Layers

When photographing children, babies in particular, there are a few things I aim for to make the shoot a success.  You will need to quickly find interesting composition and lighting, but more than that you need to find depth.   Images take shape with layers.  If it is the blanket in front of you (1), then the child’s face (2), and then the back wall of the home (3), there you go, 3 layers!  The more you have the better, if done well.  This style of photography will give you the photojournalistic style you crave.  To enhance the depth in your images you will need to control your aperture.  A high end camera and lens with a narrow f-stop will help more than anything.  This will take time to figure out but it makes all the difference in the world.

Another thing to focus on is lighting that creates depth across a persons face.  “Catch lights” in the eyes are a sure way to make a person look alive.  In fact, when photographers used to photograph the deceased, the catch lights were always removed to make sure the bodies look the way they should, lifeless.  Morbid but true.  In newborns, finding catch lights can be tricky because they sleep so much of the day and their eyes are not adjusted.  For head shots these lights are essential.

When taking portraits, there should be shadows/shading across the face and there should always be depth of field.  Even straight forward “portrait photography” can be made interesting will a little planning.

Successful photography should also be interesting.  You should want to know the people in the images OR you should want to have yourself photographed doing something similar.  Good photography will tell a story of the family that they love, great photography will relate to the population at large.

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