How to take better photos of your children:
During such a difficult time, I am sure some are missing out on some important celebrations. I have not had any sessions since the announcement of our shelter in place for Texas. I also do not encourage anyone to book sessions at the moment. Because of this, I wanted to share some tips if you're wanting to take photos of your own child(ren) or family. Before we get into this, I ask that you take all precautions and choose an empty location or even better have this session in/at your own home! Remember, your health and others is priority. With that being said, let's get started.
1. Look for the light!
As a natural light photographer, I search for the best light during my sessions. This absolutely determines where I place and pose my subjects. It is important to remember that certain times of the day offer soft light and harsh light. I recommend shooting early in the morning or my favorite time, golden hour. Golden hour is usually an hour before sunset and is best when there are no clouds in the sky blocking the gorgeous golden rays. I would place my subject in the shade with the sun peeking through the trees behind them or facing away from the sun. You dont want any patchy or harsh shadows on your child!
2. Get down to their level
This helps include background in your images as well as putting your child at ease for the photo. It also helps include any flowers or growing grass that will create a bit of a frame in the image. I think my favorite time taking photos of my own children is when I sit, relax, and watch them play. During this time, I give them a small task or make up some sort of game that will excite them where I remain ready with my camera for the perfect photo.
3. Consider the Background
The easiest way to remember this tip is to simply just pick the right spot at your location. People and cars can be distracting in your images so narrow the focus on your child. With the shots below I played with the sun rays by moving my camera up and down until it was just right. The image below on the right I wanted to include because I loved the sunlight on the trees in the background and I also made sure to include a bit of the sky. Right behind us was a road I made sure not to point my camera towards.
4. Don't say smile, make them smile!
Ok, so the photo below may involve a bit of cheating since there is ice cream, but I also had her Dad standing right behind me to help me catch a smile. I made sure he was at the same level as my lens and again...right behind me! Alina's favorite show is Sesame Street, so we had Elmo playing on YouTube while we were shooting. Again...try your hardest not to say smile. Play with your kids and bring someone to help if possible.
5. Try all points of views
Play with different angles, walk up close, and then walk farther. It's usually at the end of my session when I try my best to get creative shots. This is after I have that "perfect smile" shot and I have no worries and can just have fun! One of my favorite tips is to walk around your subject while they remain in the same pose. You'll be surprised how different your images can look by doing just this! I love to capture close up shots of eyes and hands, those are definitely my favorite.
6. Less is More
When it comes to props and outfits I personally like to keep it at a minimal. Now, I am sure that not everyone is going to agree with this statement and some people love their props and that is their preference. But, when planning an outfit for photos I make sure to avoid bright colors, busy prints, and too much accessories. When I include props, I like to take a step back and make sure my set up isn't too busy. If I need to bring a blanket to have my clients or children sit on, I make sure it is a neutral color(s) so that it doesn't stand out more than the subject(s). I purchased this outfit on Amazon a few months ago. I really wish I had some brown boots to pair it with since there were a few ant piles around that I had to make sure to avoid!
7. Take in the moment & Capture their personality!
Okay, you may think this is not as important but sitting back and taking in the moment helps me choose when to click that button on my camera. I wait for the perfect smile and the silly facial expressions. The images below were not my favorite from this quick session, but they were her Dad's favorite. I personally just stay camera-ready with my focus set and my eyes on the subject patiently waiting for the right moment.
8. Try to pay attention to the details
Sometimes when shooting, I shift focus on my settings and forget to take a step back and look at my subjects. Before shooting, I make sure there are no distracting bracelets, watches, or ponytails on wrists. I also make sure that their hair is fixed or there clothing is placed in just the right spot. With this session I made sure to face the "Blue Bell" ice cream label forward so that it properly makes an impact in the image. I recommend doing this each time you switch poses or move spots in your location.
9. Finally, edit your photos...
I always sort through ALL of my images, narrow down the best, and then choose which ones to edit. At first when I edit, I always crop and straighten my image first. I always either center my subject or try my best to follow the "rule-of-thirds." After, I lowered my exposure, added "warmth" to the image. lifted the contrast, brought down the shadows, and adjusted my greens. I think the best advice I have received when editing is edit with skin-tone in mind first. Also, I tried to keep the bluebonnets true to color as much as possible. There are plenty of apps that offer editing, just remember if you add filters, try to keep the edits at a minimal.
I hope these tips were helpful! I used to stress so much when taking my own children's photos. It wasn't until I just sat back and enjoyed them is when I started to love the photos I took of my kids.
I pray for those who are going through a difficult time during this pandemic and I am thankful to those who are still working hard for us all. Let's all stay safe and inside as much as possible.
Thank you for reading,