How to take better baby pictures

Since our son Evan was born at the end of January, I’ve taken a lot of photos. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts on equipment and settings that have helped me take nicer pics of Evan and share them quickly.

Silent shutter

On my old Olympus EM-5, the shutter made a satisfyingly noisy kerr-thump sound. Not great when you’re trying to take a picture of the baby who has finally gone to sleep.

The silent shutter on the Olympus EM-5mk2 is (surprise) completely silent.

A silent shutter is also better when they’re a bit older and get distracted by the shiny camera making funny noises. In hindsight I maybe should have stuck to the black body when I upgraded to the newer EM-5 – our little magpie loves shiny objects and the silver camera is no exception.

So check your camera’s shutter settings and see if that’s an option you can turn on.

Get a fast prime

One babies get a bit older and start moving, they don’t stop: You’ll want to get really comfortable taking snaps with fast shutter speeds and wide apertures for low light. I’ve started relying on fast bursts to get the right shot, now that our 8-month old is shuffling all around the room.

I typically use the Olympus 17mm and 25mm primes most of the time – the 25mm is particularly great value for money and is a must-have lens for any micro-four-thirds photographer.

Take more video

Not really a photography tip, but it the first few months I didn’t take nearly enough videos. Babies don’t do an awful lot at first, but the tiny little movements and noises they make are really precious.

For video I usually prefer shooting with my iPhone: it offers 4k and usually looks a bit better than the Olympus output, at least to my eyes.

Get an SD card adapter for your phone

I originally thought I’d use the WiFi feature on my camera for this, but it’s just a bit too slow and annoying to switch between WiFi networks.

Shoutout to my colleague @maxsz for reminding me Apple make an SD card adapter that now works with the iPhone as well as iPad.

Now I import right onto my phone with the lightning camera adapter. It’s really quick and makes it easy to choose some shots and immediately share them. The import UI got a nice update in iOS 12 and is perfect for my use case. I import it all into my iCloud Photo Library on my phone and use the automatic “Imports” album to easily reference them.

Any edits I make I do right on my phone and will occasionally go back and make some edits to my favorite shots on my MacBook later.

Figure out a zero-effort sharing process

Decide how you’ll be sharing your photos and get the entire family on board. We use iCloud photo sharing and it works really well.

We set up one ongoing shared album for baby pics, all the grandparents are included and I always know where to add photos.

And that about covers it – anything I’ve missed? What are your favourite baby-photography tips?

Gear mentioned

Olympus OM-D E-M5 mkii

Olympus 25mm f1.8

Apple SD-Lightning card reader for iPhone & iPad