Tips for Winning a Baby Photo Contest

Even the most grumpy of people love photographs of babies. And why not. They’re cute, they’re adorable, they’re cuddly, they’re not self-conscious, they’re unpredictable.

So, how do you capture that perfect shot that’s good enough to capture the eye of the judge and make them go, ‘ahhh’? Here are some tips for capturing that special moment.

First, be sure of your subject; is it:
Baby on its own
Baby with siblings, parents, pets or with
Baby discovering the world.

Second, make up your mind about what you want, and make sure that you see your subject sharply and loud and clear in the viewfinder before you take the picture. Fill the picture with the subject so that the focus is clear to the viewer’s eye and it is drawn to it. Ensure your background is well lit.

If you get these things right, baby will stand out as the clear and unmistakable subject.

Third, do not allow anything unconnected to be seen in the picture that might distract the eye away from the subject. Try to keep your backdrop plain and simple, using a pale colored wall or sheet as a backdrop. Don’t clutter up your scene with lots of objects such as toys. One toy, or one object will be enough. This combination will draw the eye to the baby and not to everything around him.

To avoid the dreaded red-eye, which is caused when bright light is reflected back onto the film from the blood-rich back of the eyeball – the retina, you should avoid a bright light source. The cause of red eye in most of your pictures is the flash on your camera.

You need the subject’s pupils to be wide open so that the camera can “see” the retina. Choose an angle where the reflection of the light comes back directly into the lens. Remember, if you don’t use the flash, you usually won’t get red-eye.

The best venue for your subject is indoors. If you look at a baby’s eyes indoors, you will notice that his or her pupils are usually wide open to compensate for the reduced light-level.

Or, check your camera to see if it has a “red-eye reduction” function. How many people really read all the different equipment functions before they start using the camera? Most cameras today have a red-eye reduction which operates by firing the flash several times before the picture is taken. The idea is that the pre-exposure flashes will cause the pupils to shut down before the actual picture is taken.

The best baby pictures occur when the baby is well-rested, comfortable, and secure. Remember this and avoid taking pictures when the baby is irritable, tired or wet. Try to make sure that a parent is nearby so the baby feels secure. If you are a stranger to the baby, behind a camera, you can look pretty scary. You will not get a good picture if the baby is afraid of you. Put the camera down every now and then, and wiggle some toys or make faces or play with the baby in some foolish way that will reassure Baby that you’re not a monster.

When your baby is starting to move, they can find and grab their hands and feet, show interest in nearby objects and as time passes, they start to roll over, sit up, and do all sorts of simple antics that are a pleasure to photograph. They’re aware of you and the camera, and while they won’t perform for the camera, they also won’t be self-conscious like older children. This means you can get in close and capture the moments as the child starts to reach out to the world around them.