Prince George: 10 steps for taking a reasonably decent photo of a new baby
- 20 August 2013
The first official photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new baby has earned a measure of plaudits for amateur photographer and grandfather Michael Middleton. That first baby snap isn't easy, writes photographer Caroline Briggs.
Every new parent has been there. You want to take a photo of your beautiful bundle of joy, but on camera he looks like a red-faced Gollum. There is more pressure than ever in this age of Pinterest-perfect imagery to produce a photo that stands up to social media scrutiny.
My own son was born two days after Prince George, so I know how hard it is to shoehorn in a photoshoot between the sleepless nights and endless nappy changes. There are some tips that can help.
1. Timing is everything. The first couple of weeks when your baby is still curled up and as sleepy as a sloth are best for a newborn shoot. Make sure he or she is well fed, with a clean nappy, and wait for baby to drift off. Dress them in the outfit or blanket you want to use for the photo before they go to sleep. Patience is key.
2. Use soft, natural light from a window instead of flash for the most flattering results. Pop them on a bed in front of a large window, with simple light-coloured bed linen and a soft textured blanket.
3. De-clutter the background. Your brain might be good at filtering out the dirty clothes on the bed but your camera may not.
4. Get in close and get down low for the best angle. Taking your camera down to your baby's eye level will give you a more personal point of view.
5. You can always crop the photograph afterwards to fill the frame with your baby's gorgeous chops, helpfully cutting out the milky stains on the duvet (particularly handy if you're after an aspirational lifestyle shot, and not the sometimes grim reality of life with a newborn).
6. Don't forget details. Those tiny hands and tootsies are going to grow - and fast - so get them on camera before they turn into spades.
7. You might want to consider using a lens with a long focal length and a wide-open aperture. If that's all Greek to you, then stick your SLR on portrait mode, and it should give you a nice bit of background blur.
8. Don't forget the "firsts". Your baby's first bath, first trip outside, and first visit to see the grandparents are all worthy of capture.
9. For these candid moments your camera phone comes into its own.
10. Finally, your child will want to know what mummy and daddy looked like when they were born so, like Catherine and William, get a friend to put yourselves in the frame too. It's up to you whether you want to edit out those sleepy eye bags.