The greatest day in your photographic life is the day you shoot a photograph that prompts people you know and love to say “Wow, you are a good photographer!”
When you hear those words you’re off to the races. I remember that day; I had been validated. I knew I was on to something.
I think the quickest way to make make that day happen is to photograph a baby; people are sitting ducks for a good baby photograph and I mean that in the most loving way. If you photograph a baby people love and give them a copy of the picture—an email or a print—you’ve given a family heirloom.
If you need a little push, all you have to do is look at the photographs I’ve attached to this post. There was a day when the people who took these pictures were afraid to show them to anyone. Now, someone who pretends to be an expert is holding them up in public like they’re little masterpieces—and they are.
Let’s get practical. First, find a baby you love. If it’s not your baby, offer to babysit for a baby you love. If there’s not a baby you love in your life you need to get one. Babies are good for humanity.
Plan to do a daytime thirty minute photo session with the baby. Preferably he or she will be napping.
Carefully place the lovely little person into the soft light of a window on a bright day. Don’t use direct sunlight. We’re looking for soft gorgeous light here.
If you’re not confident about how your camera works, bring the instruction manual. If you can’t find it, there is a copy of it on the internet.
Turn off your flash. The manual will tell you how. If you can’t turn off the flash on your camera, you probably need a new camera.
Get in really close. For many of you that means getting closer than you’ve ever gotten to anyone with a camera before.
Focus on the eye lids. (This is one of the infinite number of my photo “rules” that were made to be broken. Of course, you can focus anywhere you want. But for the time being, focus on the baby’s eyes whether they’re open or closed. After all, eyes are the gateway to the soul and you want your photographs to have soul.)
Shoot lots of pictures. This will increase your luck factor. Good photographers are lucky photographers; they do everything they can to get lucky.
Carefully choose one favorite. Share this picture with everyone who loves this baby. Watch the accolades pour in; it’s likely that will continue to happen for years to come.