Monthly Archives: August 2010

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Tips for Capturing Great Photos of your Children

It’s been a very long time since I posted, but I am speaking to a mom’s group this morning about taking better photos of their children, so I thought I’d share some of these tips with you:

  1. As boring as this suggestion sounds, read your camera manual! Learn what the other settings mean and shoot on something other than “P.” The investment of time will pay off in spades (I guarantee it!).
  2. Composition. For a more dynamic composition, move your subject away from the middle of the composition- try out different angles- try a mix of vertical and horizontal shots- use environmental elements to “frame” faces.
  3. Try out different angles- try from above, down under, but especially get down on the same level as your child.
  4. Get closer- fill the frame- don’t just rely on your camera’s zoom to get in closer- move your body (not your lens)- just watch the minimum focusing distance, so your photos are sharp.
  5. Expression. Portrait subjects don’t have to be smiling or looking directly at the camera. Focus on real emotion- to really capture your child’s personality, go for the range of emotions- not just the “cheese” smile.
  6. Relationships. Think of how to tell a story of the people in the photos and what kind of connection they have to each other (for example, rather than having 2 siblings looking at the camera and smiling, have them interact with each other, have them get close , cuddle, or play with each other).
  7. Location. Photograph kids in an environment where they’re having fun (beach, park, etc.- nature is great and usually puts kids in a great mood), but where they’re not too excited/ distracted.
  8. Pick out a location that is visually interesting, but remember to try to use simple backgrounds- simplifying the background in photos allows you to focus on your child’s face (and expression). Make sure the background doesn’t compete with the portrait, but compliments it (this is also true for clothing and accessories- keep them simple, too).
  9. Timing and Light. Mornings and evenings (close to sunrise and sunset) have the best light, but mornings tend to be better to ensure that your kids are in a good mood (afternoons are risky!). Pay attention to the light- don’t shoot in the direct sun in the middle of the day- move your kids into the shade and turn your flash “off.” When inside, turn the lights and your flash off and pay attention to where windows are (i.e. where you can take beautiful window lit portraits).
  10. Don’t try to get great photos on a day that is too overscheduled or the same day as a special event- it can get emotionally overwhelming if you try to photograph them on a day where your kids are overly excited- i.e. birthdays, the holidays, etc.- there’s too much of a chance for it to go sour and then your kids will have a really negative association with any type of photo shoot).

Hopefully these tips will help you capture photos that you will cherish for a lifetime… or at the very least I hope you’ll have fun with the process!