In this chapter, we deal with babies and toddlers. We will turn our
attention first to babies too young to sit or stand. While most infants
can partially support themselves at about
four-and-a-half months, many are a little slower
getting to that point in their development. These
little people are likely to be laying down on their
back or stomach, possibly resting on their elbows.
At this age some are also able to crawl.
Babies who are able to sit but not stand, even with something to hold
on to, are covered next.
Moving along, we turn our attention to working with tots from about
twelve months to twenty-four months. At this age, children are able to
stand without something to hold on to and are walking for the first time—
and that is about all they want to do!
Small children in the toddler age range, about twenty-four months to
age four, are covered next. If you have heard the expression “terrible
twos,” then you know what to expect. Individuals in this age group seem
to be the most willful of all the categories and are the most difficult to
“trap”—photographically speaking—in just the place we need them to be.
Birth to Five Months
When posing babies from birth through five months, we must meet a
unique set of challenges. Because these tiny subjects cannot take instruction
and often wriggle out of any position we place them in, our main
objective is to create the best-possible view. This is typically done using a
variety of props that present the baby at a desirable angle to the camera,
though once a baby can push up on their hands or elbows, floor poses can
be effective too.
Photographing babies in a basket is fairly common, but doing so with
style will help create an image that is both creative and beautiful. In plate 1,
we have a standout portrait by Cindy Romano. Note that the tiny subject
is presented in a perfectly normal position, and that a blanket was used as
a cushion to ensure the baby’s comfort. An uncomfortable baby will not be
happy, and the results will be less than
pleasing. Cindy enhanced the set by using
stuffed animals and foliage.
In plate 2, Wendy Veugeler reversed the
style that Cindy Romano used in plate 1.
Here, the subject was positioned on its
tummy on a cushioned seat that sweeps
upward at each end and caused the baby to
curl up in a snuggle position.
In plate 3, we have a pose that required
us to position the camera almost directly
above the baby to prevent a distorted perspective.
In this image, the baby was simply
laying on a comfortable quilt and was
covered by a blanket. Important here is that baby’s feet protrude from
under the cover. This provides mom the ability to see those precious feet
and also lengthens the portrait, a feature that will enable us to enlarge it to
a wall-sized portrait. We brought in some artificial flowers to add color and
texture to the image and enhance the composition.
In plate 4, we have a different view of a baby laying down in a similar
set. The camera was positioned at the baby’s eye level. We must be careful
not to expose a baby’s private parts to the camera. To prevent this, we
placed a blanket between the baby’s legs and drew it over the far hip.
In plate 5, we have a portrait of a naked baby about four months old.
The angle of view we used in this case prevented us from exposing to the
camera parts of the body that we should not show.
Plate 6 shows a portrait of a baby positioned in a bassinet, a supportive
prop that works a little better than a basket when the baby is alert and
active. The bassinet was covered with soft quilts to maximize the baby’s
Norman Phillips (Author)
Norman Phillips is a master photographer who is the recipient of more than 150 awards, including the Accolade of Outstanding Photographic Excellence in Recognition of Contribution to the Industry. He has contributed to Master Photographer, Professional Image Maker, Rangefinder, and WPPI Monthly. He is the author of Lighting Techniques for High Key Portrait Photography, Lighting Techniques for Low Key Portrait Photography, Professional Posing Techniques for Wedding and Portrait Photographers, and Wedding and Portrait Photographers’ Legal Handbook. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois.