Don’t judge me, but before I had Kingston I thought it was so annoying when moms posted 5,000 pictures of their kids all over social media every single day. So. Annoying. But now I think it should probably be more like 10,000 pics a day, because those little stinkers are just too cute! And who wants to miss “that face” he always makes or his new haircut or his missing front teeth? I get it now! As moms, we don’t want to miss a moment with our kids, and for a lot of us, it’s important to catch those moments with a camera. And since so many of my blog readers are moms I thought it would be fun to share a few tips with you about how to capture the best possible pictures of your kids.
Use Natural Light
The lighting in my house isn’t great. There are a few good spots though, and I use them ALL the time to take pictures of my little guy. If your house is like mine, learn to work with what you have. Walk around and find spots where a lot of natural lights comes in. Look for a window that is opposite a wall. That will give you a clean background to shoot against. Then open the curtains, stand with your back to the window, and shoot. Try not to use a flash unless you absolutely have to. I always prefer to shoot outside though. And when I’m able to control my environment I shoot in a shaded area instead of direct, harsh sunlight. Bright sunlight creates a lot of shadows and usually results in squinty “mad” eyes.
Get Creative with Angles
This sounds so basic, but get down on your kid’s level. Anderson had to teach me this with Kingston. I was always standing over him shooting down. And that’s fine sometimes, but it gets boring, and it’s hard to get a close-up, intimate feel from that angle. Try to think outside the box too. Instead of shooting yet another close portrait your kid, take one of their sandy little hands at the beach, or their muddy feet in the backyard. Or back up really far and get a wide shot of them in their surroundings for a completely different feel.
Nail the Focus
I did a whole post about focus here. Images with the face and eyes in focus are more captivating. Just put the focal points on the eyes and click away.
Get Close… then Get Closer
I love extreme close-ups! Sometimes it’s great to get a perfect headshot with the right spacing on all four sides. But I usually prefer a close shot with the top of the head cropped off and the eyes filling a lot of the frame. Try it!
Make Your Kid Laugh – But Let Them Be Themselves
Don’t say “Cheese!” Ugh. I hate that! It ends up looking, well… cheesy. And lots of kids make the same face when they hear it: painted on smile with all teeth showing and crazy eyes. Don’t force them to smile if they don’t feel like it. Just let them be themselves and capture who they really are at that moment. Sometimes my little guy looks really serious and brooding, and I love when I capture that look with my camera. It’s the real him! But if you are dying to get that perfect smiling picture for Grandma, just pull out all the stops to make them laugh. Disgusting body sounds work great with boys. 🙂 Weirdos! So do ridiculous songs. Sometimes showing them the pictures on the back on the camera gets them a little more excited, especially if you let them take some making silly faces. I also suggest Hello Panda cookies!
I do this with my clients a lot. Stage the perfect shot. Get that shot, but then say something funny (or not) and keep shooting. The shots I take after “the perfect one” are always my favorites. I hate working with a photographer who gets the perfect shot then puts their camera down. I want to scream, “No! You’re missing the good stuff! These are not the shots I want on my wall!” Digital cameras make it possible to shoot as many frames as you want. And the moments in between the poses are the ones you want to get.
Watch Your Background
We all know not to shoot at an angle that makes it look like there’s a tree growing out of your kid’s head. But be aware of the background in general. If you’re trying to get a portrait make sure the background isn’t too distracting or it will take away from the kid. Sometimes the complete opposite is true though. The background can add to the feel of the image, so try different things!
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list! Try to do one or two of the tips until you master them. Then move on to the next! Get out and try some this weekend! You’ll be super impressed with yourself. Just don’t stop hiring me, okay? Okay!