DIY baby photos and editing tutorial

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A few weeks back I posted some of the photos I took of Sam at 3 months.  Several of you asked about my camera, settings, and how I set up the space I was shooting in.  I figured it might be easiest to do a post on the process and a tutorial on how I edited them.
First off let me just say that I am in no way, shape, or form a real photographer.  This is just what worked for me, a gal without Photoshop who wanted to snap some easy, cheap pics of her baby 🙂
Camera – Canon Rebel EOS
Nothing too fancy schmancy here.  No special lenses, just the 18-55mm lens it came with.
The Set Up
I kept the set up really easy.  Literally just a plain white sheet on the ground with one end draped over a chair back.  A Boppy under a sheepskin or soft blanket is perfect for propping up little ones.  I made sure I set everything up in front of a window with good light so there would be no need for a flash.
Camera Settings
Everything was shot in Manual Mode.  On this particular day there were clouds passing over the sun so my settings changed based on that, but for the most part shutter speed was between 1/80 and 1/160, and ISO was set between 100-400.
Editing Tutorial
I use PicMonkey to edit all of my photos.  PicMonkey is a free online photo editor, but you can pay a small fee to upgrade and have full access to all of their editing tools.  I think it’s totally worth it.  Some of the edits I use for this tutorial include the upgraded tools.
Here’s the photo directly out of the camera.
You can see around the white sheet backdrop, and it just doesn’t have any oomph.
Below are the steps I used to edit several of the photos I took that day.
STEP ONE:  Upload your photo to PicMonkey.  Under Basic Edits (molecule icon), go into Exposure and hit the Auto Adjust button.
STEP TWO:  To smooth out the backdrop, go under Touch Ups (lipstick icon), and go into Airbrush.  Click on the Strong option and set the fade to 0%.  Run the brush over your white background to smooth out the wrinkles on the sheet.
STEP THREE:  If need be, go back into Basic Edits and crop your image.  I love up close and personal baby shots.
STEP FOUR:  For filling in any background that may be peeking out, go into Effects (beaker icon) and click on Draw.  Set brush hardness to 0% and click on the color selector to choose a portion of your backdrop.  Fill in any unwanted areas.

STEP FIVE:  To brighten eyes, go into Touch Up and click on Eye Brighten.  Use the tool to fill in the eyes.  I usually fade the brightening in 70-75% so they don’t look too overdone.

STEP SIX:  I wanted these photos to feel really light and airy.  If your photo is still feeling a little dark, go back into Basic Edits and increase brightness in Exposure.


STEP SEVEN:  Go into Effects.  One of my favorite effects that I added to the photos was their Tranquil effect.  I faded it in about 50%.  It’s so soft and pretty.  And, that’s it!
Some of my other favorite effects are layering a few together.  Like now going into Black and White and then fading the color in very softly.
Take a lot of photos.  I mean, A LOT.  I took around 200 photos that day.  I knew a huge number of them wouldn’t come out and I wanted to increase my chances of having several winners.  They’re going to be photo bombed by a dog here and there, they will almost always start crying, and some just won’t turn out like you thought they would.
Do it at a time of the day where they are in a good mood.  You know, for the most part 😉  For us it is the first part of the day after we’ve had our nap and have milk in our belly.
Keep it simple.  Aside from doing a few photos of him in his froggy bath towel, I didn’t use any props.  Just baby on a soft fuzzy.  It was just me taking the photos and I didn’t want to be fussing with hats or baskets, hoping I could get back to the camera in time to get a good shot.

UPDATED: Don’t automatically assume the photo didn’t turn out.  I forgot to mention this when I hit publish, but I think it’s important.  At first glance I thought this photo wasn’t going to work.  Go ahead and play around with editing on some that you’re not sure of.  You might be surprised!

So, that’s it folks!  Anyone going to be busting out their camera today??


I’ll be linking up to these fab parties!



  1. Katherine Sanneman Avatar

    Great tips! I fumble around in Picmonkey and never know which camera settings to use! You rock!

  2. Tiffany Avatar

    This is awesome. I'm TERRIBLE at taking pictures and even worse at editing. I'm going to bookmark this!

  3. wherelovemeetslife Avatar

    Thanks so much for all the info!! I had ideas on how to do this, but I love to hear what has worked for others and see how it actually turns out. I will be editing pics this weekend for sure!! And maybe I will be able to get in a photoshoot??? 😉

  4. Mindy Avatar


  5. Talitha Richardson Avatar

    lol, LOVE the dog photobombing 🙂 Hilarious!

  6. Jamie -Better With Age Avatar

    Wow amazing! Thanks for the tips. Love the photobombs too 😉 You should link this up to our party, Give Me The Goods Monday! {1 party, 5 blogs}
    Jamie @

  7. Maggie Avatar

    these are great tips! thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Andrea Reed Avatar

    Thanks for sharing! I featured your post on my blog today! Be sure to check it out:

  9. Cortney Avatar

    I love, love, love this post! thanks for sharing..and yes, I will be busting out my camera tomorrow!

    I'm also going to share this on my facebook page (organically opulent) b/c I loved it so much!

    [email protected]

  10. Chelsea @ Making Home Base Avatar

    great info! I'm a mom-tographer too! Love taking my own pictures of my babe!!!

  11. the cul-de-sac Avatar

    Visiting you from Homemaker on a Dime. Very useful tips! Thanks!

  12. Jennifer Mead Avatar

    Great tips! I use Picmonkey for all of my photo editing as well and I think it's amazing what we can really do with them for FREE! A lot of people and photographers I know use Photoshop, but I feel that many of the photos I edit can come out just as good by using Picmonkey….especially for family photos I am taking or blog projects.

    I love your tutorial and it's a great reminder of all that Picmonkey has to offer!

  13. Marcy Knopf Avatar

    I have twins due in June and this is EXACTLY what I've been searching for ~ thank you so much for sharing at the new Ready Set Pin party! PINNED! Marcy @ day2day SuperMom

  14. Diana Miller Avatar

    What a great tutorial. 🙂 I just got a Canon Rebel so I'm digging any kind of post that gives settings, etc. I've never used Pic Monkey but now I want to try! 🙂

  15. Virginia Avatar

    These are beautiful shots! Great tutorial, I keep considering getting the picmonkey upgrade. I think it is worth it!

  16. Kimberli B. Avatar

    Love these pictures! I invite you to join me tonight! 8:30 p.m. Mountain time for the Share it With Us Saturday link party. Come Share some of your new posts at the party, link up all weekend long. I would love to have you!

  17. raja listrik Avatar

    thanks for tutorial… find me on

  18. Towab Muhammad Yusuf Avatar

    Your step by step tutorial processing almost very good

  19. Rustam Ali Avatar

    Such a beautiful work done by the editor. thanks for sharing this tips.
    Clipping Creations India | ecommerce image editing service

  20. Anzelina veronica Avatar

    Editor has done very good job here all the images are really good occupied its great and excellent.
    clipping path
    remove white background

  21. adroitclipping Avatar

    really the cute baby photo, thanks for sharing the nice photo editing tips, the editor done well in auto expose

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Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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