So you have a fancy new camera and you are ready to take pictures of your own kids but wait, it is definitely not as easy as you thought right? Although these tips won’t make you a professional, they are very useful and will help you take better photographs. Here are some useful tips that I’ve learned throughout the years of shooting professionally:
Find the light! The best way to get a natural, clean look of your kids is to keep the light as natural as possible. If you can, get outdoors to avoid using a flash or if you must stay indoors, find the room with the biggest window and most natural light coming in. Shooting in the early morning or late evening will help eliminate the casting of harsh shadows on the faces of your precious ones and gives you a softer light to work with. Keep the sun to your back and avoid shooting with the sun on their face. Don’t be afraid of a cloudy day. Believe it or not, clouds are the professional photographer’s best friend as the clouds offer soft, diffused light throughout the day.
Location! Deciding on a location really makes a world of difference with your photographs. Be conscious of your background. Be sure to avoid other people that can easily wander into your shot or objects such as cars, trash cans, picnic tables, litter, etc. Before you snap the shutter, take a look through your camera lens and assess the scene. If the coast is clear, snap away. Taking a minute to do this before you begin shooting will be worth it in the end. And don’t be afraid to use flower beds or bushes as your location! I frequently toss kids into a bush (lol!) to get the shot!
Get Low As a parent, we are used to standing tall above our kids most of the day with them looking up at us. As a photographer, the opposite is true. The best angle or level to shoot at is at your child’s eye level. This means you will need to crouch, kneel, lie down or pull up a stool to get the shot. All of the aches and pains afterwards will be totally worth it when you realize what you can capture when you get down to their level. But be sure to refrain from shooting “up the nose”.
Get close! There is nothing more precious than capturing the little rolls of your newborn baby, the beautiful long eyelashes of your little girl or the chubby hands of your busy boy. Getting close-ups of your kids will give you a more powerful look rather than taking every photo from head to toe.
Patience! If there is one thing I have learned time after time is that waiting for your shot is so much easier than trying to force it when it comes to kids. Take your time and avoid trying to get forced smiles by asking them to say, “Cheese”. Trust me, it doesn’t work! Let them play, jump around, sit and color and when the time is right, call their name and when they look at you, snap the shutter. Catching them in their natural environment will be your best bet of getting a natural reaction.
Perspective! We are quick to focus solely on our kids’ faces or the front of their bodies when really if we take a minute to stand behind or to the side of them, we can capture a whole new world that is often overlooked. Capturing your child from behind make for a more dramatic feel. Snapping a photo of their little hands playing with Legos or their feet splashing in the water really captures the essence of a child’s world. Sure they look adorable in that super cute outfit you spend a ton of money on but in the long run you will want to remember more than just what they wore. You will want a memory of what they were as a child not what they wore.
Have fun! Although taking photos of our own kids can be stressful, step back and leave your expectations at the door. Have fun! Enjoy the moment. Be silly. Play. After all, you really are capturing memories that will last a lifetime and then some. You will be happy you did.
Bri Mason is a professional photographer and owner of Life on Paper Photography by Bri Mason. Bri is passionate about natural light photography and specializes in newborn, children, and family photography. She is also a Mommy to Olivia and Sydnee and wife to Kevin.