Tips for Capturing Baby’s First Smile
First smiles are delicious, but fleeting. Here’s the great thing though — if you miss one, there’s no need to worry. Your baby will smile again. Here are some easy tips to creating and capturing those first priceless grins, and making some great memories along the way.
Watch Them While They Sleep
Those very first smiles often come suddenly and sweetly while baby is sleeping. Just as in bird watching, capturing the moment takes a little patience. Make sure your camera settings are appropriate and get in position to shoot.
It Takes Two
Capturing one of your baby’s first smiles can require a team effort. It’s difficult to elicit a smile and manage your camera at the same time. So, assign duties. One parent can take care of cooing that smile out, and one can be in charge of clicking the shutter once it comes.
The Touch Response
My babies’ first real smiles were always brought on by touch — softly tickling a nose, lightly patting a bottom lip, or stroking their cheeks until they couldn’t resist curling their mouth into that sweet, soulful smile. Sometimes, you just have to work for a smile!
A Little Wind
A simple tip for a sweet baby smile? Try softly blowing on your baby’s face. That tiny rush of cool air can tickle just enough to curl up the corners of your baby’s mouth. Hey, sometimes we mamas get desperate for a good smile.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
When your baby is big enough, a fool-proof method of capturing a smile is using a mirror. Babies love to look at themselves, and a photo of your baby’s smiling reflection is a creative alternative to the traditional straight-on headshots. Try laying a mirror on the floor for playtime and capturing the shot from above.
So, it’s kind of cheating, but it works, and the smiles brought on by a little harmless tickling are such real, hearty picture-perfect grins. This shot was actually a self-portrait. I put the camera on Automatic mode, stretched my arm out and winged it. I love the way it captured the playful interaction between my daughter and me.
Don't Forget the Process
Focus on the journey, not just the destination. Some of the best photos aren’t necessarily the ones with the prize — that big, squinty-eyed smile. Those moments of trying are pretty precious too. While my daughter isn’t smiling in this photo, it’s become one of my favorites because of the emotion captured while I was trying to win that grin.
A Starry Far-Off Look
Remember, the perfect smile photo doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is looking directly at the camera. In fact, it’s more natural if they aren’t. Try having someone coax a smile standing a ways behind you (and to the right or left). These photos capture beautiful smiles that aren’t quite so posed.
The Object of Her Affection
Have you ever looked at an old picture of your smiling baby and wondered what it was that was causing that smile? Don’t forget to include whoever (or whatever) it is that won that smile. I love this picture because I know this look so well — my husband has a knack for getting our girls to smile for pictures, and I didn’t want to forget it.