Capturing your child as they go through every milestone in their life is something every parent takes pride in doing and yet sometimes finds cumbersome. Ace photographer Aditya Kapoor shares a few tips, tricks, and techniques on making this everyday task an easy pleasure.

Every new parent has one thing in common (other than sleepless nights) - the quest to get that perfect picture of their child. Whether it is for a profile picture, status update, wallpaper, to send out to family or friends, or to print on a large canvas for their baby nursery at home. It’s simply a way to freeze time because at that age, every day changes the way the centre of their universe looks.

I, for one, do not believe any picture is worth keeping unless it’s something I can blow up large and print! Having said that, capturing the moment is far more important than not simply because one does not have the perfect settings or professional camera at hand.

Today, DSLR’s are increasingly popular in homes, although they are usually rather expensive paperweights until the annual family holiday overseas or a baby is born! Does one really need a DSLR to get great pictures of their newborns and infants? Not really. Especially with several of the new point and shoots and mirrorless cameras that come equipped with large sensors as well as add-ons like faster lenses. Smartphones too have tremendous capability built into a device that is always at hand.

So, here are a few key tips to document the milestones of your child’s development, along with a few techniques:

Camera Tips:

SMARTPHONE OR POINT & SHOOT CAMERA PHOTOGRAPHY

Ideally, try to turn the flash off and get your baby close to a window or go to a park. Outdoors, try to take pictures in the shade rather than in the sun, since you can do away with harsh/’contrasty’ shadows on your child’s face.

ENTRY-LEVEL DSLR’S OR MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

Turn your flash off (as far as possible). If you are shooting indoors, late into the evening, bump up your ISO and try to shoot wide open. If you have a Speedlight, point the head towards the ceiling or a wall on either side to get a softer bounce flash.

SERIOUS ENTHUSIASTS WITH DSLR’S/MIRRORLESS CAMERAS & OFF CAMERA LIGHTING

When your child is mobile, trying to set up with soft boxes is probably not going to work because they will not wait in your sweet spot. Strongly consider using umbrellas, which throw light in every direction and then depend on the dynamic range on your camera’s sensor to recover detail, since the best picture is probably the one with the perfect expression but out of the sweet zone of your flash coverage.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL CAMERA PARENTS

Get busy with seamless rolls, props, on location and off location shoots and a lot of Photoshop time. Go in for off camera flashes, scrims, flags, large modifiers, reflectors, the works.

INVESTMENT

For all levels of photoholics, one of the best investments you can make is in a simple white/silver reflector. You can use this indoors, outdoors, on location, with natural light, with flash, as a distraction for your kids when they are just sitting or crawling, blow air at them to get a smile, and a ton of other ways. Just get one of these - if nothing else!

 

Techniques to Employ

1. I cannot reiterate this enough. Get down to your child’s level when making pictures of them and see the world from their point of view!

2. Using primes and shooting wide open to get those big beautiful eyes sharp and even the tip of the nose soft.

3. Make use of the Brenizer Method/Bokeh Panorama for some stunning pictures outdoors (Especially if you have siblings to photograph, since you might be able to swing the older child being a gravitational pull to keep the toddler still for just enough time to get all your shots in).

3. Time lapse panoramas are not for the faint of heart. Bring out all your gear, skills in lighting, and Photoshop abilities to create a picture that shows all the key milestones outlining your child’s first year, the various stages of your baby bump, or even just different expressions of a toddler!

4. Use high-speed sync to achieve beautiful bokeh outdoors.

Most importantly, forget everything and just make sure you take lots of pictures, because your child will thank you when they grow up! My father’s persistence and efforts have resulted in my desperate desire to capture every moment of a child’s life.

 

 



Aditya Kapoor

The author Aditya Kapoor is of the school of thought that documenting ones children’s lives is one of the best gifts one can leave them. His passion for maternity and infant photography stems from and is continually inspired by his sun, stars, and the moon – his wife and two sons. His appetite also extends to food and travel and of course, making pictures around the world. You can see more of his work at www.aditya-kapoor.com

 







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