If you’re reading this then you’re probably struggling to take quality photos of your children. You might have recently purchased a fancy new camera with all the bells and whistles, but let’s be honest, finding time to learn to shoot in manual mode is time you probably don’t have. Maybe one day you will learn the ins and outs of that camera, but until then, don’t worry about those manual settings. I’m here to tell you that you’re more than capable of taking beautiful images of your children, and all you need is your phone, and these easy strategies! – Daria Keenan from Picture This Studios
Seems like a simple suggestion but this makes a world of a difference! Take the extra time and get your children near the window. Either place them in front of you with the window to your back, or position them, so the side of their face is nearest to the window. The first option will give you beautiful, even lighting across their face, and the other will create lovely shadows, giving your image depth and dimension. Natural light will give you the best quality of images. You don’t need floor to ceiling windows where natural light is flooding in from every which direction. You just need one! Use it!
Turn off all the lights in the room. The overhead colour temperature will interfere with the beautiful natural light casting through the window. In addition, orange skin tones created by overhead lights are not the most flattering (even on those gorgeous children of yours).
Next time you snap a photo of your child, take a moment and work your angles! You can easily create interesting images by simply moving your camera around your child.
1. Get low! Down to their perspective.
2. Shoot directly above them. Get those beautiful big eyes looking up at you.
3. Get back and photograph the entire scene. This way you are capturing a memory with enough context to tell the story.
4. Shoot the details (capture the melting ice cream in their hands, their untied shoes and scraped knees).
You’ll naturally want to centre your subject in the middle of your frame in your camera. Try experimenting next time and avoid placing them smack dab in the middle. Place them around the edge of the frame in your camera. This helps put the focus on your children by naturally drawing your eye to the main point of interest.
Activate your camera grid viewfinder function in your camera setting and place the subject on one of the intersecting points along the lines. There’s four intersecting points on a square image or six points on a regular crop.
Don’t be afraid to CROP. Play around with the image with different compositions. This can significantly change the impact of your photo!
No, not the fancy expensive props! You definitely don’t need those. Add a little bit of fun and visual interest to your photos by incorporating everyday items, activities, colour and accessories. Fun activities will elicit genuine enjoyment!
Ideas for activities that engage: picnic scene, painting, baking, jumping through puddles, outdoor chalk, swimming and floaties, jumping on the bed, pillow fights and dancing.
Prop ideas: Sunglasses, hats, headbands, beach balls, ice cream, fruit, favourite stuffed animal, baking goods, bubbles, kites, umbrellas and boots. The possibilities are endless!
Connection doesn’t have to be with your camera either, create connection amongst your children and the environment, or the activity at hand. You don’t need your child to look at the camera to evoke emotion in images!
No more forced and stiff “say cheese” photos! A forced smile is never going to compare to a genuine expression. We want their little sweet personalities to come through, so we have to work a little harder to make the natural connection.
You know them better than anyone else. What will make them smile? Be patient and take your time. Make them laugh; tell them a joke (good old-fashioned toilet humour goes a long way), give them a tickle and just be goofy with your kids. Use well-executed prompts to elicit real expressions. Your effort will be worth it.
That’s it! Have fun and remember to let go of perfect and embrace the true-to-life memories. Including crying faces; they will become your favourite memories over the years. Lastly, don’t forget to get in the photos! You spend a lot of time documenting your children’s childhood but it’s important that you include yourself in these memories. Those are the images your children will cherish the most when they are grown.
Check out our article about capturing professional family moments in Cayman here.
Cathy Church Photo Centre offers photography for parties as well as maternity, newborn, families and more.
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