I can’t tell you how many people tell me they would love to know how take better photographs of their own children. So I decided to put a few tips down to help. This list is just a few ways that can help but there are more so if you’d like me to go deeper please drop me a message or comment on this post 🙂
1. Breathe and Relax
Don’t feel the pressure to get a ‘good’ camera out. If you’re happier and more relaxed with your phone then you’ll probably get a better image all round. Moments are fleeting so if you want to capture them use whatever is at your disposal to do it. That said, if you’re happier using a camera then use it. Have it readily available because if it’s there and ready to pick up always you’ll use it more.
2. Get busy and join in
Get into their headspace. So by this I mean just forget about the photographs for a while 😊 What are they doing? What game are they playing? Be in their place with them and join in. Allow yourself to just relax into their space.
3. Let there be light
The most common misconception I see is when people take photographs in direct sunlight.
I prefer to avoid it where I can.
It is possible to work magic in direct sun – it just takes some practice. Natural light diffusers and/ or artificial ones help. But for simplicity sake, I recommend to wait for softer light or to seek out ‘diffused’ light. So when the sun goes behind the cloud that can work but even that sometimes is quite harsh on skin. The time of day can also be a factor. Afternoons will most likely be harsher but early mornings and late afternoon/evening light can be lovely.
Now, if you’re out and about with the kids you can’t always get the optimum light so I recommend just waiting for the sun to disappear behind the cloud or you can try moving yourself and the camera to a place where the sun is hidden either behind a tree, building or even obscured by another person.
This may not yield the shot you want but just take what you can. The more you practice the more you’ll understand the light. You can also move into an area which is light but has some shade from the sun.
All in all this doesn’t mean you can’t take lovely photographs in direct sun but I personally tend to reserve that for when I’m looking at creating something interesting both with shadows and direct sun. Ideally if you’re in a shady area you’ll want the light coming in and onto your children. Stand with the light behind you or to the side of you. Try it out. Try standing on the other side too with the shady area behind you.
Compare your results and see what you like. Both are very different looks. If you’re inside you can use the same principle. Have your little one say 1-2 metres away from the window. Now go stand by the window and take a shot with the window behind you without obscuring the light coming in too much. Then take a shot from the opposite side(facing the window). Look at your results, which do you prefer? This is just a quick insight into helping you understand just a little about lighting.
I’ll be honest here, it takes some time to get comfortable with this, but in my almost 8 years as a photographer I have learned the ‘rules’, and I’ve probably broken them all whenever I’ve felt it suited me too.
Basic tips are to use the rules of thirds, balance your images use leading lines and have a focal point, look for pattern and colour. The list goes on.
Don’t over complicate this.
Take a look at this blog post which explains some of the ‘rules’
But remember there aren’t any rules here that you can’t break. I do it all of the time, but this usually comes with practising and understanding the rules and principles first. If you want to take better photographs of your own children, then familiarise yourself with the rules first and practise using them. You can do this outside photographing your children. Practice on buildings, landscapes and objects too.
There are many more tips I could share on how to take better photographs of your own children so if you’d like to know more, let me know. Or if this has helped you I’d also love to know!