Picture Perfect

OK, maybe that’s picture “imperfect.” We know it’s tough to get a great photo of your fast-growing baby. Follow these simple rules, and you’ll have an image worthy of your perfect baby.

There is nothing worse than the gnawing guilt that comes after failing to capture what seems to be a Kodak moment—like your kid’s first steps. You ran to grab the camera and started snapping photos before you even returned. Too bad you forgot to charge the batteries.

While a professional photographer is a good way to ensure you’ll have something to pin to your cubicle wall or send to family and friends in your holiday letter, you can’t rely on the pros to be there every step of the way. And surely, you want to capture every step, smile and spit up (OK, maybe not the latter).

For a new parent, a camera is a valuable piece of equipment. But your new Nikon’s handbook won’t tell you how to capture images of your wiggly, fickle baby. So, we sat down with one of our favorite Front Range baby photographers, Andrea Burolla, who takes incredible photos of youngsters, including her cherubic son Jacob.

Here, Burolla gives us tips and tricks for photo-happy parents.

First Rule of Taking Baby Photos—There Are No Rules: “The first word that comes to mind is frustrating. That’s the case with most parents. When taking photos with babies, Murphy’s Law applies. If something can go wrong, it will. As a parent, you have to let go of getting that perfect shot. You get stressed out and hyped up and then the baby feeds off of that. Just remember, it’s rewarding, but it’s a challenge.”

Warm It Up: “For newborns, make sure you create an overly warm, relaxed environment. They are so new to the world, you want to create a space that is consistent and warm. Timing is everything. A happy baby is a well-feed and well-rested baby. You want to wait until after the baby has had a nap and a snack. Not ever when they are sick.”

Helping Hands: “When they get to be 12 months, it’s all about trying to get them to sit still. You have to have patience. Have an assistant so you can stay behind the camera. It’s nice to have someone there to readjust their hat or wipe the spit up off their chin. More people on hand can be beneficial.”

Wardrobe Change: “Every parent has that one outfit. But there is a huge diaper blowout or spit up down the front. Make sure you have backup outfits in mind that you love as well.”

Lights, Camera, Action…Wait, No Lights: “I think the best thing a parent can learn is to turn off the flash. Turn it off and use natural lighting. Open up the house. Get as much natural light in as possible. Flashes can wash out the kids and they get scared of it, and it’ll work them up.”

Go Beyond the Basics: “The biggest mistake I see is that parents forget the background. You can have a great shot but there’s a glaring TV in the background or it’s really busy. Just be mindful of those things. And don’t be afraid to shoot horizontal and vertical photos; don’t be afraid to turn the camera.”

Educate Yourself: “Parents aren’t familiar with equipment. Get out the manual and tinker with it, so you don’t have fumbling moments with the equipment, and it’s ready to go when a moment happens.”

Get the Grin: “By the time they are 4 to 6 months, they have just learned to smile. And they respond to faces and noses. So, basically, act a fool. I have no shame. I do what I need to do. If that requires me wearing a funny hat and doing a jig, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Don’t Forget About the Details: “A good baby shot is not necessarily one where everything falls into place. Get the baby’s toes or the tummy. Those are just as cute. Don’t kill yourself to get a happy baby shot. So many of the shots I do that people like are not the ones where their baby is smiling. They are the ones where they are pensive or thinking or sassy or mad. Don’t be obsessed. It’s life. When you are a parent and you look back, you don’t think about the times when they smiled. You think about everything. The times when your baby acted human. You want to capture that slice of life.”

Want to know more about this awesome Colorado mom? Andrea Burolla is a North Metro-based photographer who specializes in portraits and weddings. You can see her work, including a ton of gorgeous family, baby and toddler portraits, at andreaburollaphotography.com.

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