Well hello there.
Here’s a post I wrote for the Buttons Children’s Party blog. In it, I put my useful hat on because you can’t have me live with you 24/7 and I know great family photographs mean the world to you. They do to me too. So I wanted to give you six super simple tips to take better pictures of your kids and help the memories you record everyday be even better.
These aren’t technical tips that will have you fumbling around with the buttons on your camera. They are easy, practical ideas that anyone can use to make a difference straight away.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Your kid is cute, right? Gorgeous and funny, with that beautiful smile you adore. Except you never quite capture it. You whip out your camera fast, but they never sit still, constantly fidget and everything ends up looking like the same, grabbed snapshot. Because when you ask them to smile the rigor mortis sets in. Less lovely portrait, more awkward family photo.
But don’t despair. You can make small changes that will make a HUGE difference to your pictures.
In fact. Get out your camera now. Who cares what it is. Get out your camera phone if that is the one you carry with you all the time. These tips will work with whatever you have.
Here are six super simple tips to get you taking better pictures of your kids TODAY.
#1: find the light
It may seem obvious, because you can’t take a picture without light, but sometimes you just have to know what to look for. Natural light is your friend. And natural light through a window is your BFF.
The picture above is taken next to a small window, which is on the left just outside of the frame of the image. Nothing else but a cute kid and a window off to the side. This simple set up often gives me my favourite portraits.
#2: don’t ask for smiles
Honestly. The quickest way to get an awkward expression is to ASK for an emotion. You have to CREATE it. Kids develop their weird photo smile and will give you that whenever you ask them to “smile at the camera for mummy!”
So avoid the cheese and make use of fake farts and Daddy Pig’s rumbling snort. I didn’t ask the little tiger above to smile for me, I made her roar with laughter by being silly.
#3: get down on their level
Snapping the top of your kid’s head gets boring pretty quickly. Don’t just stand up and point the camera down – get low, bend those knees and get on their level. You make them the strong subject of your image and you start to see the world from their point of view.
So get grubby. Don’t be afraid to roll around on the floor. Because when you don’t have to ask them to look up, you don’t interrupt their fun. Spread out on the grass, watching this wonderful terror roll down the hill towards me, I was in just the right spot to capture him in his element.
#4: other bits & pieces
Everybody loves a smiling face and a toothy grin. But your baby grows and changes every day, so tell that story with details. Hands, feet, chubby knees, a swirl of hair, the way they stand, how they crawl at speed towards everything they’re not supposed to. You’ll never get those priceless pictures by always concentrating on their face.
#5: engage in activity
How many times does this happen? You see your kids playing in the garden, they look gorgeous and they are having so much fun. Plus they are not hitting each other. Result. So you grab your camera and announce that the picture-taking process is about to begin. You might even say, “let me take a picture, hang on, hang on, wait a minute.” But the moment is gone. The picture you get is of them standing in a line, looking at the camera, annoyed.
Don’t stop them having fun – that’s the picture you want! Engage them in their activity and don’t make it about taking the picture. There’s no need to announce the crafty plan you have up your sleeve. Encourage them to play, to move, to laugh. Those pictures reveal who they are. The unscripted moments tell the real stories.
#6: everyday life is important
Your everyday life is the life your kids love. It’s what they know and remember. So capture that. Pictures don’t have to be built around a special occasion, in the dresses they hate, whilst you battle endlessly to keep their hair brushed and tidy. if they can spill juice down that top, they will.
Whilst you try to achieve the perfect situation for that family photo, life is simply passing you by. The little things you do together, the daily rituals of family life are so important. Childhood is a clumsy mixture of making breakfast, losing shoes, drawing pictures, reading storybooks, going to the shops, playing in the garden, splashing in puddles, the first day of school, the last day of that baby tooth. Wonderful memories happen everyday – you just have to see them. You’ll take pictures you treasure in the future, by making time for the everyday things right now.
So that’s it. Six super simple ways to start taking better pictures of your family TODAY.
Kate is a portrait photographer who works with families across Surrey, Hampshire and London. She specialises in sessions that are unscripted, playful and have storytelling at their heart. So if you want Kate to tell your family story of connection, affection and love in photographs you’ll adore, you can find out more by visiting her website.
So how did you find that? Useful? If you’d like to see more posts like this on my blog, let me know! Plus, if you did find it useful maybe you have a friend who would love it as well. Tell them about. Sharing is caring. You know that.