Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DSLR Baby Picture

It seems like everyone is buying DSLR cameras and having babies these days.

When you first take the plunge into parenting or photography, you feel utterly incompetent. After some time passes, you still feel incompetent, but have some pointers to dish out. Since I've had my baby for less than six months, I will be offering no baby advice here. However, I've had my camera for 2.5 years and feel ready to dish out a few tips. Specifically, I will explain how to take the above picture. Ready? Here we go!

Get... your camera, a bright spot in your home where the sun is streaming onto the ground, a bright white blanket, and a baby that can hold his head up when placed on his tummy.

First... Set up your space.

Lay your white blanket on the ground right where the sun is streaming through your window. Why? Photography is all about capturing light. (After all "photo" means light and "graph" means to record/write/draw.) Good lighting makes or breaks a picture, and the ambient light in the room combined with the light coming down from the sky and the light being reflected up from the white blanket will make a well lit picture.

In the photo below, you see my blanket's positioning. The Kindle on the left represents where I laid down. The teddy bear lying face down represents where my baby, Grace, was doing tummy time when I took the picture.

Don't do this with a newborn who can't lift their head yet! Your picture will turn out like this. Sad.

Second... Set up your camera. This is a lot, but it's super important. Grab your camera and bear with me.

If you have a prime lens, use that. If not, use the lens that came with your camera.

Set your camera to aperture priority mode. On a Canon (that's what I own), there's a wheel on top. Set it to "Av." This is the best mode for shooting stationary subjects in good lighting.

Set your aperture/f-stop as low as it goes. On a Canon, it's the F1.8 (or F3.5 or F5.6). Crank it down to the lowest number. It'll probably be 1.8 or 3.5. This gets you that awesome blurry background that instantly makes your photo look like you paid for it.

Set your ISO to auto. On a Canon, that button is on top and is easy to spot. It says "ISO."

Set your white balance to auto. On a Canon, it's the "WB" button that you press to scroll up, right above the "set" button.

Put the camera in portrait mode. On a Canon, press the button opposite the white balance button and set it to "P."

Turn the exposure up one notch. On a Canon, hold down the "Av" button on the back and go up one notch.

Third... Shoot!

Set your baby down, get down on your stomach with her, focus the camera on her eyes, and shoot a couple shots. Check out what you have, think of how you could make it even better, and try again!

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