February 18, 2012

Five Easy Rules for Taking Better Pictures of Your Kids

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I get a lot of questions and comments about my photos. I don’t know why… I’m pretty hard on myself about the pictures I take and can usually find something about it I could have done differently or better, or dislike a picture that others seem to think is great. I don’t consider myself a photographer, an expert, or anywhere close. But I do love to capture moments in my kids’ lives in the best way I can, and have done a lot of research, reading and studying, tutorial reading and watching, trial and error, and most importantly, learning how my camera works. So, if you want to learn how to take better pictures of your kids… I may have some tips for you. And you DON’T have to have a fancy camera to apply these simple principles to your photography!

1. Lighting is everything.

This is the one that will make the biggest difference in the quality of your photographs. Take a look at these three pictures and think about which one you would rather have in the baby album:

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In this picture, it was at night and the living room lamp was on. Indoor lights usually cause a color cast like this yellow hue over the whole photograph, including skin tones.

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I took this picture at night in my bedroom… I knew my lamp would cause everything to look yellow so I used the flash, but the effect wasn’t much better. Flashes, at least the kind that come built-in to your camera, make skin look washed out and unnatural, over-expose parts of your picture (make them look way too bright), not to mention startle sleepy babies!

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In this picture, I moved his Sleep N’ Play near the living room window when daylight was pouring in.

I don’t know about you, but my choice is #3. Natural light is always best. Your eyes are your best tool in choosing a time and location to take the best pictures of your kids. Use them before you click!

Even with natural light, there are some things you can do to make the picture even better…

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I had layed Jace down on the floor by the window and took this picture. After I took it, I noticed there was a harsh shadow over most of his face. I tried moving him around on the floor a bit and wasn’t happy with the lighting so I moved him into his swing, located by the same window but a few feet off the floor. I turned him a bit, paying attention to where the light was falling on his face, and then took this one when I was happy with how his whole face was lit up, and the catchlights (bright reflections) in his eyes:

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Much better!

2. Get on their level.

There are exceptions to every rule, especially this one. Great photos can be taken at any level! But I’ve found that when photographing children, if you just kneel down or bend your knees a bit so that the camera is at eye level, the photo is so much better. Too many times, we take pictures towering over the child instead of really getting down at their level and capturing the moment.

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3. Get up close and fill the frame!

Before you click, ask yourself if the picture would look better closer up. Don’t be afraid to zoom in or move your feet!

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I know that’s not technically a kid… but in our house she counts!

5. Little things can say a lot.

Capture those details! Get up close, use the macro feature on a hand or foot, take a picture of the action and what your child is doing instead of the child’s face. These are my favorite kinds of pictures because they can really tell a story.

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There are so many aspects of photography that you can use to better your pictures, but I think keeping these basic ideas in mind are a great start! Honestly there are no bad pictures when it comes to your kids, so the most important thing to remember is to simply take pictures and capture moments, because they grow so quickly.

Leave your own ideas or questions in the comments section!

6 comments:

Missie said...

Thanks for the tips!

Theresa said...

They do grow so fast!! Now I am taking pictures of the grandkids, not kids. I love every minute of it and these tips will help me take better pictures. I actually had one picture of the 14 month old last week, where the natural light shadowed half of his face and lit up the other half way too much. But, unfortunately, he wasn't about to cooperate with staying where I tried to put him. That's ok, I'm persistent and got some other shots.

Ross said...

These are some really great shots in spite of what you find in them. I'm just like you in that I'm always finding something wrong. The little one is growing so fast! Have a great weekend!

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

Such great tips, love your blog and your beautiful family!

Adriane said...

Great tips! Your daughters have such gorgeous eyes!

Holly said...

thanks for the tips!

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