Photographing your own children can be frustrating! Trust me… my kids have ‘photographer’s child syndrome’ which basically makes them allergic to having their photograph taken by me. However, I have learnt a thing or two over the years. So I am going to give to you a few tips to help you with your daily documentation of your kids’ lives and keep you smiling in the process!
1. The best camera The enchantment of photography is not about having the best camera or being the most talented photographer. It is really about valuing those around you so much that you wish to document it in the best way possible, whether that be with an iphone or a DSLR. When you look for the magic in everyday moments and strip back the need for perfect smiles you will find your images start to speak to your heart. These will be the moments you revisit time and time again. The best camera really is the one you have.
2. Capturing everything As a parent we love our children more than anything else and have a deep desire to want to document every single ‘first’. But you know what, sometimes it is okay to let yourself fully participate in a moment rather than feeling the pressure to ensure it’s documented perfectly.
3. Break the rules Let’s very briefly touch on some ways to make your photos visually more pleasing. a. Learn the rule of thirds for composing your photo. Divide your frame into a grid of nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important elements of your shot on one the points where these lines meet. b. Declutter the background. c. Don’t cut off arms and legs at the joint. It just looks weird. d. Watch your light. Natural light is most flattering early in the morning or late in the afternoon (usually one hour or so after sunrise and before sunset). Midday sun can be unflattering and lead to squinting and harsh shadows. But if that’s the only time you can shoot, find a shady spot out of direct sunlight, or shoot on a cloudy day. You’ll get softer shadows, smoother skin tone, and greater detail. e. Come in nice and close and fill your frame to avoid distracting background elements
And above all else, BREAK THE RULES! It is ok to go with the flow and photograph the moment, whether it’s perfect or not.
4. Follow their lead Asking your kids to say ‘cheese’ or threatening them to behave makes for miserable and forced images. Take a deep breath, get down on their level and observe for a few moments. Let the magic moments come about and have your camera at the ready to take advantage.
5. Involve them What activities does your child love? Set up scenarios with these activities as photo opportunities. Or ask them how they’d like to be photographed. Letting them be creative and take ownership can spark an interest in wanting to be photographed.
For young children who won’t sit still, give them something to do. Give them a favourite toy to hold, bubbles to blow, a book to sit and read, or pop on their favourite song and have an impromptu dance party. These are all simple ways to take the pressure off asking a child to stand still and smile perfectly.
There it is. My simple tips to taking better photos of your children. Embrace the chaos and capture their everyday antics.
Megan Willis is a mother of two and an accredited professional Sunshine Coast newborn photographer. She loves to capture your baby’s first days, when they are so tiny and precious; a blur of time that passes too soon. She can be found at www.meganwillisphotography.co.au