Now that you know how to photograph newborns, let’s talk about infants. Infants– babies between a month to a year old– are a little easier to photograph in some ways. They can see farther so their eyes are less likely to be crossed when awake, they are more active and can smile when they want to. It’s also more difficult to photograph infants because they are more active and are better at expressing all kinds of emotions, particularly when they’re annoyed.
The best way to get the most of an infant shoot is to make it as fun as possible. Here are a few tips to help achieve that.
1. Go to them.
An infant is now able to get out and explore the world around them, but it is best to work with the parents to find out what they are looking for. Sometimes the backyard is a great place to photograph an infant. It’s familiar, outdoors and stimulating enough to keep their attention. I did one infant shoot in an area with a lot of tall trees. The little boy had never seen trees that tall so he spent a majority of the shoot looking up. When you keep an infant in a familiar place they are more likely to play and smile, instead of looking shocked.
2. Let them be.
Sometimes it’s just best to let the kiddo play. You can set up an area with a nice backdrop, either an indoors solid color or outdoors natural one, give the infant some of their favorite toys and let them go. Getting candid shots of the infant interacting with toys or their parents can make for some memorable portraits. It’s not only about getting the posed pictures but capturing the happiness of a new family.
3. Keep them happy.
As with newborn photo shoots, patience is a virtue. Infants can still be over stimulated easily so taking breaks for food, diaper changes and just in general will help keep them in a good mood. Try to work around the baby’s schedule. These photo shoots usually take less time than a newborn shoot, so try to work with the parents to find a time they are in the best mood. Mornings seem to be the best, from my experience. The infant is well rested, in a good mood and the natural light is still nice.
4. Know when enough is enough.
Sometimes no matter what you do an infant might not be “feeling it” that day. Once, I had a family schedule a photoshoot right after their son’s 4 month shots. It was not a good idea. He had a fever and cried the first half hour I was there. Once he got to sleep the shoot got better and we ended up with some great moments after he woke up and the fever was gone. Still, there were a few times I thought, lets just reschedule. Naps are so important at that age. I had no idea how very important until I had my own baby. It’s amazing how quickly they can go from happy and alert to a tired screaming mess. Don’t be afraid to wrap up a shoot or even reschedule in these situations. In the end the family wants the best photos. Usually they will understand.
Infants are fun to photograph, they can’t go very far, very fast. They are also fascinated with everything. It’s so fun to watch a baby learn about the world around them. Until they put your shoe or something even grosser in their mouth. It’s always an adventure photographing young children!