Just because New York City gets hit with a ‘blizzard’, doesn’t mean that the world stops. Let’s say your little one is turning six-months old and you want a family photo, but it’s too cold outside for that lovely portrait in the park you’ve been dreaming of? Well, have I got some indoor baby portrait tips for you.
Twice now I have had parents reach out to me who wanted to document their child’s three month birthday – except it’s March, and there is snow on the ground. Fear not! A beautiful family portrait can be yours – in-house no less – with just a few adjustments.
First, know that this will not be your baby’s last portrait. So there is plenty of time to take a family photo in the park. Spring has technically arrived today (though honestly, here in NYC that feels more like a dream). Use this time to craft a documentary-style portrait that shows your family as they are in a comfortable setting.
Identify your home’s best source of natural light. When I come into any space, the first thing I look for is natural light. Lamps are never going to be your best source of illumination because tungsten light bulbs give off a yellow cast to everything (and everyone). Instead, I am looking for your brightest window (or in the case of Amish and Megan, a skylight!). Next, figure out the time at which you get the most light within that room. Baby’s nap time trumps any other schedule, of course, but if you can arrange for a time that takes advantage of both your child’s happiest hour and the brightest time in your apartment, then even better.
Set up the main staging room for success. Living room, nursery, parent’s bedroom – wherever you want to shoot, identify that area and take a look at it from a photographer’s perspective. De-clutter the room if it is appropriate. I want the resulting images to show your family as they actually live, so don’t get nitpicky about cleaning. Just take out anything you don’t want in the photo. Pile of clean laundry you have been meaning to put away? Stuff it in the closet for now. I am not looking for a neat freak studio, but I do want to concentrate the image on your family, and not have viewers distracted by the laundry in the corner.
Activities are important. While playing in the snow may be out of the question, activities are still important to give a sense of movement and life to your photo session. Put the baby on the floor and play together as a family. Engage with a favorite toy. Bath time, brushing teeth, eating a snack – these are all great activities to document.
Concentrate on your most important photos first. As with my last round of baby portrait tips, know your child. Make a list of your priority photos so that we can ‘bank’ these images first while your little one is in a state of prime happiness. In the case of Amish and Megan, they really wanted photos of little Milo in his chair and with his blocks. We knocked these photos out first, and then every other image was a bonus. Who knows? If time and temperament permit, you may actually get a few shots outside. Seeing snow for the first time is always a great photo!
If you like to see more images from my family photojournalism portfolio, then please my website – www.KellyWilliamsPortraits.com