Baby Photos

Beautiful. . . photography by Maria Gvedashvili. (note: the site will load with music, so mute your speakers. But the images are amazing!) 

It’s been ages since I took photos of a baby. My “baby” is 16 and taking photos of him typically requires negotiation and pleading on my part. And then we have that awkward dance where I try to get him to smile and he refuses and then I recommit to stalking him when he’s not looking, because that’s probably the only way I’m getting the shot I want. In the world of social media and a life lived online, my child is quick to duck the camera. Like his mother.

But, the opportunity to take pictures of tiny ones, little ones, is in my  near future. I’m now an Auntie with a camera. And I desperately need to brush up on my skills. Babies are easier to photograph than surly teens, but only by a smidgen. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have ideas ahead of time. So, of course, I’m digging around Pinterest for ideas. 

I’ll confess, I’m not a huge fan of the classic studio work for children’s photos. Babies and toddlers (or adults for that matter) don’t sit around in front of blue canvas backdrops, so why we insist on photographing them like that is beyond me. Fortunately, though traditional studio photographers are still abundant if that’s your thing, the trend has shifted. People are taking a more candid approach to photographing children, even if those photographs are still shot in a studio. (as the above photo most certainly was) 

But, but, you say: Sears and the local photographer are so inexpensive. True. But so is grabbing your camera, heading outside on a nice day (overcast is best!) and telling the kids, “Hey, let’s play!” Or asking a friend who is handy with a camera. Or talking to a local photographer and giving them examples of what you’re looking for. Most people who take photos of children professionally (unless it’s in the mall!) are artists themselves and would probably welcome the chance to use that particular muscle! 

Here’s the thing: while I’m not a fan of the classic studio posed photo (we don’t have any of those of our child!) I understand some people love them. What I’m advocating for the future, is that you capture a MOMENT in time. What makes a great photo worth keeping is the memory it evokes. The story attached to it.  And this is what the studio photo lacks, at least for me. I didn’t want to remember wrestling a fussy toddler into formal wear and coaxing him to sit up and smile while some stranger cooed and dangled stuffed toys in front of him to keep his attention.

I wanted to remember the dirty hands from making mud pies. A cheesy grin and a messy ice cream cone. The sheer delight and laughter after sliding down the big slide. Running through sprinklers. Holding hands. Blowing bubbles. Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. 

My bias is showing, but I’m convinced the moments of life worth keeping cannot be found in front of a blue canvas backdrop.

Looking for great ideas on how to photograph your adorable child? Come follow my Hey Baby board on Pinterest. 

4 Responses to Baby Photos

  • IZ says:

    That’s such a wonderful photo!

    I’m totally with you regarding the idea of having photos that capture moments. Studio photos are so 1860!

    Anyway – the one thing that’s more true than anything else is your bias. Just take a look at YOUR studio pics as you grew up and you can see a little girl who hated every moment – a process that looked like it was pure torture.

    No wonder you have a disdain for such pics. 😉

  • Wende says:

    Fair enough. But I would also add, that I’ve rarely ever seen a studio photo where I thought it looked amazing. Smiles are stiff, there’s too much background showing, and people are in poses they’d NEVER strike in real life.

    The photo above is an amazing specimen. Frankly, far beyond my abilities; but what I love about it is how close in it is. The details: a parent’s hands, a ribbon, and a little girl patiently waiting. Yes, the lighting and editing make this photo extraordinary. BUT, it is the composition of this photo that makes it so true to life and in my opinion (which seems pretty passionate at the moment!) truly beautiful. I’m convinced that even shot with a PHD this moment would far exceed anything in front of a blue screen. (or brown, or green, or grey)

  • Margaret says:

    I admit to liking both! The photos I tend to put around the house are the posed shots, but the ones I really look at are the impromptu ones. The ones I put in my husband’s slide show were also a mix.

    • Wende says:

      I hear you. I know some people like those. And I don’t mind a posed shot: where people are aware they’re being photographed. I just hate to see baby photos where the fake backdrop is larger and more obvious than the little tyke who is supposed to be the subject of the photo.

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