Shoot The Baby

27th May 2011

Baby pictures in the spotlight (and the flashlight…)

Capturing the first precious moments of your child’s life – tiny feet, little starfish hands – is just the start of a fascinating photographic journey. Most parents want to record every milestone, every family occasion, but sometimes the camera – and the baby – won’t play ball. A new book by Rickmansworth-based Helen Webb offers practical advice in an easy-to-use format to ensure that all your shots have the cute factor.

Shoot the Baby is designed for parents with compact cameras (not professionals with fancy kit). It’s straightforward and easy to read, with plenty of thoroughly gorgeous photos to illustrate the advice. Helen gives simple, sound practical tips and composition ideas, and covers everything from props and lighting to how to ensure a willing subject.

Billed as a ‘read while you feed’, book, it won’t tax sleep-deprived parental brains, but it will help you record those early weeks (and beyond) without stress.

An ideal gift for anyone who has a baby in the family, or is expecting one.

Here are Helen’s top tips to ensure your pictures – and your baby – stand out from the crowd:

1 De-clutter your shots – A camera won’t filter out irrelevant detail as your brain does. Watch out especially for washing, dirty plates or anything behind your baby’s head. Move yourself, the baby or the mess until your shot is clutter-free.

2 Take a step closer – Or crop the shot later. Remember, there’s no pavement in the Mona Lisa. As a simple rule, try to fill two thirds of the shot with your subject.

3. Bin most of your pictures – To improve your photography instantly, simply delete the bad ones! No professional will show you everything they took.

4. Know your camera – Those buttons are there for a reason. Read the manual, then venture beyond the fully automatic setting.

5 Think personality – All babies smile and all smiling babies are gorgeous. But don’t forget to capture the serious, sad, cross and tired looks – to help you remember all those quirky little mannerisms.

6. Consider the light – The light in a photo is as important as the subject. Look for the direction and quality of your light source and use natural light (not flash) whenever possible.

7 Rotate – Don’t be afraid to turn the camera around into the upright (portrait) position. It’s surprisingly good for … portraits.

8. Experiment – Take shots from different angles (above, below, at a level), at different times of day and on different settings and record which work best.

9. Have a laugh –- Relax and your baby will too. Say something stupid or unexpected. Blow a raspberry. Encourage silly behaviour. Smile a lot – it’s infectious.

10. Print or upload your photos – Is your computer a photo graveyard? Share your best shots with family and friends by uploading or printing your pictures.

Shoot the Baby is being launched on Saturday 11 June, at Chorleywood Bookshop, 4 New Parade, Chorleywood from 8.30am to 9.30am. Optima readers are invited for breakfast and a view of the book, and Helen Webb will be on hand to give advice and sign copies, which are £12.99 each.

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