10 tips on how to photograph children
- let the kids be kids!
Life can be hectic when raising a family. The kids grow so fast. One day it feels like they've just lost their first tooth, and the next day they're starting high school. In amongst your busy schedule, and theirs, don't forget to stop and capture the every day moments, as well as the milestones. Treat every photo like a mini time-capsule, that when printed will carry you back in time. To help you get the best shots, see our top ten tips below.
Thanks to Nadia, our Customer Service Manager and a professional family portrait photographer, we're sharing ten practical tips you can use to capture genuine and memorable photos of children. The suggestions include details on how to set the scene, through to how to engage with your kids to get the best response.
1. Take your time
Although your family life may move at a hectic place, you don't need to rush the photographs. You need time to stop and just observe. So give yourself a reasonable amount of time to capture some great shots.
2. Location, location, location
For the best looking imagery that makes the kids the focus of the shot, choose a location or back drop that is uncluttered. A single colour and minimal background noise works well. Then place your subjects in an area that is clean and uninterrupted. If you're inside or outside in your back yard place yourself in a position so that no objects obstruct the childrens' face. Tree branches in the background may appear to emerge from their heads like the horns of a monster!
3. Butterfly lighting
For a really professional and memorable shot, with the best lighting, host your shoot during the golden hour, just as the sun is setting. Have them look toward the light, as this will light up their eyes beautifully with catchlight - a technique that the pros call butterfly lighting. If you do your shoot in the middle of the day or in a really sunny location, make sure the kids aren't looking into the sun or you'll capture some great shots of them squinting or with their eyes closed. Keep the sun behind them, and out of the photo to avoid sun flare.
4. Simple clothing
To keep the focus on your angel's face, choose a top or dress that features only one or two colours. Clothing with simple designs and without a strong pattern ensures that the eye will not be distracted away from the starring subjects.
5. Get down to their level
This is such a simple technique, that makes a big difference. Rather than standing and staring down at the kids from parent land, get down low so your camera is at their eye line level, and capturing images the way they would see them.
6. Saying cheese is cheesy
The best plan of attack is to keep the shoot looking and feeling natural. Get the kids interested and involved by having a chat with them. Ask them "How was your day?" or "What's your favourite book or movie?" Keep the conversation real and light and you'll get natural expressions and genuine smiles. The bonus is that you're also getting quality time with your child.
7. Encourage interaction
When photographing a group of kids, rather than have them pose still in front of the camera, make them look at each other (that will make them laugh and will also look more interesting). To reveal a bit more about their personalities and how they get along, ask them to whisper secrets or give each other a tickle or a hug. Anything that gets them interacting or laughing will make them naturally forget about the camera and show their true colours.
8. Make it fun
Get them to do things they naturally enjoy, such as playing in or with water (my favourite activity to capture), exploring the playground, or chasing balls - anything that will inspire genuine smiles. The more colourful the setting or props, the brighter and more playful the images will be too.
9. Shoot extras
If the kids are just being kids, there's a strong chance they'll be jumping or running around the place. If you miss a great action shot, don't worry, just be ready for when they do it again. Make the most of the benefits of digital photography by taking some extra shots, but not so many that choosing the best is overwhelming. If you're using a DSLR or mirrorless camera you can also check out the burst or continuous setting that will capture multiple frames with one click.
10. Embrace imperfection
Don’t be scared to capture the messy or mundane moments with your kids - the tantrums, the toys strewn all over the floor, chocolate all over their face - as these moments are part of their childhood and should be treasured too. They also make for great stories and they'll love to see them as they grow up.
Now you've got the shots, select the ones that really reflect each child's personality, are well composed, and tell the story of your family life. This gives you the makings for a priceless book that presents 'a day in your life', a visual storybook that will be treasured for decades to come. See more inspiration for family photo books.
Thank you to Nadia Stone, Tealily Photography, Billie and your family's for sharing your photos with us.
Image credits: Nadia Stone Photography