Monday, February 11, 2013

Tips: Creating a Portrait Wall or Album of Your Child's First 24 Months

You might have noticed that there's no portrait of Gates at nine months on the blog. That's because there isn't a nine month portrait. At the beginning of January, Gates and I were recovering from colds. Gates was not her typical happy self. After she recovered, I was preoccupied with projects for Alt, and then we were less than a week away from her 10 month portrait.
Tips for Taking a Series

Tips for Taking Monthly Portraits of Newborns, Infants, and Toddlers

For anyone who is thinking of trying this project with their newborn, here are a few tips I wish I'd known BEFORE I took the first portrait:
  • Select a location where you have at least six hours of soft daylight. You'll want to be able to straddle two naps in case you don't get the shot you were hoping for.
  • Choose stationary furniture, for scale, that fits an adult and is always, or close to always, set up in your house. If you chose luggage for example as your props, you'll need to set up before your child wakes up and potentially leave it set up for a day or two, depending on how your child is feeling. Also, with luggage when your child moves the case can accidentally close on them. With props that move, always have another adult present when taking your portraits.
  • Keep your setup simple. If you're not feeling well or you're out of town, you want your co-parent to be able to take the portrait. My setup is not simple, there are multiple reflectors involved, a tripod, staging, and so on. You get the idea.
  • Select one orientation for your portraits, either horizontal or vertical, and stick with it. If you switch back and forth, unintentionally, when you go to frame your portraits you may need to do some creative editing. If you intentionally switch back and forth you can have some awesome layouts of portraits. Randomness just introduces headaches.
  • If you can, shoot tethered. It's the only way you're going to know -- the screen on the back of your camera is too small, and enlarging is too slow with a ninja baby -- whether the eyes are in focus or not. Another added benefit is that it eliminates potential camera shake as you depress the shutter.

  • The following tips are from PJ of Bunny and Dolly and Nicole of Making It Lovely:
  • Make it super easy for you (and anyone else) to order printed photos if you forgot to caption them on the back, include your little one's age in the portrait. PJ has a numbered onesie that she made for Levi's portraits. Nicole has a button.
  • Depending on the look you're going for with your portraits, if you want to really see how much your little one has grown, get the same outfit in multiple sizes.

Have more tips?
Please share!

Ciao Bella!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. In The Nursery is a monthly series, published on either the second or fourth Monday of each month, depending on whether Gates has a well baby check up or not, that chronicles Gates' growth during her first twenty four months. This series was inspired by Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely's series for her two children: Eleanor and August.