First, let me advise you never to use a wide angle lens for a baby picture. The foreshortening of a 28mm focal length lens will be sure to (1) make the baby’s nose appear larger, (2) reduce the size of their ears to looking smaller and out of shape, and (3) probably cause an overexposure of the image due to the closeness of the flash to the subject. One the other hand, a short telephoto lens (100mm) will reproduce our angel’s features to a normal proportion, all of his (or her) different parts presented in the proper ratio. Even a small distortion of proportion has a definite (and detrimental) effect on the features.
While I’m not excluding taking pictures at night with a flash, I am recommending that you wait for daytime for that wonderful light coming from your window. Turn off the flash or cover it with two layers of white handkerchief. A setting of 200 ISO should be sufficient for a good exposure. The bottom pane is the one with the most photogenic light, so if you can, close off the upper part. Try raising the mattress in the crib so that you can see the baby without looking down. Soft light from the sky or light reflected off clouds produces a three dimensional rounded effect especially flattering to a baby’s face. If the room is furnished in dark colors, place a reflecting surface near the baby to fill in the shadow. Use a tripod or other support and shoot away.
Try different angles: a high angle looking down, a position on the opposite side of the crib (turn it around), or even through the bars. Avoid using the macro setting on a zoom lens, since this setting most often incorporates a wide angle focal length. Find the closest distance possible on your short telephoto lens (85mm – 120mm) and stand at that distance. A two diopter close-up attachment lens could halve this distance for super close-ups.
For twins, try to have one sit and one stand. The diagonals produced in the composition introduce a dynamic note to the picture. Important is to have all eyes pointing in the same direction. A squeeze toy helps.
In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images. This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.
When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect. If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.
I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast. Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.
I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo. If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.
1) Remember, centered photos are boring. Pay attention the next time you’re in a movie theater; nothing is ever centered. Follos the rule of thirds – mentally divide the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and place the center of interest (usually your subject’s eyes) on one of those ‘third lines.’
2) Frame your pictures. If you’re taking scenics of a distant lake or mountain, look for an interesting frame. This is no different from framing a photo on your wall. Your frame can be tree branches, rocks, or some other interesting foreground object.
3) When shooting portraits, use the longest zoom setting your camera will allow (without using the “digital zoom”). Also use the widest aperture (or the lowest f-stop number). This will throw the background into a nice soft focus, drawing your viewer’s eyes right to your smiling subject.
4) Look for distractions in the frame. It’s hard to learn to do this, because your brain naturally filters out the telephone pole growing out of Uncle Joe’s head – but the photo printer won’t. Look for objects which will draw your viewer’s attention away from your desired center of interest.
Follow these four simple rules, and you’ll begin to see a dramatic improvement in your photos!
Pack light – don’t bring the entire house with you when you travel. Scale down your equipment to what’s really important and pack only the essentials. This way, you can challenge yourself to improvise during tough shooting conditions. Sometimes a masterpiece could be the result of a fortunate “accident”.
Get up early – capturing early morning routines of the locals and how the place looks like before it gets busy is a great way to start your day and learn more about the place.
Feel the place – it may be exciting to take lots of photos as soon as you arrive at your destination, but taking pictures for the sake of getting things done might hinder your creativity. Find the time to get to know the place by immersing yourself in the small details.
Get off the beaten path – while most photographers need to fulfil standard postcard shots, it’s also good to explore non-popular locations. Who knows what you might discover on your path? Don’t be afraid to get lost and wander off to unfamiliar areas. Just make sure safety comes first always.
Get to know the people – connect with the locals, other tourists, or even other photographers. You can gain new friends and learn new insights about the place. Additionally, each of your photos would have its unique back story.
Experiment with composition – go beyond standard techniques and try going for different composition techniques. Feeling the place has helped you gain a deeper perspective. Perhaps you can tell a story by breaking a few rules. By all means, rule of thirds, balancing elements, depth, etc. are tried and tested techniques, but you can always experiment with your own.
Make the most out of the golden hour – whether it’s before sunrise or sunset, be there ahead of time to prepare for the magic hour. Make sure you do your research and ask about the best places to shoot during the golden hour. Remember, good photography is about capturing and manipulating light.