Easy Tips for Taking Better Photos of your Kids
The number one reason adults decide to invest in a new camera, particularly a DSLR is because they’re expecting or have recently had a baby. Which, to me, makes perfect sense! I’m so passionate about capturing as much of childhood as we can. I remember when Paisley was born, constantly taking photos and thinking “I want to remember this forever!” But just because you own a decent camera doesn’t mean you know how to take great photos.
Of course, I always recommend hiring a professional for big things like Maternity, Birth, Fresh 48, Newborn and some gorgeous family photos every once in a while, if you can afford it. But we can’t all have a professional photographer following us around 24/7. So, today I wanted to share some easy tips for taking great photos you’re excited to share, so you can still have gorgeous photos of all your in-between moments.
1. Get down on their level.
Instead of standing and snapping down at your kid, get down so you’re eye-level to them. This will make the biggest difference in your photographs. I often crouch, sit on the ground, or even lay on my tummy so that children are at eye-level with me camera.
2. Check your focus
Focus can be a huge struggle, especially if you’re chasing around a busy toddler. If you have an introductory DSLR and are shooting on auto trying to catch your toddler as they sprint across the yard, they will more often than not just show up as a blur! For this, I recommend learning to shoot on shutter speed priority, which allows you to choose the speed at which the shutter closes and opens, and automatically changes the other settings on your camera to ensure your photo is properly exposed. Now, this is not fool-proof. You may have problems if you are shooting into the light or your subject is darker than your background or vice-versa, but this will help you be able to capture moving objects with less blur.
However, even with still subjects, it’s easy to miss focus and end up with a blurry subject. My suggestion is always make sure your focus point is on the eyes. This is the part of the photo the viewer connects with most, and if the eyes are in focus, the photo can elicit more emotion.
3. Make sure your background isn’t too busy
The goal is to make your subject stand out from the background in your photos. It’s easy to lose children in a photo with a bright coloured, busy background. Move your child into a space that’s a little more neutral in colour and pattern in order to make them pop out from the background.
Moving your child isn’t always possible, especially when you’re trying to capture a certain experience in a busy place. If you have a DSLR, try and learn how to shoot in aperture mode so that you can set your aperture to a lower setting, which causes background blur, or “bokeh”. You likely don’t have a lens that goes as low as f/2.0, but you can definitely work with what you have. To get greater blur, move your child further away from the busy background, and get closer to your subject.
4. Try to catch them in candid moments
It’s HARD to get kids to sit and cooperate, and honestly, most photos that we feel the most connection with are not of people sitting smiling at the camera. I think Paisley and I had a fight almost weekly last summer while I was trying to do photos of children’s clothing brands, as she had no interest in sitting still for the camera. Eventually I learned to let her do her thing and catch her playful spirit in the in-between moments. If you really want a smiling photo, don’t ask them to say cheese, but rather get them giggling! Tell them something funny or ask them about something they enjoyed about their day. You’ll have a much better chance at getting a real smile and some real emotion.
We’re always excited about photos of our children because they fill our hearts! But these four simple tips will help increase the quality of your photos and make you want to share them even more! (if that’s possible!)
Being a mama of little ones is hard. Between Mom-guilt and the unattainable idea that moms should be able to do everything for everyone, get very little time to herself and feel fulfilled by it, we need all the support we can get! You aren't in this alone. We're here to walk through the ups and downs of motherhood together in a judgment-free, supportive way.