Photo Tips

First Year: Capturing Baby with Her Unexpected Favorite

Jennifer Tacbas

Jen is back with another First Year post, and this one is ABSOLUTELY DARLING!!!  But I wanted to jump in real quick and thank you from the bottom of my heart for ALL your support since my Dream Linking post.  Your comments, emails, offers to connect us with people you know…Brian and I are overwhelmed and so thankful for all of YOU!  Thank you so much for believing that this dream is not to big, and it’s worth going for–regardless of the outcome!  I’ll be updating you weekly on how the process goes with more fun stuff to come!  But without another moment of delay, get ready to smile wide with today’s First Year post!


Who knew that after all the money we spent on great toys for Logan, her favorite part would become the tag!  Stuffed animals, plush rattles, soft books…if it has a tag, Logan’s a happy baby!


This tag fascination began a few weeks ago and appears to be here to stay for a while, so I knew I had to document this current favorite.  I consulted Me Ra’s book, Your Baby in Pictures, to see what tips she recommended for capturing this milestone, and I followed her photo recipe called The Unexpected Favorite Toy.  Here’s what I did…


Simplify, simplify, simplify!  From my choice in setting (our solid brown couch) to what I chose for Logan to wear (a plain white onesie), keeping the elements as simple as can be in this setup allowed the focus to be on the toy’s tag, as well as Logan’s sweet face as she munched away on it.  I planned this session for mid-morning after Logan’s first nap when she would be happy and ready to play; it is also when our living room is usually full of natural light.

Camera Settings

I set my DSLR to Aperture Priority mode and chose f/2.0.  On this morning, the sun was hiding behind the clouds, so I had to bump up my ISO to 1000 because I was not using my flash.  My shutter speed was at 1/200 sec. (200), which was perfect to freeze the action of a happy Logan playing with her toy. 

Compose & Capture

The first shot I wanted to capture was a closeup of Logan sucking away on her toy’s tag, and I felt a horizontal format would best tell the story.  I gave her the toy, sat back and watched the fun unfold as Logan immediately found the tag, examined it, and put it in her mouth. I focused on Logan’s eyes, recomposed the shot, and captured this image!  Can you feel her concentration and hear her slurping away?


Now that I had captured the original image I had envisioned, I decided it was time to experiment and capture a variety of images of Logan hard at play!  In this photo, I wanted to capture her in action and without her looking at the camera.  I stood above her, shot down at an angle, and focused on her fingers holding the tag.  I know Logan is content by the way she touches her toes together. Isn’t that just the cutest?!


How about a detail shot of the toy block and tag while she’s examining them?


You can’t see the tag in this one but I love that it shows how happy she is!  I off-centered her in the frame to add a little interest to the composition.


Whew! Nibbling on this tag sure takes a lot of energy. Better get comfy!


Now it’s your turn!  Try out the photo recipe for yourself and post your favorite image to Me Ra’s Facebook page.  We can’t wait to see what you capture!
Meet me here next Monday when I share with you all the fun new things my little 8-month-old has been doing and learning!  She amazes me every day!

First Year Cheers!



  1. Abbey says:

    Love the baby posts..I always look forward to them.
    As the grandmother with a granddaughter the same age, and who takes the pictures, it gives me great ideas

  2. Jennifer Tacbas says:

    Abbey, thank you for reading along! I am *so* glad my posts are inspiring you to photograph your granddaughter! If you ever feel like sharing, I’d love to see some of the moments you’ve captured. Feel free to post them to Me Ra’s Facebook page anytime! xo