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Tips, techniques, and setups

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Posing and behavior

     Infants present a real challenge to the photographer for a host of reasons. 
You must work fast, for one thing, as a baby will tell you in a hurry
when it has had enough of you.
Stay in control of the situation or forget it. 
Get some basic shots before you try to experiment with poses. 
Work in small bursts, if necessary, giving the baby a comfort break between shots. 

         Another very important thing:    You can never FORCE anyone to make a natural smile,  especially not a child.

          If you want a smile, either make a joke or catch the subject off-guard.
In school photography, many children simply don't want to smile.
In that case, have them say a word like "happy", or "turkey", or some other word
that forces the mouth into a smile shape.  The word "chicken" works, too,
but you have to catch the expression with a quick finger on the shutter.

kids this age can make great expressions, but they have to trust the photographer

Don't ever try to FORCE an infant to pose!

          They're very fragile, and you must be very tender with them.  
Having relatives or other observers around can be very distracting sometimes.
The mother or father, though, should be within arm's length for safety.
Sometimes an infant will respond to an older sibling.
            Before trying to place them in a pose,  be sure your equipment is ready
You must work fast or the baby will get restless.
Get some basic shots before you try to experiment with poses. 
Work in small bursts, if necessary, with a comfort break between series of shots.

The photographer is supposed to be a director.

           Stay in control of the situation or forget it.  
Some kids enjoy being the center of attention, and will act up to please the photographer.   Others are very shy of strangers.   They may even react by getting hysterical.   Use interesting sounds to provoke responses.   Using a ball, balloon, or bubbles, can get a great response.    ( Don't let the bubbles get on your lens.)

Take a break

        If behavior becomes a problem, just stop the shoot.   Try getting away from the camera and playing with the child.   Babies change moods often, and you can usually continue with the shooting.

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        A bad background can ruin a picture.   Infants are so small that only a small portion of the backdrop appears in the photo.   It's usually best to use a simple, plain color, and let the baby's expression  dominate the picture.


        Interesting costumes can greatly enhance a portrait and increase its value, since it will be a rare photo.   However, many costumes look odd on a baby, or may be uncomfortable.  Sometimes all you need is a hint of a costume, such as a scarf, hat, or something in the hand.

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            A simple prop often helps set a mood or natural pose.    Too many props, or unrelated props, are not good.   There is a science to color and shape.   Keep the color tones harmonious and look for good geometry.   With a young child, it's wise to let them have a toy in their hands.
A clever choice of prop can keep a toddler's hands occupied and out of trouble.  Hats are often very effective, since they can immediately convey an image.  Young children, however, will often play with them.  Make a game of it.

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