Without wishing to put myself out of a job – most of my business is focused on photographing families and children – I want to pass along some tips to help you take beautiful photos of your kids.
Most parents have hundreds of photos of their kiddies stashed in photo albums and saved to computer hard drives. Unfortunately, most of these photos are hidden from public view because parents aren’t too happy with their own photography skills. I’ve compiled these ten easy tips to help you take photos that you’ll want to proudly display in your home.
1. Get down.
Well, to your child’s eye level at least. Your child will feel more involved, and you’ll get a much more emotive photograph.
2. Consider your photograph before you take it.
Don’t just point and shoot. Really look through the viewfinder. What do you actually want to include in your photograph? More often than not, your composition will be improved if you move slightly higher/lower/sideways to avoid any clutter or distracting details.
3. Look for interesting shapes.
You can use shapes to frame your children within your photograph. Doorways, windows, overhanging tree branches and children’s dens are all great for this.
4. Remember: Not every photograph needs to be a big smile at the camera.
Take some time to watch your children playing, and look for moments that capture your child’s interests – a photograph of them playing with their favourite toy will be priceless to you in a few years time.
5. Have fun.
Make sure your children feel that the camera being out will be fun. If children feel they’re being forced to sit still for a photo, you won’t capture much of their personality in the photograph. Choose activities that they enjoy, and make the photography a low-key part of the event.
If you’re hoping to get some shots with Granny et al, plan this for when your child’s had a sleep and something to eat. They’ll have much more patience for your project.
If you’re taking a close-up, focus on your child’s eyes.
8. Choose your settings.
Ok, time for some technical info. Choose a wide aperture (f2 or f2.8 would be great) for a child portrait, so the background is nice and soft. If you’re not sure about aperture, put your camera on AV mode. Aperture settings generally have an f before the number, rather than fractions (which are the shutter speed settings). Scroll through the aperture options and choose the smallest aperture (f number) available, and your camera will do the rest.
Like most things, your photos will improve with practice. Set yourself a reminder to have a go each month – this will give your children a good break between sessions, and let you spend some time looking through the last set of photos you took and thinking about how you could improve them.
10. Show the kids.
If your children see the gorgeous photos you took last time, it’ll give them a sense of pride and encourage them to engage even more next time you’re photographing them – they’ll want to play a part in making more great family photos.