Photographing children isn’t easy but incredibly rewarding, especially when you hold the perfect picture in your hand and you can share it with your family and friends.
I have been photographing children for more than 10 years now and each and every child has been a wonderful adventure. There are the wild ones that keep running away from you, the shy ones that really don’t like the idea of getting all the attention, the brats that simply won’t stop making funny faces and and and… the list is endless!
Photographing children is one of the most challenging fields in photography. They will not sit still until you get your perfect picture or if they do they will put on that horrible artificial grin each time you point your smartphone at them.
But there are a few tricks that will help you to take better photos of your child, even with your smartphone or snap shot camera and I will share them with you today.
The displayed photos are meant to illustrate the mistakes you can avoid next time you want to capture a wonderful moment with your children.
5 tips on how to take better photos of your child
1. Exercise your Quadriceps
Mostly there isn’t much time when you want to capture that beautiful giggle or funny face your kiddo is making, but there is one thing that you can do to improve the shot you are about to take drastically: Squat/ kneel down/lie down; do whatever is necessary to get to the same height as your children. Don’t look down at them but have your lens at their eye level, even if that means some exercise. If it makes you sweat and gives you sore muscles the next day, that is a good sign that you might have got some lovely pictures. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
2. Avoid the sun
Consider the sun as your enemy while taking portraits. It creates harsh shadows or under-exposes some parts of the picture and over-exposes other parts of the skin or clothing. If you have a moment to position your little one then look out for some shade. The light you get there will create a much softer and flattering portrait. Also, make use of overcast days to take some beautiful snaps of your kid.
3. Avoid the sun, again!
But what if you are out with your kid on this beautiful sunny day and there is no shade in sight? In that case make sure that the sun is behind you. Colors will get much brighter and the sky strikingly blue, but what’s more, there will be light on your child’s face. On the contrary, if you are photographing against the sun then your girls’ or boys’ faces risk getting totally dark and under exposed, the colors fade and the picture will be low on contrast.
4. Clean up
Ask yourself what you want to see in the photos you are taking? Some parked cars? The dirty vessels in the kitchen? Some one else’s legs? No you don’t, you want to focus on your little one. So be choosy with the background, try to be conscious of what is behind your child and try to eliminate whatever might disturb the picture. Remove the bottles and glasses in front of him or her, if he or she sits at a table, make your kid stand in front of a wall, a plant, the sky! Turn yourself around 180° and you might find a much calmer background without even moving your child from his or her spot. The more simple your background is, the more the picture will be all about your child.
5. Observe and enjoy
You’ve found a beautiful spot in the shade, the background is perfect and you’ve put on this cute but simple little dress, but your child really isn’t in the mood to play your model? What to do? Do nothing. Don’t try to negotiate, don’t tell him or her what to do and certainly don’t get frustrated. Just observe. Let him or her get bored of you standing there and eventually forget that you are actually there. That will take some time and it might get a bit sportive if you try to crawl behind them.
Let me say it again, photographing children isn’t easy but incredibly rewarding, especially when you hold the perfect picture in your hand and you can share it with your family and friends.
So keep this in mind and try to relax. Make it a game that you happen to witness behind your camera/ smart phone, enjoy the moment with your kid but be ready to hit the trigger at any time.
If, in spite of following all those tips and in spite of a highly cooperative child that has done a great job smiling, playing and having fun, you are still not happy with the results, let me tell you that equipment does play an important role while photographing children. The autofocus that makes sure that your child is sharp on the photograph can be terribly slow on a smartphone or snap shot camera. So often the moment you’ve wanted to capture has already slipped by, before the camera has actually taken the picture.
It is not your fault! Blurred images? Not your fault either. The shutter speed defines the speed at which a camera captures a shot and in a smartphone it is often too slow for the fast movements of a child. That’s why sometimes your snapshots will come out blurred. There is a reason why photographers work with professional cameras.
But that doesn’t mean that you should stop taking those pictures. They capture authentic moments. These are the pictures I love. The ones were you can see the true nature of a child, his or her happiness while running around, the curiosity in their eyes by discovering something new, and the eagerness and impatience to play with a new toy.
Happy photographing !!