Tips on photographing an older baby
Typically you want to come in during your baby's 5-7 day mark to guarantee the curly sleepy portraits that show the newborn size and age so well. And every so often an older baby will still sleep!
Here are a few details to note when photographing an older baby and by older I mean after the 2 week window where they may not be so curly and sleepy anymore but still are not old enough to offer much body control.
First, think of where you will place the baby for his or her first photos. It's best not to attempt to put a baby inside or on top of props if they are awake. Babies can flail their arms or kick their feet in the blink of an eye and they will topple out of a bowl or off a bookshelf faster than you can reach for them. Just play it safe! The center of a bed works great if you are working at home. A beanbag is convenient too for photographing the babies easily, most photographers now use a beanbag. Be sure that when you are taking the baby's photos you have the baby at the center of the beanbag, especially if you have them on their tummy. An older baby, while on the tummy, can do a froggy kick and lurch forward.... if he is in the center of the beanbag the baby is safest. Another thing to do that helps keep the baby cozy is burrow a little cubby in the middle of the beanbag when posing the baby on it's back, this can give the sensation he is being cradled and may keep him more comfy.
Second, when taking photos of a baby be sure you keep a good distance from the baby so you can get good sharp focus of all their features. You should look at your lens features and be sure you know the distance from your subject you can be for good focus. With some lenses you can not be any closer than 2 feet to your subject or you will have issues with blurry photos. If you are shooting in Aperture Priority or Manual mode I recommend not going below an aperture of 2.5 and keep a faster shutter if baby is moving at all--this ensure that the eyes, nose, and tiny lips are all in focus. An additional thought here when you are taking a photo of a baby and their feet and fingers are in the photo as well, try to place their hands and feet so they are on the same focal plane as their face....this can make the difference between a good portrait and an awesome portrait whether or not all those little features are actually in focus!
Third, have a "soother". A pacifier works great but at this age of an older baby some parents are not yet using a paci or soother, so then what? For a lot of these shots below we had Dad put his pink finger into the baby's mouth to help keep him soothed. Instruct Dad to gently rub the top of the baby's mouth (behind the upper gums) with the tip of his pinky. So his hand will need to be palm up when doing this. It will seem uncomfortable at first and Dad will also be unsure if he has never done this but once the baby starts to suck he will "get it". The only way this really works is if baby is truly not hungry and only wants to suck to be soothed. If the baby starts sucking and stops and continues to cry he is probably hungry so pass the tiny subject on to the parents and have them feed him.
All of these images featured in this post are what we typically can get even if your baby is a little older but has a full tummy. It just takes a bit more time and quite a bit of patience but that is what we are known for =)
Oh and yes we will include pets at the client's request, however, you must be comfortable with photographing pets as well as photographing babies for this to work.
Best Wishes to you in photographing these older babies.
Rita Lawrence specializes in maternity and newborn photography up to baby's first year. She offers convenient digital packages and informative photography workshops to help families improve their photography. She also now offers individual photography workshops for photographers interested in bettering their photography skills or improving their business model.