I spend a fair amount of time perusing photography websites and blogs for ideas and inspiration. I love browsing through the portfolios of first-rate photographers in hopes of gleaning some small morsel of ingenuity from their artistic prowess.
As I scanned Toni Elmer's gorgeous photos again this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice "trends" in her photographs of babies and toddlers. Here's what I learned from looking through her stunning, crisp, and brilliant photos:
1. Go outside. Indoor photos are overwhelmingly ugly. Unless you have just the right lighting AND a clutter-free space AND a nice backdrop. Those three things are hard to come by in most homes with small children. So walk to the park, go downtown, head out to the forest - anywhere but in the dark corner of your tot's toy-filled room.
2. Turn off the flash. Natural lighting is best, but try to avoid taking photos at the brightest (10am-2pm) and darkest (before sunrise or after sunset) times of day. Instead, choose early morning or late afternoon (4-7pm - especially one hour before sunset). And, if the day is overcast, that's even better.
3. Don't say cheese. Posing is overrated. Capture your little one in his/her element...sleeping, blowing bubbles, examining bugs, swinging on the playground, etc.
4. Choose simple clothing in bright colors. Children don't need to be "made up" or dressed up for photos. They'll stand out just because they're cute. Don't ruin the moment by putting your kid in uncomfortable, scratchy, lacy, branded, or heavily patterned attire.
5. Select funky/meaningful accessories and props. If you want your pictures to be modern, edgy, and different than the status quo, use one or two cool props. It's ideal if the prop is something that your child will be enamored by. But consider your little one's age. If you have a snoozing newborn, why not set him in a red wagon or on top of a pile of colorful bath towels? Or try outfitting your toddler in a tutu, a pair of pink cowgirl boots, or a superhero cape. Or give your 2-year-old a cupcake, an ice cream cone, a bubble wand, or an umbrella. Let his/her personality shine.
Finally, don't forget to take lots of photos! That's the beauty of digital cameras. You can just keep "clicking." You may get one extraordinary photo out of twenty (or out of one hundred), but I bet you'll treasure the "out takes" one day too...
***All photos displayed in this post were taken by Toni Elmer of Urban Photo Studio. If you live in or around Dallas...or if you're rich and famous and can afford to fly a photographer directly to you...you should definitely consider Toni. Her photos are anything but the usual. I am completely smitten.
YOUR TURN: What is your best tip for photographing babies/toddlers?