They’ll become the most treasured photos you ever take, but your baby snaps aren’t doing your bundle of joy justice.
“You want to capture their first smile, tooth and steps,“ says Rickmansworth author Helen Webb, “but you’re also trying to get your head around feeding, nappies and teething.“
Help is here in the form of a straight-talking guide book Shoot The Baby, which provides simple advice for getting the most from your photos.
Mum-of-one Helen, who describes herself as a ’keen hobbyist’, was inspired to write the book when her friends complained about the lack of non-technical guides available.
“They found books were aimed at professionals,“ explains the 45-year-old. “They didn’t understand things like apertures and depth of field – it’s overwhelming, especially when your mind is mushy anyway.“
Full of colourful pictures and handy hints, the book is ideal for new parents and grandparents.
So why is taking baby photographs so difficult?
“They’re easier than four-year-olds who put on a plastic grin whenever they see a camera. While teens can be shy and reluctant.
“Babies are naturally themselves and it’s easy to make them smile. But they move and change fast. It’s all about being prepared and thinking a bit in advance.“
Shoot The Baby is available now from Amazon and at www.shootthebaby.co.uk, RRP £12.99.
The book’s launch takes place on June 11 from 8.30am to 9.30am at Chorleywood Bookshop, New Parade.
Helen shares her top ten tips on taking great baby photos:
1.De-clutter your shots – a camera won't filter out irrelevant detail as your brain does. Watch out especially for washing, dirty plates or anything behind your baby's head. Move yourself, the baby or the mess until your shot is clutter-free.
2.Take a step closer – or crop the shot later. Remember, there's no pavement in the Mona Lisa. As a simple rule, try to fill two thirds of the shot with your subject.
3.Bin most of your pictures – to improve your photography instantly, simply delete the bad ones! No professional will show you everything they took.
4.Know your camera – those buttons are there for a reason. Read the manual, then venture beyond the fully automatic (usually green) setting. For each shot, take one on fully automatic and one with the new setting, then spot the difference.
5.Personality shots – all babies smile and all smiling babies are gorgeous. But don't forget to capture the serious, sad, cross and tired looks - to help you remember all those quirky little mannerisms.
6.Consider the light – in a photo this is as important as the subject. Look for the direction and quality of your light source and use natural light (not flash) whenever possible.
7.Landscape or portrait – don't be afraid to turn the camera around into the upright (portrait) position. It's surprisingly good for ... portraits.
8.Experiment – take shots from different angles (above, below, at a level), at different times of day and on different settings. Try to remember or record what you did when, so you can repeat the shots you like.
9.Have a laugh – relax and your baby will too. Say something stupid or unexpected. Blow a raspberry. Encourage silly behaviour. Smile a lot - it's infectious.
10.Print or upload your photos – is your computer a photo graveyard? Share your best shots with family and friends by uploading or printing your pictures. There are many great photo sharing sites but remember that some people still love the sort that go in a frame on top of the TV.