The Five Minute Photoshoot ::: for infants

Are you the mom that is fed up with long winded photographers taking all afternoon and evening to get fabulous photos of your kids? Sad that you only have a few great photos of your baby and wish you could have more? Are you the mom that is the complete opposite, spending hours trying to capture the memories from behind your lens? Wish it could be simpler?

It can be.

Instead of big, extended photo shoots, I do 5 minute shoots. ...and I do them often.

Whenever a child seems to be going through a growth spurt or there is a fun new phase in life I want to remember, I will set up a super quick 5 minute shoot. Quick enough that the kids don't get grumpy, but just enough time for me to capture 20-30 images with 3-5 "stunners". Want to learn my tricks?

Schedule and Infant Rotation Through Poses

1. Set up Shoot Before Baby Arrives -- This is vital!  Get everything completely ready and posed (props, backdrops, etc) before you even attempt to get baby uncomfortable.  You literally have 5 minutes or less with a newborn when you are working alone and cannot hold them AND shoot at the same time.  Don't waste those precious minutes on props.

2. Make Sure Baby is FED, WARM and CLEAN -- Makes sense, yes?  Comfy baby equals better photos.  After a nap, feed baby THEN change them so they are not sleepy for photos (or change THEN feed if you want baby to sleep, but goodness knows they will probably poop anyway, so I recommend feed THEN change.)

3. Start with Baby on Back -- Baby is happy on her back, so make sure you get a few good photos from straight down with baby looking up at you before you start experimenting to get a better shot.  This might be your only successful pose, so make sure you do it first!

4. Flip to Tummy Time -- Flip baby over on their tummy to try to get a few photos with them holding their head up.  Warning -- this just might not work.  Do not fret.  Allow baby to lay their head down, put their bum up in the air and get some good sleepy shots, detail shots and half grins this way.

5. Cuddle Baby in Lap -- Time for YOU to get in the picture!  Put your camera on self timer mode with at least 6-9 "clicks" or pictures that will snap.  Set baby in your lap, press the shutter and get ready to pose with baby.  This also gets baby happy again and if you are lucky, you can return baby to posing for a few more shots before she starts screaming at you to STOP TAKING PICTURES!

6. REPEAT -- If baby is happy, start over at step #1.  Baby on back, flip to tummy time, then cuddle.  It is a formula that WORKS!

TIPS for Baby

-- When baby is crying, get in detail shots like feet, hands and ears.

Prop Detail Shots too...

-- Quit while you are ahead. If you got a few pics and baby is screaming, quit.

TIPS for Posing and Adjusting Baby

-- Run a finger down the bridge of baby's nose to get a "sleeping" peaceful shot even when baby is awake.
-- Put your cheek next to baby's and quickly move away to get a faux "yawning" shot (baby will open their mouth to nurse).
-- Put a flat palm on baby's belly gently, then quickly pull your hand off belly to get baby to move their arms and legs.
-- To turn babies head, lightly rub your finger along the cheek on the side you would like them to look. Do not manually turn their head -- they will go right back.
-- In tummy time, push babies knees up under their bum for cuter angles.
-- In tummy time, put one arm straight out and allow baby to slightly rest their head on that arm. you will get less "forehead wrinkles" this way than when baby is focused on holding their head up fully.
-- If baby cannot hold their head up any longer, make sure you turn their head to the side so they can easily breathe.  This pose makes cute sleepy pictures (see tip #1 if baby refuses to close their eyes.
-- If baby will not open their eyes, change their diaper or give them a bath. Whistling, talking loudly to them, snapping -- none of that works on infants. At best you will get a scared baby, then a crying baby. #notgood

Favorite Infant Angles for the 5-Minute Shot

Vertical From Ground Straight On*
(Literally set your camera on the ground/bed/table vertically and SNAP)

Horizontal From Ground Baby Profile

Horizontal From Ground Baby Face Forward

Straight Down Vertical

Straight Down Horizontal

Tilted up on Self Timer

*Some photos are from this particular shoot, others are from OTHER 5 minute shoots.  Rest assured, I had no longer than 5 minutes for any of these!!

Edit Those Photos and Embrace the CROP!

You can do a lot in editing, but the most important thing I do for 5 minute photoshoots is crop.  You see, when I am doing one of these quickie shoots, I don't have time to sit behind the lens and compose photos like I do hen working with clients.  Rather, I have to pay very close attention to baby, baby's safety, baby's needs, my other child trying to climb my back and the bus that will be coming home in about...OH...5 minutes.  So I shoot from further back, allowing myself to crop in a little bit in editing where I have a bit more time.

Cropped Photo:


Notice how the photo immediately looks more editorial once cropped in to focus your eye.  In the bottom photo, it just kind of looks like a bunch of stuff on the ground.  The "lines" don't finish, they just kind of abruptly end in the grass and the blanket looks awkward.  Crop it all in and the lines makes diagonals from one side of the frame to the other, the blanket becomes backdrop and the shot now works.

Questions??  What is still confusing when setting up angles/poses??

Are these posts helpful?  Want more photo posts on older children??  families?  self-timer?

Ready for the next installment?

CLICK HERE for my 5 minute photoshoot for three older, crazy active children!
CLICK HERE for even more tips photographing those CRAZY kids!

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Want more DIY Photoshoot Ideas?  I have a bunch!

5 Minute Photoshoot for Infants

5 Minute Photoshoot for Babies - 6 WEEKS

5 Minute Photoshoot for Babies - 6 MONTHS

5 Minute Photoshoot for Christmas Cards

5 Minute Photoshoot with Older, Active Children

5 Minute Photoshoot with a Preschooler

How to Photograph Your Family with a Self Timer

How to Survive a Photoshoot with Kids

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I'd better bookmark this post! Great tips! I'll be following your instructions step by step. :)
Niki Park said…
Excellent post! I wish I had these tips when my child (now 6) was born:)I think I'll bookmark this too!
Amy Renea said…
Thanks Court and Niki!! I am thinking of doing older kids too Niki!!

...and Court I cannot WAIT to see your photos!!! CAN'T WAIT!
So cute, Amy!! WIsh I had all of these great tips when my little guys were babies. Pinning this! xo
Such fabulous tips....and what precious photos!! Makes me miss those days!
Amy Renea said…
Thanks for the pin Claire!!! @kristi -- I miss these days so much when they are gone -- I feel like I drink them in right now and photograph the bejeebers out of my poor babies :)