3 Sneaky Ways to Get Baby's First Smile on Camera

How to capture baby's first How to capture baby's first We've been watching and waiting for months, wondering when we'd get a glimpse of our baby's first smile. And then, when we least expected it, Judah surprised us with a beautiful big grin just last month! Capturing this important (and most adorable) of baby's firsts on camera, however, has proven a challenge.

If you've asked yourself, "When do babies smile?" the answer is a bit variable. Babies smile reflexively almost as soon as they're born; it's not until about 6 to 8 weeks that babies begin to smile socially. Since Judah was born early, we knew that his first smile might come a little bit later than other babies. We'd been watching him, waiting for that special moment, and we were rewarded with such a pleasant surprise right at week 10.

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Since then, Judah's been smiling like a champ. Our favorite moments are when we come into his room when he first wakes up and he looks up at us with the sweetest smile of the day, as if to say, "Hiya, Mom and Dad! Where ya been?"

Getting these moments on camera, however… that's been our newest parenting challenge as of late. And while we know we have a lifetime of smiles ahead from him, it's these first smiles we really want to capture if we can. That photo collage above? That's the product of weeks of perfect timing trying to get his beautiful baby smiles.

Here are our three tips on how we manage to get these special moments on camera.

1) Set your camera to burst mode…
The trick about baby smiles - or really, anything adorable that your baby happens to be doing at the moment - is that they're often fleeting. You barely have time to get out your camera and the moment might be gone at this age. One trick it to have your camera handy and make sure it's set to burst mode. Burst mode allows your camera to take a bunch of pictures at once in sequence. If you're like me and you're using a smartphone as your primary camera, there are a couple of apps that allow you to enable burst mode for your smartphone, such as SnappyCam and Burst Mode.

2) … And then switch to video mode.

Sometimes baby is just way too fast and you're better off trying to capture the whole moment on video rather than just a single frame. Switch your smartphone or digital camera over to video instead. If you really want to chop that magical moment down to just the smile, you can use Instagram or Vine to trim your video to feature that perfect, sweet baby smile!

3) Get perfect still image shots right from your videos.
You can't exactly send videos from your phone in a card to Grandma, so if you want to save and print just a single still image - that perfect shot of baby's smile - from a longer video, there's a fantastic app to do just that: StillShot. It really is as simple as selecting the video from your library on your phone, then scrolling through all the generated still images to pick the best one. You can save that image to your phone, email it, or even share it on various social networks. Best of all? You can save the image at full resolution, so you lose nothing in terms of photo quality, making it ideal for prints!

It's been so amazing to watch our little one grow, take in the world around him and start hitting all those special baby milestones. We feel even luckier that we're able to get all these early moments on camera when we can.

- By Keiko Zoll

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