Choosing Photo Backdrops for Baby Portraits

Do-It-Yourself Home Photo Studio

Mother sitting on sofa photographing baby boy
Getty Images/Jessica Peterson

Everyone loves baby photos and it is fun to capture portraits of your little ones as they grow. It is easy to create a photo studio at home and take fun and adorable portraits of your baby whenever you like.

Why You Should Take Your Own Baby Portraits

Professional baby photos can be very expensive, even if you get pictures taken at a department store studio. Getting the right shot can also be time consuming, since babies aren't known for their predictability.

Setting up your own home photo studio to take portraits of your little one is a great way to save time and money. Once it is set up you can wait until your baby is in one of their happy moods, get them into position and snap away!

There is no need to set up an appointment and the baby will be more comfortable at home. Plus, with mommy or daddy behind the camera, they will have natural expressions that only you can coax out of them.

The Camera

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have a top-of-the-line digital SLR camera to capture great baby portraits. You can get sweet baby photos with a simple point and shoot camera. Even the lower-end digital cameras available today have a resolution of 10 megapixels, which is enough to print a quality 8x10 portrait.

Keep a few basic tips in mind and soon you will be set up for capturing a great shot.

Selecting Photo Backdrops

A backdrop is a key part of setting up a home photo studio because it provides the scene for your shots.

Keep It Simple!

The best backdrops for baby photos are simple. Choose a background that has enough color and texture to add interest to the photo, but isn't so busy that it overwhelms your little bundle of joy.

If you are trying to do a themed portrait, it is better to use props to reinforce the theme instead of choosing a distracting background.

For instance, a picture of your baby in a Santa hat is festive enough for your Christmas card. A large display of snowmen in the background would be too distracting and make your baby look tiny in comparison.

Consider These Photo Backdrops:

  • Black velvet fabric
  • White fuzzy blanket
  • Satin sheet in a soft pastel color
  • Knitted or crocheted blankets with interesting textures
  • Sheer voile curtains

Color Choice

When choosing photo backdrops for baby portraits, remember that it is best to stick with neutral colors. Soft colors that coordinate with the baby's outfit are a good choice as well.

It is also a good idea to consider how formal you want the portrait to look. For example, black velvet photo studio backdrops tend to produce very formal looking shots. In comparison, a fuzzy blanket gives your baby photo a much more relaxed feel.

Finding the Backdrop

Look around your home to see what types of materials you might have available to use as a backdrop for your baby portraits. If you can't find anything suitable, head to a craft store to see what catches your eye in the fabric department.

Another good source for cheap photo backdrops is the local thrift shop or consignment store. These stores are likely to have a large selection of sheets, blankets and drapery for just a few dollars.

Remember that size is not a big issue because your baby is small. For infants, something the size of a baby blanket will do. Toddlers could use a backdrop the size of a bed sheet.

Setting Up Your Home Photo Studio

Now that you have a backdrop, it is time to set up your home photo studio. Here are a few tips that will help.

  • Make sure no mirrors or windows will create unwanted reflections in your baby portraits.
  • Place a fabric backdrop far enough away from your baby so wrinkles and other imperfections won't be visible in the final shot. Use an iron or steamer to remove any wrinkles or fluff the fabric up in the drier.
  • Clothespins or safety pins work well for hanging photo shoot backdrops.
  • If your baby is too young to sit up on his own, cover the car seat or bouncy seat with fabric. Use the zoom lens on your camera to take a close-up portrait.
  • To photograph your baby with his siblings or other family members, drape the fabric over your couch. Use throw pillows to create spaces for positioning.

Continue Reading