Today I want to go over one of my FAVORITE super easy ways to photograph your baby or kiddo. If you have a DSLR camera, a bedroom with a window, and a kiddo, this tutorial is for you!
Many of us can’t afford to hire a pro photographer to capture every moment of our lives. I am starting a series of simple, easy to learn setups that you can do at home.
One of my favorite setups is kiddos on a bed. This foolproof setup is perfect for capturing your little one often!
What you will need
- Yoga pants and your comfy clothes. No need to dress up for this photo shoot!
- A bedroom with at least one large-ish window. The larger and bigger the windows, usually the better. You’ll want to make sure that the sun isn’t shining DIRECTLY onto the bed though (as that will cause harsh shadows). Soft, bright lighting is ideal. I usually pop kiddos onto a full or queen size guest bed or our master bed so that I have more room to work with. If getting them on a bed makes you nervous, just put the blankets on the floor close to the window (again, make sure the sun is not shining directly onto the blankets) . If you have a crib, I suggest pulling the mattress out of the crib and putting it on the ground close to a window . Trying to shoot down into a crib from a ladder or through the rails is more trouble than it’s worth.
- Blankets or sheets, some sort of soft bedding. As you’ll see from the examples, I normally prefer neutral bedding so the focus stays on that sweet baby’s face! But feel free experiment with different textures or prints. You can also layer several sheets or blankets for a more interesting texture. Gather the fabric a bit to create some wrinkles, this will help create some shadows and dimension in the blankets.
- Your kiddos (obviously ;-))
- DSLR camera with a zoom lens. I used my 28-75mm 2.8 lens for these photos. It’s versatile and has a low aperture, which is great for indoor photos.
Before I round up the kiddos, I set up the blankets and grab my camera. Shut off all of the lights in the room (most indoor lights will give your photos an orange cast if you leave them on). Open all shades and push the blinds up for maximum natural light. Now let’s set your camera up.
- Top dial to M for Manual (yes momma, we’re going all pro on you here! Let’s shoot in Manual. Pat yourself on the back later.) New to using your camera? Watch my video to learn about setting up your camera.
- Shutter speed of 1/125th
- Aperture 2.8
- White balance cloudy
- ISO 1600 (but THIS could change based on how dark your room is)
- Auto-focus on
- Flash off
- I prefer to shoot in RAW + Jpeg, but you can do whatever you prefer. If you have Photoshop and know how to use it, shoot in RAW. Otherwise, keep it on large Jpeg.
- Make sure you have a CF or SD memory card with plenty of space on it in your camera and that your battery is charged (I know, seems obvious — but mom brain is in full effect at my house some days…)
- I would use a zoom 28-70 or 28-75mm lens for this (at 2.8 aperture). But if you don’t have this type of lens, try anything between 20-50mm in focal length. The best to use is 2.8 aperture or lower. See here for my article on favorite lenses.
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Once you have your camera set to these settings, grab a stuffed animal or any object, toss it on the bed in the general area your kiddos will be and take a test shot. I usually prefer to stand on the bed and shoot down. Obviously, be careful and don’t fall! If you’re worried about standing on the bed, move the sheets to the floor close to the window (but not in direct sunshine).
Take a test shot.
How does it look? Dark? Increase your ISO to 3200. Still too dark? Try ISO 6400. Too bright? Lower your ISO to 800, if it’s still too bright lower the ISO to 400, or 200. Keep moving the ISO until your exposure looks correct.
Now it’s time to go get that baby! Put sweet thing on the blankets and goof around with them, talk to them, sing to them, see what fun expressions you can get while taking their photo. If they have a sibling, try putting them down on the bed next to baby. See if they can gently look at baby, give baby a kiss by their ear, etc.
Hope this tutorial on DIY baby photos helps! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with 🙂 🙂 Comment below and let me know how it goes, I’ll do my best to answer any questions. Also upload any pics to Instagram or Facebook and hashtag #RLCPhotoChallenge so I can see your photos! <3
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Krista Lee is a Nashville, TN based portrait and wedding photographer. See her work and professional site at www.kristaleephotography.com