As a child and family photographer, one question I hear alllll the time from parents is: how the heck do you do it?
I wish I could say it’s easy, but it’s not. Creating beautiful images of children is HARD!
Patience and confidence, y’all. You know how they say dogs can smell fear? Well, kids can too and they know the moment you whip the camera out, it’s time to stop doing that cute thing they were doing and run away like a madman. Below you’ll find a few tips and tricks to help you capture better photos of the kiddos.
1. Listen to the light.
Natural light is king for photos, and that means going outside. But you don’t want to be in full sun, as it’ll cause harsh shadows and squinty eyes. Your best bet is to set up shop under the shade of a tree – lay out a blanket and some toys or a snack, and have at it!
If you’re stuck indoors, get as close to a window as you can. One trick I use in my own home is to position the girls’ art table and favorite toys right next to a large window. This allows beautiful natural light to pour into a location that they naturally love to hang out in – without me trying to “pose” them or force them into a position.
2. Take many. Keep one.
Let’s get real – if your subject is under the age of 6 or so, just accept that you’re going to have a bunch of blurry outtakes in order to get one beautiful image. But that’s all you really need, right? Lemme answer for you: yes. All you need is one iconic image; not fifty mediocre ones. My second tip is to take many images rapid-fire to capture your child’s movement, but then quickly go through them and delete all but one. This takes pressure off of you and your child, and makes that one beautiful photo really stand out.
3. Keep it quick and keep it fun!
Your kids feed off of your energy and they can tell when you’re stressed. If you keep smiling and laughing as you’re snapping away, they’ll relax too. And if that doesn’t work, take a quick break and let your child play! You just might get something amazing while they aren’t even paying attention.
And parents – avoid “say cheese!” like the plague. If you want your child to look up and smile, give them a reason to look up and smile! Ask her to sing you a silly song or act out a silly scene from her favorite show. For the younger crowd, bubbles get kids to look up and smile every time.
That’s it! Go find some beautiful light and have some fun with your kids. And if all else fails, call me!