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Advances in digital image-making technology have left those reliable old film cameras on the endangered species list.

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Advances in digital image-making technology have left those reliable old film cameras on the endangered species list—though many of us remain nostalgic for their versatility.

But it is possible to get similar qualities of light and focus with digitals. Here's how:

Start with the right equipment: When choosing a digital camera, consider a single-lens-reflex model, or SLR. Like high-quality film cameras, SLRs let you change lenses for portraits, and they typically don't suffer from the shutter lag common among point-and-shoots. Views on megapixels vary, but experts generally say that 6 or 7 is plenty.

Use natural light: Built-in flashes can overpower the fine detail in your baby's skin, resulting in a washed-out look. And red-eye reduction features don't always give natural-looking results. What to do? Indoors, turn off the flash and move near the soft light of a window or lamp. Outdoors, photograph your baby in the warmth of early morning or the glow of late afternoon.

Get close: Really close--that's the best way to capture your baby's delicate features.

Go colorless: For a classic look, try your camera's black-and-white mode, or use the "desaturate" option in photo-editing software.

Take tons of pictures: With no film to pay for, why not? You can delete shots you don't like.

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