Babies change and grow so much, especially in their first year. To catch all those wonderful moments -- the big firsts (first solids, first tooth, first step) and daily events (naps, baths, crawling practice) -- we asked professional photographers like Jock McDonald, famous for his print work with Baby Gap and Old Navy, for their advice. Here's what these pros, themselves parents or grandparents, had to say:
You don't need expensive gear to take great pictures. All that's required is a name-brand 35-millimeter point-and-shoot equipped with a zoom lens and a flash. Digital cameras will allow you to shoot lots of photos without wasting film, but may not work well with babies. Photographers say digicams usually have a split-second delay when taking pictures, which, when it comes to infants, could spell the difference between a smiling subject and a crying one.
Don't be photo-stingy
To nab that perfect snapshot, shoot loads of film. Professionals say they take tons of pictures and spend hours photographing their subjects to capture just one frame that makes the grade. Instead of taking just three shots of your child's first morning at daycare, for example, consider burning through an entire roll. You'll spend a little more on film and developing, but you'll be glad you did.
Schedule photo sessions wisely
A happy subject makes for better pictures. Consider the times of day when she's likely to be well-rested and just fed. And don't forget to factor in wait-time if you plan on bringing her to a photo session where they don't schedule appointments.
Babies have such expressive faces, and capturing those wide-mouthed smiles and saucer eyes is your main mission. So although it's nice to get a shot of the baby next to the gigantic blow-up bear the neighbors gave her, for the best pictures, zoom in or move up close so only the face is in focus in your camera's viewfinder.
Seize the day
When it comes to snapping great pictures of babies, look to paparazzis for advice. Their cameras are always at the ready, and your should be, too. Keep a loaded camera handy at home and take it with you when you go out for a walk or to run errands. Taking pictures of your child enjoying everyday things, like a trip to the grocery store, the swing at the park, or her nighttime bath are photos you'll treasure in years to come.