I’ve taken so many images, and have so many different favorites for so many various reasons. Social media, internet, and web-based portfolios are all great; but this online world we live in sometimes leads things to be a bit less personal. I believe that every image has a story to tell, and that’s what I love doing for my clients so much! I don’t always get a chance to tell the story behind every image though–what I love about it, what makes it special to me. So, I thought I would start a weekly blog post that featured one of my favorite images…deconstructed. The story behind it, the reasons I love it (whether they are technical reasons of lighting/composition/etc., or emotional ones about what and why the image makes me feel). So check back every week–some of these shares will be personal ones, and others will come from clients’ sessions past and present…one of your images might be featured here!
Baby smiles, particularly newborn smiles, have to be one of the most beautiful things. I think even the coldest of hearts couldn’t help but be warmed by the smile of a child so brand new to this world. For a Newborn Photographer, these smiles are pure gold. Every parent loves the idea of having that one picture (whether from a professional photographer or captured themselves) of one of those elusive baby smiles. Since posting the image below on my Facebook page, I had a couple of inquiries as to how to best capture this and thought I would share what I know to improve your chances at home or during a session. So, how do you get a photograph of a newborn smiling? Is it all pure luck, or is there some magical lesson that will guarantee you get one?
The answer is no…on both counts. It is a lot of luck, since when a newborn smiles it is purely reflex at this age–you can’t DO anything to make them smile, but you can try to learn when to expect a possible smile so that you are more likely to capture it. (Side note on what you can “DO” to make a newborn smile–I have been told before that gently touching close to a baby’s lips when they are in a deep sleep might help induce the smile reflex, but honestly for me it has only ever induced a rooting reflex).
From my experience, I have noticed that baby’s tend to smile when they are getting into a deep sleep. You’ll often see their eyes moving around, opening partially and closing, and sometimes a smile will be preceded by a grimace or other funny face. Don’t put your camera down because baby is making unflattering faces–this is prime time for a smile to follow! Instead, get your focus and exposure set, and keep your camera up and ready. When you see that smile, I recommend taking several frames if possible, to try and make sure you get the shot you are hoping for. Patience is key as much as good observation. But even those things will not guarantee you a smile–every baby is different and it still is a matter of luck as to whether or not they will smile at all during any particular time frame. Good luck in your captures and happy shooting!
The image from earlier today of that contagious newborn smile….