As a parent, you know as well as anyone that children don’t like to sit still and pose. They squirm and wiggle and run and jump. These are the happy moments we want to remember. But there’s a catch… They’re the toughest moments to photograph.
We’ve all been there. Too dark. Too bright. Too blurry. All at the same time! But fear not! I’ve got you covered. I’ve put together some easy tips to help you take better photos of your children.
I've broken it down into 5 easy ways to help improve your photography and help you preserve these moments. It only takes a little bit of time to work on each of them before you will start looking out for these things automatically.
Tell a story
This is the most important element of an image. What are you trying to say with your photo? What are your children doing in the photo? It doesn't have to be an action shot, but when something is actually happening in your photo, it will make a much bigger impact.
When the story is strong and you can connect with the emotions they're showing, it can make up for technical mistakes too. Really dynamic photos make up for other things that may not have been perfect. (focus, lighting...)
Here are some examples:
- Playing with your dog/cat
- Swinging on the swings at a park
- Kicking a soccer ball around
- Reading their favorite book
- Playing with their favorite toy
Composition is key
There is 1 REALLY SIMPLE rule to follow when framing your image. This is, scientifically, and universally accepted, the most appealing way to lay out your photos. There are a few ways to play with it, and the results are always spectacular.
The Rule of Thirds - If you divide your photo in 3 rows and 3 columns, place the subject on one of the lines or intersections.
The strongest images will have the subject's face on one of the intersections, but you can also place them in the center of one of the lines. Also keep in mind where they are facing. If your child is looking to the left, place them on the right third. If they are looking right, place them on the left third. It looks odd if they are on one side and looking off the same side.
These lines are also where you will want to place the horizon, if you can see it in the image. You can see in my first photo here how that looks. Place the horizon on the top third if your subject is on the ground, and on the bottom third if your subject is in the air.
Start by keeping your shutter speed around 1/500. This is generally fast enough to give you a nice crisp, clear photo. If they are swinging a baseball bat or something else fast, you might have to speed it up to 1/1000. Play around with it. See what the photo looks like at different shutter speeds.
If you decide to go with a slower speed, you will get more motion blur. This is what it's called when they are moving too fast for the shutter to freeze them in the photo. Sometimes it's a really fun way to show their movement. See what works best for you!
Your camera has 3 different modes when it comes to using your auto focus. It's easy to switch back and forth and once you learn how to use them, it will change your life! (maybe not... but it's really useful).
The second mode is Servo. This is the mode for photographing moving subjects. If your kids are running around and playing, this is how you'll get the sharpest photos possible. If you hold the shutter release down half way, it will continue to keep focusing until you take the picture. Just point the focus point (the dot you see when you look through the viewfinder) and hold the button down. No matter when you snap the picture, it will be in focus.
The third option is a hybrid of the two. Don't use it. Pretend it doesn't exist. You'll thank me later.
You can learn more about both of these in my 'Photography Basics' class. It's a hands-on class and I'll walk you through all of the possible settings on your camera and how to use them.
Change your perspective
This is the subject of one of my favorite jokes about professional photographers. The more uncomfortable and awkward we look, the better the photo will turn out! Perspective is how you want the viewer to see the photo. Are they looking down from above, up from the ground, down a long street?
When photographing your kids, get down to their level! Lie on the ground. Be little. See their world! Your photos will have so much more impact when the viewer is at your kids' level. Play around with it. Have some fun. Don't be afraid to get dirty.
These 5 easy tips will help you take better photos of your kids, in any situation. You'll be able to capture those moments, and set up your own epic shots once you practice these a little. Challenge yourself!
And as always, if you have any questions, don't be a stranger! Give me a call or shoot me an email. I'm here for you.