As a professional children's photographer and a soon to be mom, I understand the rewards (and occasional challenges!) that can come from capturing those adorable faces in camera. My first child is due at the end of April, and I am so excited to be able to document all of the little moments of his life, as well as of course the big milestones. I know it will all go by so fast, so I don't want to miss a moment!
I've compiled a quick top 5 list of tricks you can use, and hopefully they help you make some great memories!
1. Get down on their level - literally!
Most candid snapshots of our kids end up being shot from the 'mom' angle - basically looking down onto the child from our height. With a little adjustment on our end, you can photograph them directly on their level and have a much more interesting composition. At my photo sessions at one point or another, I'm literally laying on the floor...! While that can be a great angle (especially for babies), just kneeling down or sitting on their level can have a huge impact.
2. Say no to 'say cheese'.
Most children respond to the phrase 'say cheese' with forced attention and strained smiles. Instead, to capture honest carefree happiness I suggest making them actually laugh! A couple of tricks I use (depending on the age) is to sing the alphabet out of order, play peek-a-boo behind my camera, ask if 'daddy wears diapers', or if they're older - ask them to not smile. It will always make them crack up laughing. ;)
3. Step outside your front door...and then keep on going!
If you have a little one, plop them down just inside your home and you stand outside the open front door. This will naturally create a beautiful lighting technique where your child is the focus and the light falls off behind him. The same idea can be achieved at the edge of the woods, or in a fun city street...where the light becomes darker behind your child, and you are standing in the light source. To make the photos more interesting and exciting for your kids - take them to their favorite park or place and take your photos there! My favorite photos are always of kids doing what they love most - so whether that is enjoying an ice cream sundae at the shop, reading a book at the park, or playing on the playground - your kids will be happy and your photos will reflect that as well!
4. Keep that eye contact.
While definitely not every photo you take should have eye contact, when you want those big eyes looking right at you is usually the time they want to look away. A great way to capture a little one's attention is by playing peek a boo behind the camera, adding bright stickers to the front of your camera, or even placing a cheerio on top of your camera! With toddlers you can ask them if they can see Sponge Bob (or Dora, etc.) inside your camera lens. Works like a charm!!
5. Make sure it's fun.
Last but not least - every time you bust out your camera try to make sure it's a positive experience for your kids. Taking photos can be frustrating at times, and sometimes if they're not into it it's better to just call it a day and try again later. When kids start to associate the camera with an unhappy mommy or daddy, it's a hard obstacle to overcome later. On the other hand, if they view it as a fun time to be one on one with you, and they even get a little treat or prize afterward...you may be able to have then asking YOU to take their photo in time.
Hopefully you can use a few of these tips to take some awesome photos of your kids!
by Shey Detterline, of Shey Marin Photography