Hey everyone! My friend Laura, from My Morning Moxie, is back with some awesome photos and tips for us newbies to the photography world. (Or those of us new to the world of kids!) Don’t miss her last post: 7 basic tips for taking photos you love Or my last post: Tips for Great Family Photos
1. Understand the Basics
The tips that follow will have their fullest effect when you gain an understanding of some photography basics. The more familiar you are with your camera, the exposure triangle and simple composition, the better your photos of children will be. Prepare yourself to capture a kid on the move, take advantage of the light or switch to a more appropriate lens if needed. Check out the tips already laid out in previous posts about basic photography and family photos for more help.
2. Find the Right Time
Be ready to take a picture. Have your camera nearby with charged batteries and room on the memory card (or film). You never know when that photo-op will pop up. With that in mind, pay attention to your child’s mood to make sure it is a good time to break out the camera. A cranky and hungry kid probably won’t enjoy that photo session as much as a kid who just had a great nap.
Also, find a balance between patience and persistence. Sometimes it will take time and lots of camera clicking to create the right shot. On another day, a kid might lose interest and it will simply be time to step back, put the camera down and try again later.
3. Cut back on the Cheese
Please don’t ask your kids (or anyone) to say cheese. Pretty pretty please. It will only make them hungry and you will be grumpy when you see yet another shot with a fake smile.
If you want a child to smile for a photo, learn what makes them smile (or laugh). Tell them a funny story, ask them to say their favorite silly word (yes, “banana monkeydoodles” makes for a more genuine smile than “cheese”), give them a tickle, get them talking or be goofy behind the camera. A sincere laugh or smile will light up a child’s eyes and face with a pure joy that a cheesy smile never could. The moment itself becomes more meaningful and so does the photo.
Don’t frown on other expressions either. That inquisitive look or sad stare captures an emotion or part of your child’s personality that a smile never will.
4. Get a Move On
Sometimes the best way to capture that ball of energy is to get in the game, so put on your running shoes and catch that kiddos photo. Chase them around. Move closer. Get on their level. Let them run to you or get on the slide or jump in the puddle. Don’t be afraid to try and snap some pictures while you or your child are moving. Try new angles. Get outdoors. The more active you are with that camera, the more diverse and successful the photographic compositions will be.
5. Have some Fun
Kids love to have fun, so why not join them and make photographing them a more enjoyable experience for both of you? Play games such as simon says or peek-a-boo, find the art supplies, make cookies or get out the costumes and play dress up. All of these activities will be fun for your child and will create special photo opportunities.
Props can also be a very helpful tool when photographing kids. Something simple such as a flower or teddy bear might settle them down or distract them for a couple minutes and give you the chance to focus on the shot. Those crayons, princess crowns or aprons and sprinkles also add an extra element to a photo, whether it tells a story or introduces a new pop of color to the scene. Be creative and use props, games and fun moments to take better photos.
Make sure you are having fun too. If trying to get that perfect picture has you frazzled, it might be time to put the camera away for the day.
6. Get out of their Face
If you are constantly sticking a camera in a child’s face, they are not going to like having their picture taken. Would you? Let them go play and explore, but keep your eyes open for creative opportunities. Kids do cute, interesting and funny things without our prompting and an unawareness on their part builds potential for a more natural moment.
At other times, it may just be a matter of shifting the focal point from the face. Consider new compositions that show only part of the body, such as hands picking a flower, baby feet or roller skating legs.
Be creative. Be patient. Record their personality. Enjoy taking photos of your child, but dont forget to enjoy being their parent (or grandparent or sibling or nanny) at the same time. 🙂 Capture memories.
That’s my perspective.
*This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.