While owning the right equipment and knowing how to use it successfully can help anyone take good quality photos, the most important thing is the knowledge of how to take a good photo. Some people have a natural knack for angle, lighting, and the right moment to press the shutter button, but the rest of us have to heed photography tips and tricks from those in the know.
Taking digital photos of people is an especially complicated task, and children are perhaps the most challenging subject of all. Fortunately, there are several important tips that, once applied, provide everyone with the essential tools to take amazing digital photos of their children throughout their childhood and beyond.
1. To pose or not to pose?
It’s easy to assume that you should never have your children pose for pictures. But that would be an incorrect assumption. First of all, she would miss out on shots like the one above, which show a level of facial detail that she could never capture with a natural supplement. Secondly, posing is the instinct of most children when there is a camera nearby.
By taking a few posed photos, you’ll likely make them feel like they’ve done their homework, at which point they’ll embark on another activity that will allow you to capture them in their natural environment, without posing. A mix of posed and non-posed photos will give you the best chance of capturing some great images.
2. Open the opening
Whether you choose to pose or let your child run free, try to keep the aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6 to focus on your child’s face while getting beautiful bokeh in the background. Of course, you can also adjust the aperture settings on your smartphone.
Shooting with a closed aperture will give you a great depth of field, where everything in the background will be in focus. Unfortunately, this can clutter the scene and divert your child’s interest. You can learn all about depth of field in another of our articles.
3. A different perspective
One aspect that is often overlooked when taking pictures of any kind is the angle of attack. I mean, most of us just stand still and shoot from head height. While this usually gives good results, it’s easy to experiment with. And the results can be surprising. This is a strategy that is especially important to remember when taking photos of children because they are much lower to the ground than adults.
An easy technique is to get down to their level, so physically drop to your knees to shoot at eye level. Alternatively, you can take the opposite approach and climb higher than ever to take down the action. This technique exaggerates the size difference between adults and children while allowing you to capture more in each shot.
4. Take multiple photos
Unless you’re a fan of old-school cameras and refuse to go digital, there’s no reason not to take as many pictures as possible every time you hold your camera in hand. Any that don’t go as planned can be removed or stored for a time when you can better appreciate them.
The advantage of taking multiple photos is that you are much more likely to capture the perfect image, if such a thing exists. It is certainly much easier to keep clicking continuously than to wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. You’ll probably be surprised which photos best capture the mood of the day when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff.
We recommend shooting with shutter priority, burst or sports mode on your camera so you don’t miss any of the action.
5. Plan strategically
Although you have the option of taking as many photos as you like with your digital camera, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. The golden and blue hours are the best times for photography, but your toddler may not be ready to wake up before dawn or stay up late. So, check out other moments when the light is great. Cloudy and rainy days provide a natural diffuser and give you beautiful even lighting.
If you are out on a sunny day, find shady areas or a green cover to take your photos. It’s also important to have snacks and drinks on hand to prevent tantrums and nervous breakdowns. Also, make sure your child is well rested before the session. If you have a newborn baby, these are our tips for taking cute photos of your newborn.
6. Capture the mood
The image above demonstrates this tip better than any combination of words. In that shot, the photographer captured much more than the child playing in a fountain in a park on a hot day. You can feel the mood of the day and the exuberance of the child at that moment.
In a practical sense, this involves a mix of luck and judgment. Luck is being in the right place at the right time, camera in hand. The judgment is knowing where to position yourself and when to press the shutter button to best capture the mood. It’s important to keep in mind that happiness is just one state of mind, and there are others, some negative, that can result in amazing photos.
7. Keep it in context
As cute as your kids may be, reviewing endless close-ups of them in afterlife won’t evoke many memories—showing the wider world beyond is the key. To achieve this, you need to allow some background to show through in most shots, letting the wider environment filter into the photos to put them in context.
This may seem like obvious advice, but if other family members have to ask where you took the photo, then you’re not telling the story behind that photo. Showing the narrative behind the photo is the ultimate goal. This is especially important with digital images since you don’t have the opportunity to write a reminder of the scene like you would on the back of a printed photo.
8. Every moment has potential
This goes hand in hand with the advice to shoot liberally. Before you have a chance to take more photos than you think you’ll need, you need to remember to have a camera handy. While you’ll always take one on vacation or to one-time special events, you might not think about slipping it into your pocket for a walk in the country, to your weekly soccer practice, or a trip to the local fast food chain. .
The fact is that every moment has the potential for a beautiful photograph. Random shots taken in unlikely places may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but they may prove important in another way. The trick is to have a camera handy, but only to use it once in a while. It’s a difficult balancing act between being a good photographer and being the parent who watches his children grow up through a viewfinder.
9. Show your personality
Don’t forget to include your child’s personality in your quest to capture the best shot. You can dress up your child to your heart’s content and take as many pictures as you can in vision of her. But, take a moment to really see who they are and portray it.
Let your child do his favorite activity, interact with his siblings, or play with his pets. This is the time when you will see his true nature shine through and you will be able to capture it all candidly.
Capture the little moments to make memories
The list above isn’t a complete list of techniques you can apply to take amazing digital photos of your kids, but it’s a start. These top tips should give you the basics to up your game when dealing with such an energetic and unpredictable topic.
Now you shouldn’t have any reason not to capture great shots, whether you’re using a high-end DSLR camera or a smartphone camera.