Not every picture you take of your children has to be “frame worthy”. But I love to capture those sweet moments when my boys are actually getting along, or doing something funny, or looking cute in new outfits. And all the better if those pictures actually turn out great! For my family, we have my sister take professional photos of us twice a year and I highly recommend it. It is the only way to make sure we get really great family shots that are guaranteed to make it into a frame on the wall. But for the other 363 days of the year, I just have my iPhone! Holidays, parties, birthdays, etc. We can’t always have a professional photographer there (we are not the Kardashians…) I don’t claim to be a great photographer by any means, but I have gotten a lot better over the past year by watching my sister and by paying attention to the following key things:
- Lighting: The more light the better! And I am talking about natural light, meaning no flashes aloud! (Of course you will have to use a flash at night, but I promise you it won’t ever be as good as those taken during the day.) If you are inside, go near some windows or open up a door. Artificial lighting (meaning lamps and light fixtures inside) is not the same. I am talking about sunshine!!! So if you can go outside, then even better! Now, the only bad thing about sunshine is it can cause shadows on their face if not facing towards the sun, and also can cause them to squint their eyes if its too bright. So if outside, try to find some shade for the perfect balance.
- Angles: This is something I see most moms struggle with. Our children are shorter than we are, right!? (yes, the answer is yes…well for most people) So most photos I see of kids are from the parent’s perspective (meaning the camera is angled down at them from above). But from this angle, all we do is give our kids giant heads and little feet. It makes them disproportionate. You have to literally squat down or sit down and get on their level. If you want their entire body in the picture, then your camera should be at the same level as their bellybutton. The only time this wont work is if something else is the focus of the picture. Say they have something in their hand, then you would point the camera down at their hands. Or say there is a pretty sunset, then you would angle the camera upward to get the pretty colors. But for the most part and in most cases, you will want to have the camera right in the middle of their bodies to ensure they look proportional.
- Movement: Let’s be honest, kids are going to move anyways. It is pretty impossible to get them to stand or sit still. You can spend 20 minutes trying to position them just right, tell them to look at the camera, oh and don’t forget to smile! Unless they are at least 5 years old, then just forget it. You’re wasting your time. The best thing to do is let them move! Get behind the camera and just start clicking away. Take about 20-30 photos of them in the same spot. One of them is bound to turn out decent, and then you can go back and delete the rest. (Plus some of the best photos are of them not looking at the camera). Not to mention, forcing them to stand a certain way usually ends up looking unnatural anyways. I like to make it more of a game or bribe them into doing something. For example, I will say “Give your brother a hug and then we can finish playing soccer!” or “Show Mommy your popcicle!” or “Give Daddy a big kiss and then we can go play!”. Start taking pictures as soon as they start moving and don’t stop until they finish. Which brings me to…..
- Capture the moment: We all have our phone on us 24/7 (don’t lie…yes you do) or at least it’s never too far away. Whenever your kids are doing something cute just start snapping! Some of my favorite pictures have been ones that I didn’t plan out. For example, we went to the park for a walk and I kept my phone out because I liked the backdrop of the beautiful park and I knew at some point my boys would do something adorable. I went ahead of them about 20 ft, got down on one knee and started snapping pictures as they walked towards me. At one point I told Luca to “hold Arlo’s hand!”, which he did and I got a great shot. (see below) I probably took 25 photos in that one moment alone, but I just went back later and deleted most of the ones that were blurry or looked weird.
Like I said before, I am not a professional photographer nor will I ever claim to be one. If you are truly interested in taking amazing photos then I suggest you sign up for a photography class taught by a professional. But I do think the tips above can help in taking your “everyday photos of your kids” one step further. (Note: I do edit my photos in Lightroom on my phone, if you’re interested to learn how I do it leave me a comment!) Good luck, Momma!