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We often see beautiful baby photo’s taken at home that when combined with a border, make fantastic and professional looking photo cards.  However we also get asked about how to take a good photo of a young baby, a job that isn’t an easy one at the best of times.  To help you out, we’ve put together the following hints and tips on how to take a fantastic, professional baby photo at home.

It’s easy to set up a simple home-made photo studio right in your house, and doing a ‘photo shoot’ for your baby thank you or birth announcement cards. 

Set up your camera

-  Turn the date stamp OFF - dates can ruin a great photo
-  Set the camera to the highest resolution, so images are a good quality for printing. We recommend
   using images at least 500 kb in size
-  Make sure the battery is fully charged
-  Start with a clear memory stick so you can take plenty of photos!

Set up your photo studio

-  Do it in the day time so you have plenty of natural light, open your curtains, use non-florescent lights
   if necessary (lamps)
-  Place a solid coloured sheet or blanket on the floor (white is great)
-  If your floor is hard, put an additional soft blanket on the floor first, then place your solid coloured
   blanket on top so the baby is comfortable
-  Look through your camera at the blanket, make sure you can't see furniture, toys or any clutter
   that may be seen in a photo

Get your baby ready

-  First and foremost, choose an appropriate time for the baby photo shoot: babies tend to be in a
   better mood after a feeding or nap
-  Plain clothes make the best choice for photos, patterns and strong colours can be distracting.
   Straight out of a bath with a white towel can be a nice simple option
-  Make sure your babies face is clean, doesn't have quite the same look seeing a beautiful baby
   with a boogie!
-  If your baby gets fussy, take a break and try again in a few hours

Take the pictures!

-  Get above the baby and point your camera downwards
-  Make sure the only things you can see in the shot are the baby and the blanket, avoid
   cluttering the photo with lots of stuff (although a favourite toy can be nice)
-  Take lots of pictures - that way you can keep the great one's and delete the others


DO !

Place your baby on a plain background
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Avoid patterns and backgrounds that can take away from your babies sweet face

Make sure your plain background covers all the baby

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Don't let part of your baby overlap the background


Ensure there is plenty of room around your baby for a full body photo

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Don't cut off important features of your baby in the photo!


Watch your lighting, refer above for lighting tips


Using a dark photo will result in a dark image on your cards


Thank You Rules & Etiquette

The rules on saying thank you for gifts and similar have - like many matters of etiquette - relaxed a bit over the years, and a handwritten note such as this is becoming a rare beast.

When I was a child, my post-Christmas nightmare was to be seated at the kitchen table laboriously writing letters to various aunts and grand parents, thanking them for the hand cream, boxes of handkerchiefs, bath salts, floral notepaper and bling that had come my way.

 My brother and I did this year in, year out. The exercise was conducted under the watchful eye of our mother. Each letter was inspected for spelling and neatness before mailing. In hindsight, it was probably good training.

So, as a stickler for thank yous in some form or other, here is my 21st century take on what works:

■ Handwritten notes are still the best for wedding gifts, graduations, engagements, the arrival of a new baby, the one-off situations where presents have been chosen and delivered with great care. They deserve personal acknowledgement within a few weeks of the event. Don't leave it too long or you'll never get around to it. There is a trend towards using printed cards for wedding and baby gifts; if you do this, just add a couple of personal lines and it will work nicely. Sending a text is not suitable, and the etiquette jury is out on an e-card.

■ Birthday present: OK, this gift has been chosen with care, too, but it comes around every year.  I think a phone call or email is OK here. I've got one friend - bless her heart - who continues to send beautifully handwritten thank yous for birthday gifts.

■ Dinner invitation: It's a privilege to be invited to dine at a friend's home. It calls for acknowledgement afterwards, usually a phonecall or email, within a week of attending. (If you leave it too long, you'll never get around to it.)Again, don't text: It looks cheap after all the trouble your friend has taken to wine and dine you.

■ Christmas:Gift-giving here has narrowed over the years to immediate family, maybe a few close friends. An immediate verbal thank you to those on hand at the unwrapping is fine; phone calls or emails to others. Coach little kids to do this, too.

I don't think my mother would approve of the more relaxed Christmas thing, but then, in her day, there was no email, and long-distance phone calls were made only in emergencies.
Things change. Like thank you notes.