I’m not a professional photographer but I absolutely LOVE taking photos, and I’ve had a whole heap of practice since having my three kids. Over the years I’ve learnt a few simple techniques that really help to get that perfect shot.
1. HAVE PATIENCE
When it comes to photographing kids, patience really is the key. If you try to force them into a pose, it will never work. They’ll either refuse to do it, or they’ll get cranky and upset. Unfortunately a child’s eyes never lie either, so even if you do manage to get a smile out of them, if they’re not happy about it, their eyes will show it.
So many times I’ve seen parents give their kids instruction on where to stand and where to look. Kids are so temperamental and very rarely do what they’re asked, especially when they’re playing. If you want them to be in a certain position for a photograph, then YOU have to move around them until you get it.
3. CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND CAREFULLY
Clutter free backgrounds always make the best photos. Unless you’re a Photoshop expert and can remove the clutter, it can totally ruin your shot. If you are somewhere where there are a people in the background, just wait for them to move, or move yourself to get an angle where the background is clear. If you can’t avoid a busy background try to make sure that your subject is going to stand out. Silly mistakes like having your bra having over the end of the bed when you take a photo of your child on the bed, can be really frustrating – so move them!
4. CHANCE YOUR ANGLE
Don’t always shoot straight on. Try getting down on their level or shooting up or down. It can give an ordinary photo a much more ‘wow’ look.
5. USE NATURAL LIGHT
Natural light is the best kind of light to photograph in. Just make sure that your child is not facing directly into the sun. It will make them squint, and believe me they will complain about it. A little trick I do is to make them turn around in a circle slowly and stop when the light is not hurting their eyes. That will be your perfect angle and prefect light.
The very best time of the day to shoot is the golden hour of light, which is early in the morning and late afternoon (about an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset).
In my opinion if you can make a child’s eyes ‘pop’ in a photo, it will always be a good one. When you’re selecting your focus, always try to focus on the child’s eyes. If the eyes are out of focus, the photo just doesn’t work.
7. RULE OF THRIDS
Don’t always place your subject in the middle of the frame. Divide the frame into three and have the subject in one of those thirds. It makes the photo far more eye catching and interesting.
8. HAVE FUN
Don’t let photographing the kids ever become stressful. Have fun with it and even embrace the mess. Also don’t over think it. It’s better to capture an imperfect picture of a memory than no memory at all.
Practice makes perfect and there is nothing better than capturing moments of people and things you love.