10 Tips for Taking Phone Photos of Your Baby

Mother taking a picture of her baby girl in crib

After last month’s series of blog posts for expectant parents, this month I’ll be sharing my best photo tips for the first couple of years by age.

Your baby will be going through so many changes and so will the kinds of photos you take, even if the basic principles are the same.

This week let’s talk about baby photo tips for your phone, 0-3 months.

1) Capture first photos on your Phone

Especially if this is your first baby and you’re not yet comfortable with your DSLR, it’s ok if the first photos of your baby are on your iPhone. In fact I encourage you to think of your phone as a camera, no matter what age your kids are!

As you’ll see from this post, even as a professional photographer, with my second baby, some of my favorite and most meaningful everyday photos were taken on my iPhone, including this one taken at the hospital when Jack was just 15 hours old. Of course I took DSLR photos too but my iPhone camera was the one that was easiest to have on hand.

2) Look for natural light

This is a photo tip that applies at any age, but try it with your newborn too. It will make a big difference.

Bonus tip: crop close and fill the frame

3) Capture your perspective, including textures and details

As a new mom, it is likely that your baby will be on you a lot. That is what I love about the iPhone. Keep it in a pocket and you can always reach it and use it with one hand when you are trapped beneath a sleeping baby. Capture your perspective and your experience, and use textures and details that will be so evocative later on.

I love how your can see the newborn fuzz on the back of Jack’s neck and the texture of the blanket. It’s like I can reach out across time and snuggle him—that is what you want from your photos!

4) Continue photographing older siblings

Of course you will keep photographing older siblings but what you may not realize is how much those photos will remind you of the early days with your baby too, even if the baby isn’t in the photo.

This was taken one of the first times I left the baby with someone else to take my older son Liam out for some special one-on-one time that I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, thanks to photos like this.

5) And of course, capture the sweet sibling moments

When I look back through my photos, what I see that maybe wasn’t so clear at the time was how totally besotted Liam was with his new baby brother. In every photo he is all over Jack—kissing, hugging, peering at him, trying to make him giggle. And in the early days, Jack of course was mostly oblivious.

Those are the moments I treasure as the beginning of a story that continues to develop as I see their relationship grow.

6) It won’t be like this forever

We used to put Jack in the car seat stroller and walk him around the kitchen table with the extractor fan on just to get him to sleep other than on top of me. It felt like those days would never end, and then they were over in the blink of an eye. This photo makes me smile as I remember the crazy things you find yourself doing as a parent.

Bonus tip: Look for off-center compositions and keep an eye on background clutter. Also, red can provide a great pop of color!

7) Document the less thought-of milestones

This was from the first playdate I took both kids to. Definitely a milestone. There were several of us with toddlers and newborns—good times!

8) Get in the photo

Thanks to the iPhone, it is much easier to get in the photo these days. I have many photos of the three of us and they usually involve hilarious expressions. I love the sweetness of this one, appropriate for Jack’s first Valentine’s Day.

9) Look for smiles 

At around 2-3 months, your baby will start smiling, but they haven’t yet learned to pose and give you a fake one. Don’t get into bad habits by asking them to smile, but do whatever else it takes to elicit that grin, from goofy grins to funny sounds.

10) Embrace the grain

Yes, look for natural light, but don’t get put off if there isn’t any. Life doesn’t just happen in good light, especially with a baby! When there isn’t enough light, your photos will be grainy, but embrace the grain as a beautiful texture to your photos.

You can edit to add some brightness and convert to black and white to capture the moment.

About Alethea Fitzpatrick

Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick is a family photographer and photography coach for parents with Photosanity. A former architect and interior designer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two boys Liam, age six, and Jack, age three.Alethea is on a mission to help parents more fully experience the precious fleeting moments of their children's lives through photography. Find her on http://photosanity.com
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