We have pulled together our top 5 tips to taking better photos of your children...which we hope will improve your photographs instantly.
Children grow up so fast, so now is the time to pick up your camera and capture all the special moments — both big and small — of their childhood.
So let’s start with the settings, the bit that everyone seems to find slightly more confusing. Of course if you know how to use fully manual settings on your DSLR and are comfortable using them then that is great, but if you are a beginner then you just want to get the best results without too much effort and (even more importantly) without missing the moment. In which case we would recommend using either Aperture priority (Av on Canon, and A on Nikon) or shutter speed priority (Tv on Canon, S on Nikon).
These settings can be learnt yourself through trial and error / photography books / You Tube videos...or if you would like a fast track solution then consider joining our next 'Capturing Life with Your Children' workshop (head to our main page and 'workshops' for more info).
Aperture Priority - This setting is best used when you want to control what's in focus/ the main focus of the image. This is our favorite setting and we would say for most photos of your children this is the best setting to use. It allows you to get photos of your children with background blur (bokeh) and allows the viewer to really focus on the main subject of the image. It can also help to get rid of any messy backgrounds.
Shutter speed priority - In this mode the camera allows you to set the desired shutter speed and the camera then selects the appropriate aperture for a correct exposure. This is best used for fast action shots such as your little one shooting down a slide or running through the park.
Lighting is key
Lighting is key to getting great shots of your children. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon is the absolute optimal time of day for beautiful, warm, soft, illuminating light. If you are purposefully planning to go out and take pictures of your children then time it right; take an evening walk down to the beach when everyone else has gone home - you really won't regret it.
Choose the best light
Now, we know you can't always have complete control over where your child is or when they have their picture taken but where possible choose the best light in any given situation. If you're at the park at mid-day on a sunny afternoon our recommendation is to choose the best light possible - that means shade. When the sun light is harsh you should always try and take your photos in the shade, encourage your little one to play under a tree, wait for him to run in to the shade of the playground equipment, if on a city break capture her in the shade of the church or temple… you get my point, shade is best. As you get more experienced you can start to use backlit sunlight as a way of capturing contrast and movement really effectively.
In your home, become aware of the best light and the best time of day to take pictures and set up activities in those areas. If the sun creates a beautiful beam of light on your bed at 5pm then call your children in to play in your room, as with this photo below of Natalie's.
Choose your angle
Get low! You are much taller than your child and tend to shoot from a bird's-eye view. However, the best shots of children are taken at their eye level, so get low to the ground to take your pictures, and you’ll find you get a fresh perspective and they respond to you better.
Pose and unpose
Try not to ask you child to smile for the camera! This is a sure fire way to making your children either develop a cheesy, unnatural smile every time the camera is pointed at them, or bore them in to never looking into the camera again! Of course you may want a few where your children are looking at the camera, and we will write some tips for doing this without the awful 'smile' prompt in a future guide but remember your little one looking at the camera is not the key feature of a great picture. Instead, an image that captures emotion and tells a story is what makes it a keeper.
Any questions? Let us know!
Images by Natalie Robinson and Lianne Dawes @ThePhotoClub FZ-LLC