As a mom we wear a lot of hats. Chauffeur, coach, cheerleader, house keeper, referee, teacher, counselor, nurses, chef, and the list goes on for miles. But one very important role is the photojournalist. It is our job to capture those real, fleeting moments in our kids lives that we and they will want to remember forever.
Therefore, I'm going to give you 12 tips on how to capture those magical little moments on your own.
1.) I like to Move it, Move it. Get moving. Anytime you’re a photographing your kiddos, especially toddlers, you should give up on the idea of standing or sitting still. Let them lead, move around, and if you must get a particular pose, use a game like Simon says or freeze to manipulate them to cooperate. Check out the Gallery below for examples.
2.) Look for light. Without light, you don’t have a picture. When you are shooting a picture of sweet little Junior inside, utilize window light as much as possible. Natural light is always more flattering than artificial light. If you are shooting outside on a bright sunny day, position your subject with the sun a bit behind your kid or find shade from a tree or a building to avoid harsh shadows and squinting eyes.
3.) Nix the flash. Kind of following up with the last tip. Unless this is a moment that is never going to happen again (like your child’s baptism, crossing the stage at graduation, etc.) then do not use the flash. Going without the flash will allow you to have softer image. Natural light eliminates harsh shadows (unlike a flash). Instead look for natural light. (see the above tip for details). In the below picture the couple sitting on the steps were in a dark building, after realizing that the flash was causing harsh shadows and weird looking, I moved them to where the window was casting light on their faces and even though we lost the background of the stairs, the picture is WAY better because of the lighting. Check out these too examples. The first one is with the flash, the second one is without!
4.) Clear the clutter. Kids make messes. Therefore, Kids = Clutter. While it is often easier to just snap what you see, if you take a quick minute to clear the clutter out of the surroundings of your subject, people will be able to focus more on your subject.
5.) Don’t force it. If picture time is a miserable experience for your kiddos, put the camera aside and play with them first. Tickle, chase, jump, do whatever it is that engages your child and gets them smiling and laughing. Then pick up your camera and snap away. Those authentic smiles are the faces you want to remember anyway!
6.) Get on their level. Lay on the ground and get on the same level as your kids. Especially when photographing a baby or toddler. They are on the ground a lot so you need to get down there with them and photograph on their level.
7.) Cool angles. I love photographing kids from above. It puts a beautiful sparkle in their eye.
8.) The rule of thirds. The rule of thirds divides a photo horizontally and vertically into thirds making 9 equal parts and says that an image is most pleasing to the eye when your subject lies at an intersection of two segments (therefore, not in the direct middle of an image).
9.) Loose the Cheese. Sometimes the best photos of your children are the ones where they aren’t even looking at the camera. Catch them dancing, or watching tv with their sibling with their arms around each other, or ask them a question and capture them while they are looking away and thinking. Ask them about school, teachers, their best friend, their favorite super hero. Anything works! After a minute or two they will get lost in talking and you will get lots of genuine expressions!
10.) Timing is everything. Especially with little ones. Trying to get some good photographs before nap or bedtime may not be the greatest idea. Try to wait until after they are fed and rested and you will get much better results.
11.) Get their sillies out. Sometimes the best way to get kids to cooperate for a photo session is to let them get all of their sillies out in front of the camera (and make sure you actually take the pictures because they will want to see them). Indulge them, take a few their way and then take a few your way.
12.) Get close, and then get even closer. Unless the surroundings are part of the story you are trying to tell with your photograph, there is no need for your child to only occupy 20% of the frame. Fill the frame with your subject. Try not to use zoom (if possible) otherwise you will lose some of the quality. Especially if you are shooting with an iphone.
Thanks for tuning in to my blog! Hopefully this post will help you to capture ever better pictures of your littles!