One question I get ALOT, “How do you take such great pictures of your son??” As a freelance photographer and a mom, I’ve gained some tips for parents who need help capturing their little one’s most precious moments. These are my tips for you!
After you remind yourself to be patient, timing is EVERYTHING. Don’t decide to take picture during nap time, bed time, at meal times, etc. This is sorta common sense but sometimes it’s overlooked. The best time to take pictures is after naptime and after snack. They are usually in their best moods during these times. Though, candid crying shot can be cute to share with them when they are older.
2. Be Ready
Be ready, great pictures are around every corner. I love taking pictures of everyday moments like when my son decides to fall asleep on the dog, crazy intense drawing session with his tongue out, brownie batter all over his face from licking the mixing spoon or when they find the dead bugs in the window. These moments are just a great as the planned ones, if not better.
3. Natural Light/Lighting
This one is huge, lighting can make or break ya. I LOVE natural light. Flash is the enemy unless you’re taking pictures at night. Open the shades and curtains and have them facing the window. Take them outside to the back yard or park. The best times outside is when the sun isn’t super high in the sky, like around noon because it can create harsh lighting. My favorite time to take pictures outside is around 2 to 3 hours before sunset. This also gives you an opportunity to use the sunset in your pictures too.
4. Play with “Negative” Space
I studied Fine Arts in College and one thing I learned was to be aware of the “negative” space. “Negative” space is any space that is not your subject. When doing portraits, your goal should be to have the least amount of negative space, without cutting your subject out of the frame, in other words, fill the frame with your subject. But don’t be afraid of “negative” space, it can create really cool pictures.
5. Let them be Silly
This is pretty self explanatory and 99% of the time they won’t give you a hard time when you tell them to be silly.
6. Get Down to their Level
This tip is extremely important to remember. If they are small, kneel down to their level when taking their pictures. Looking them head on is so much better than looking down on them.
7. Prepare to Play
Unless you like the cheesy smiles or the deer in headlight look, prepare to play. Aren’t natural smiles the BEST! Play peek a boo, play around with a toy, “I’m gonna steal your nose!” is a classic. One thing that always worked for my son as he got a little older, like 4/5/6 years old, I would bring up something funny that happened in the past like, “Remember that time when the stink bug landed on Willy’s head?” That always gave him the giggles.
8. Check your Surroundings
It’s always good to make sure the background of the picture doesn’t have things that could distract the viewer when they look at the picture. Such as a pile of dirty clothes, the obnoxious colorful blanket hanging on the chair, the dog’s butt…you get the picture.
9. Continuous Shoot Setting is your Best Friend
I always have the continuous shoot setting on my camera and my phone camera. The thing is, especially when it comes to taking kid’s pictures, you will have to take lots and lots of pictures for the picture perfect shots.
10. Be Creative
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Try different angles, different background textures like brick or wood walls with paint chipping off, play with color and patterns. Play dress up. Learn how to light paint, like the picture below. I love to try to keep it interesting and different.