Let’s face it. We all want to take great pictures of our kids. Those pictures are documenting some very precious memories! But those little cutie pies are just so FAST! Don't get frustrated. There are some ways to take great pictures of your kids, and I’m here to help. Whether you are taking shots of a backyard romp through the sprinkler or of that sweet sleeping angel, here are ten tips to help you get great shots.1. Capture the action.
Kids are always on the go. Even when they’re sitting still, it seems, their little bodies are just always moving. Right? To freeze their constant motion, be sure that they are in a well-lit area. Try to anticipate your kids’ next moves and have your camera aimed and ready. With a phone camera or a point and shoot, it’s good to know that there is a brief delay between pressing the shutter and the picture actually being taken. To compensate, it’s a good idea to remember to hold the camera steady for a second after pressing the shutter. Also, check your settings! Some cameras have a “sports mode” or a “kids and pets mode” (haha). If you select one of these modes, your camera will automatically pick a fast shutter speed. (Just remember that these modes won’t be very helpful in dim light.)2. Do-overs are okay!
How many times have you missed the perfect shot and just wished you could turn back time? If your camera wasn’t at the ready at the exact right moment, never fear! Ask your kids to show you again! If they don’t want to cooperate, a little reverse psychology usually works for me (“Don’t you dare hug your sister again! Don’t you do it!...”). Are you trying to capture a perfectly posed portrait of a smiling cherubic face? What’s that? Your little angel didn't get the memo and has instead decided that it's the perfect moment to perfect his raspberries? Don’t get frustrated. Take the picture anyway and try again later. You’ll appreciate the outtake someday. I promise.3. Find the perfect light.
If you are inside, be sure to get those kids in front of a big window, and open up those curtains. The more natural light you can get into the room, the better. For outside photographs, your best bet is to find a shaded area for taking pictures. This reduces squintiness and makes the light more even.4. Fill the frame.
As you are setting up your photograph, pay attention to the entire image. If you are taking a close-up, move yourself closer so your little one’s face or body is the only thing in the image. If you are taking a shot that includes scenery, be sure to move close enough so that the setting is apparent, but none of that “extra stuff” is cluttering up the shot. Notice things like parked cars, garbage cans, or piles of laundry, and try to avoid including them in the picture.5. Focus on the eyes.
The expression “the eyes are the window to the soul” is so true. They are what bring life to a portrait. When you are taking a picture of your kiddo’s sweet little face, be sure they are facing the light and that their eyes are well lit.6. Get down on their level.
To photograph a child, one must become a child. Or something like that. Rather than always shooting from above, kneel or even lay down. Check out the scene from your kids’ points of view. From a lower angle, your photos will show the world as they see it. Plus, they will be able to look straight into the camera rather than having to look up, which results in a more natural pose.
7. Don’t forget the details. The tiny toes, the missing front teeth, the fingerpainted masterpiece. Those details are the quickest to be forgotten, and so they are the most important to be captured. And really, they tell the story of childhood. So don't forget to photograph all of those little things that make you say "awwww." You know what? I say try to photograph those little things that might make you say "grrrr," too. The unrolled roll of toilet paper, the chocolate handprint on the wall, the self-administered haircut. You'll want to remember the details. All of 'em. 8. Keep your camera handy…
For capturing memories, having a camera handy is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have. Most of my own family snapshots are taken on my IPhone because, frankly, I don’t always want to lug around a bulky DSLR. The important thing is that the camera was there and ready to go. Have you ever heard this: the best camera is the one that's with you. It's so true. If you make it a habit to always have a camera with you, even your cell phone, there will never be a missed shot.
9. … but put it down sometimes.
Once the memory is captured, my most important advice is to put the camera down so you can enjoy the moment, too. Don’t forget that your presence is so much more important to your little ones than the snapshot. Plus, if you're stressing because you just aren't getting the shot you want, the kids are going to stress, too. Putting down the camera removes that pressure. Trust me. I've been there. And sometimes I need to remind myself to stop and savor the moment. Because it will be gone in a flash.10. Have fun! Photographing your children should not become a stressful event. It should be a way of preserving the happiness of the moment so please don’t feel pressured to take a perfect picture. Even a dark, blurry, utterly imperfect shot can send a heart soaring because of the memory that it captured. So take some deep breaths and have fun with it. When you have fun, your kids will have fun, too. And that is the most important thing. I hope you feel empowered to use a few (or all!) of these tips to keep on taking great photos of your kids. To receive more articles like this one, sign up for my monthly newsletter. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram, too! For information about portrait sessions, contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you!