Have you ever seen an ugly baby? Think about it for a minute. Couldn't do it could you?
Just like kittens and puppies, babies are always cute. Wrinkly or chubby, hairy or hairless, they are always cute. And they are always the cutest to their parents. A newborn baby could be born with a tail and a trunk and the mom and dad would still think it was the cutest thing in the world, and you know what? They are right.
There is just something about a baby that makes you smile and get all warm and fuzzy inside. It's tough to be in a bad mood when a baby is around. Newborns don't really do much, and just like the rest of us they are generally happy unless they are hungry or need a diaper change. When it comes to photographing babies, those are the exact problems that make getting a good picture of them a challenge.
The first step is you have to like babies. That may sound odd, but babies can smell fear. I've always liked babies except for maybe my baby sisters, but I got over that. The main thing that works for me is to always let them know who's boss and it's sure not me. You have to get on baby time. Know the baby's schedule, and don't even think about taking pictures at nap time unless sleeping or screaming baby pictures are what you are trying to get.
After nap time, they will need fed and changed, not necessarily in that order. After that, it's picture time until it's time to eat or get changed again, which can vary from minutes to much longer.
First-time moms often come in with the idea that the baby will be photographed in four or five outfits and the baby often has other ideas. I've found that babies don't usually enjoy changing clothes over and over again. Getting a pleasing expression is tough with tiny babies because they really don't understand funny yet, but fortunately almost any face they make is cute. It always amazes me when the moms and dads start telling the newborn baby to smile. You always think your baby is the smartest ... but really?
So there it is, simple as that. It is so easy a baby could do it. Just remember my parenting advice, don't teach them to walk or say no and you will be OK.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. Kepner is president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia, a Master Photographer and a Certified Professional Photographer.)