I absolutely love the creative side of photography (colors, lighting, angles, posing, etc.) and consider myself to be a bit of an amateur photographer. I've caught some incredibly precious poses of my little girl in the past year, like this...
Lately, however, I've been having a much harder time capturing clear images because my Little Beauty is always on the go. She rarely stops moving - and now might be the time to enlist the help of a professional.
I was recently scouring the web for ideas and I found myself browsing some incredibly artistic and beautiful shots (see right) on the Angel Eyes Photography website. Hilda Burke is the artist behind the photos...and I am impressed how well she captures the personalities of her smallest clients - especially her action shots. I e-mailed her to ask her for some tips and she graciously obliged my offer for an interview.
ME: What age ranges between birth and three years are ideal for getting professional shots taken?
HILDA: Pretty much any age the parents want to capture. The yearly milestones are pretty popular, but that first year they change so much. I offer the first year baby package that some clients like, and I come out to photograph the baby 5 times that first year.
ME: What age ranges between birth and three years are the most difficult?
HILDA: I know it's cliche but age two is pretty hard. I never try to get any two year old to do anything...I just let them do whatever makes them happy and follow their lead.
ME: What is the best "setting" (outdoor, indoor, home, etc.) for photos of little ones?
HILDA: Wherever they feel most comfortable. Usually for a shy child in the home is the best place since they feel secure there. If they are a little more adventurous or they have warmed up a bit, we can try a different setting. Sometimes the family has a favorite place (a local park or forest preserve)they like to visit and they prefer to have the photo shoot there.
ME: What are some poses or props that you use over and over again because they always turn out well in photographs?
HILDA: The only props I use is whatever is dear to the child. If they have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket they are attached to, that will stay in the photo. I want the parents to look at that photo years from now and remember that moment in time and the things that were important to the child. That's why I don't bring any outside props, they are not personal.
As for poses, I just love the naked tushie shots, with the baby laying on their tummy. It's just too cute!
ME: What tips do you have for taking photos of on-the-go toddlers (in the 1-2 range) who won't stand still long enough to "pose" for (or even look at) the camera?
HILDA: Give them space to run and don't be afraid to take a lot of photos. Especially now in the digital age, we can delete all the photos that are not the best. Have your camera near you at all times, eventually they will stop to look at something even if it's for 15 seconds, but if you're ready it's a great photo op.
ME: What is a "reasonable" price range for a baby/toddler photo session and how can I find a good photographer in my area?
HILDA: I think 'reasonable' is pretty hard to define. Can you really put a price on precious moments and memories? On the other hand you don't want to go into debt either. I think parents have to decide what's comfortably within their budget and go from there.
Keep in mind that for most photographers the session fee is just for their time and talent and the photos will be extra.
To find a photographer, ask your friends to see who they are using and if they are happy with them. You can also do research on the internet, and see samples on the photographers web site immediately. I think that you should only hire the photographer who's photos make you go WOW!
ME: Will the camera flash harm my newborn's eyes?
HILDA: Direct flash is probably not a good idea. Most studios have umbrellas or soft boxes that diffuse the lighting, so that's not a worry. I'm an on location photographer and I don't use any lights since I prefer to work with natural light. On the occasion that I must use a flash I will diffuse it or bounce it, never pointing at directly at a newborn.
Thanks for the great tips, Hilda!
Readers, if you live in the Chicago Metropolitan area, you are so lucky because you can hire Hilda from Angel Eyes Photography for your next family or baby portrait session. You can even have her follow your family around for an entire day and capture moments from your every day life! Sometimes I wish I lived in the windy city...but, most of the time, I'm just glad I live here in sunny AZ (did I mention I ran in a 5K last weekend in 60 degree weather?). :)