On Tuesday I did a post about a shoot that I had done with my daughter last week. While I know some people think that it must be easy to photograph your own children when you’re a professional photographer, to that I have one answer: ha ha ha! I’m pretty sure all children have the similar “no photos please” policy, or some sort of pact they make from birth, avoiding all photo opportunities. While I LOVE taking photos of your kids, I know that you’re probably going to want to take more photos of them than our family sessions once or twice a year. I know firsthand that sometimes it can really be a challenge to get the photos you’re looking for, so I wanted to give you some tips that I have found help me in my sessions, and may help you in taking your day to day photos!
How To Photograph Your Child
1. If you’re planning to take some nice “formal” photos of your kids, be sure to do them at a “happy hour” for them. Basically, that means make sure your kids are well rested, fed, and ready for some fun! Nothing brings a shoot to an end quicker than a tired or hungry child – and its happened to all of us! – so do what you can to keep this in mind when scheduling your photos.
2. You gotta roll with the punches. Realize that your kids are, well, kids! I’ve learned that with kids, things WILL go wrong. Someone ends up with dirt on their clothes before you get the picture you were after, but you may have even more fun than you planned if you just roll with it. Let them be kids! Follow them from a distance (if your camera allows), and let them play without expecting too much. Maybe you’ll get a great shot organically, or maybe you have to do something really silly to get the reaction you’re looking for, but keep in mind that imperfection can sometimes make for THE BEST photos!
3. Speed it up! If you have a camera that allows you to select your desired shutter speed, (which most do these days) try turning your dial from “Auto” to the “S” if you have it. This indicates you’re in Shutter Priority, which means the camera will allow you to select the desired shutter speed, and it will adjust the other settings for you to ensure the correct exposure of your image. You want to make sure that you use a fairly fast shutter speed, probably at least 1/200th of a second, or 1/500th of a second if you want to capture your kids while they’re running around. This will ensure that no matter how quick your little one is, you will most likely get a more clear shot rather than just a blur of motion running through your frame.
4. Get down to their level. I love using perspective when I shoot, I find it just adds so much more to your images. I’m usually covered in leaves, grass, dirt, and other such items when I’m finished laying on the ground after a shoot with kids… Get down to your kids’ level so you can see the world as they do. Capture them with those things that are important to your child at this stage in their life – favourite toys, clothes, blankets, whatever may be their favourite item at that moment. Time will pass, and those things may become keepsakes or perhaps be passed on to someone else, but take time to document what is most important- today!
**BONUS TIP** I think I can speak for a lot of family photographers when I say this – I am not above bribery… I have been known to come to a shoot with cookies or other fun little snacks or special activities for the kids as a little reward for their cooperation. Be sure to hold out a little while though – give them a little incentive to cooperate!
Good luck photographing your kids – I’d love to see some of your images! In the meantime, here are a few “less than post worthy” photos of my daughter. I told you, it happens to all of us!