Taking pictures of kids is easy when compared to photographing babies. Kids are always smiling and running around and doing cute things anyway, so photographers have only to stay out of the way and shoot in order to get fun shots. Photographing babies is much tougher because they sleep most of the time and only smile occasionally.
But not smiling and sleeping a lot isn't the toughest part about shooting babies. The real tough part is the background of the image. Since babies can't sit up on their own yet, all the pictures we take of them look like snapshots because the baby is just plastered against a blanket. The background is so plain that it is impossible to make the shot look professional. This article has a few tips to help you learn to take better photos of babies who can't yet sit up.
The first tip is to have someone brace up the back of the baby to sit them up, then have a blanket or something cover up their arm. See how the featured photo on this page looks like the baby is sitting up? Easy to recreate by having someone brace the baby's back and then cover up the arm with a blanket.
The second tip is to find a way to make laying down look creative. One neat shot that accomplishes this is to lay the baby in the crib, use an extremely low aperture for short depth-of-field, and kneel down on the ground beside the crib. Focus on the baby and allow the bars on the crib to blur out. Shooting the baby through the blurred out crib bars is a very creative way to get a professional look out of such an ordinary scene. Try it and I promise it'll be the shot you send to grandma.
One cool way to make babies look happy even if they aren't actually smiling is to get catch-lights in their eyes. Just adjust them a bit until the light hits their eyes just right. Catch-lights also help to give some detail to baby eyes which are often pure black until they get older.
One last tip for shooting little babies. Go black-and-white. Baby's skin is so thin that it shows lots of little pores, veins, and patterns. We of course don't mind that because they are little babies! In pictures, though, it makes the photo look a bit distracting. To fix this, just make the photo black-and-white and don't add too much sharpness. Usually soft photos of baby skin look much nicer. Oh, and a little Photoshopping doesn't hurt to help the skin softening.
Best of luck shooting your little baby! Leave a comment below if you have additional tips, and please share this with your friends on facebook by hitting the share button at the top right of this article.