top of her head.

5. Use lighting well. Indirect lighting is usually best. Too bright and you're likely to wash out junior's face. Plus harsh strong lighting is the least flattering to baby and you.

6. Timing is everything. Baby is less likely to be cooperative if he's hungry or it's nearly naptime. Take advantage of those cooing, smiling moments and grab the camera.

7. Use baby's developmental milestones to give you cues for poses. Baby pushing up from the floor now? That's a cute photo. Is your little one sitting up? Get a cute seat and prop'em up.

8. Incorporate family heirlooms or baby's special lovey. This makes a precious keepsake. Have a special child's rocking chair that's been handed down. This makes an ideal backdrop for a baby photography session. Is your baby's stuffed giraffe the one toy she can't sleep without? Capture that special moment with the special toy.

9. Scour the closet for the cap, booties, sweater or dress that is sweetest. You may even just put on one item and a diaper and let the pics fly. Imagine baby in a pair of handmade booties and the baby's beautiful smile and skin as the star.

10. Get a second pair of hands. It's hard to get everything all lined up get in the spot to take the perfect shot, only to realize your little sweetheart just yakked up a full bottle on your adorable teddy bear prop. Your assistant can pull the blanket off baby's head, wipe her chin and make silly sounds to elicit giggles.

11. Get a tripod and learn to use the timer on your camera. Why? Because Mommy and Daddy need to be in the pictures as well. So many families look like they are comprised only of children if you look through adult-less photo albums.

12. Experiment with black and white photos, sepia or pastel tones in your photos. These can take an ordinary photo to the extraordinary. Consider a grouping of such photos hanging on the wall and take photos with that goal in mind.

13. Keep a clean background. Get the clutter out of the shot. Use a sheet or a board in a light color to provide a clean bright backdrop.

14. Go for the candid shot. Put your baby on the floor with a big sib and some toys and take shot after shot. Always posing and trying to keep a perpetual motion machine, aka baby, still is a losing proposition. Don't fight the action; go with it and find the magic.

15. For best pictures, use natural sunlight. This will lend warmth and light to your photographs.

A List Of Baby's Firsts to Capture in Photos

  • First car ride.
  • First smile.
  • First bath.
  • First time sitting up.
  • First crawling.
  • First standing.
  • First haircut.
  • First pair of shoes.
  • First time in the pool or at the beach.
  • First snowflakes.
  • First food.
  • First time holding a toy.
  • First Christmas, Easter, or Fourth of July.
  • First steps.
  • First tooth.
  • First birthday.
  • First owie.
  • First time with animals.
  • First vacation.
Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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