Guest post from Georgina Little Photography
One of the most frequently questions I receive, as a photographer, is ‘how do I take a good picture of my child?’ My aim with this blog is to give you some top tips for taking pictures of your own children. Including how to find the best light, angles and ways to interact with them to get a great picture.
The importance of taking pictures of your children
Do you sometimes look at your kids and think ‘When did they get so big?' Or do you see a picture from a few years ago and it brings back a flood of memories of when they were small? Ones that you may have otherwise forgotten. Photographs are perfect for capturing a moment in time. It can freeze a memory so that you can look back in years to come and treasure that moment.
I’ve always loved photography and I started studying it properly when my first child was born. I wanted more than just ‘nice’ snap shots. I wanted to take pictures of my children that captured moments that I could proudly display on our walls . To add to our ever-growing photo streams. Originally it was just a hobby and passion but then friends started asking me for any pictures I’d taken during playdates and birthdays. Then I started doing family shoots to grow my portfolio. Before I knew it, people were asking to book me and the rest is history!
I’ve photographed hundreds of families and each one is unique. I love what I do! Capturing these memories (even the tantrums!) is such an amazing job and one I feel truly lucky to do.
#1 No Posing
The idea of ‘documenting’ is to snap those moments that capture your children’s personalities and their little quirks. Some of these idiosyncrasies they’ll outgrow and without documenting them, we soon forget. No posing is one of my biggest tips! If you have a child that likes to look at the camera then of course capture that cheesy smile. Keep snapping however and make some funny faces (keep the camera in the same place and just move your head so your child can see your funny face!). Make some funny sounds – you’ll soon get that one portrait that is a genuine giggle or smile.
My eldest always likes to look at the camera and I normally get the big ‘cheese’ smile, I kept snapping and talking to her and she then gave me one of her gorgeous genuine smiles.
When they’re in the midst of playing or even doing their homework, pick up your camera. Aim for capturing that ‘face of concentration’. Maybe they stick their tongue out when concentrating, or they have a frown when working something out, capture these moments! If you have a child that is distracted by you and the camera, aim to take the picture through an open doorway. You could even keep part of the door in shot which gives a real meaning to your portrait.
My middle girl loves to write, and she was so deep in concentration she didn’t even notice me taking this picture!
Outside fun – weather permitting, you can capture the fun and joy of playing outside. You can also have lots of fun playing and getting those action shots. Keep reading for my top tips on light, inside and outside, to help avoid blurry pictures.
I asked the girls to do an eskimo kiss (rub noses) and this created a lot of giggling which we managed to capture here
My youngest with her scooter – she often looks at people with a (very) serious expression which I love to capture!
#2 Get down to their eye level
Getting down to your children’s eye level makes for a much better angle. You can have more fun shooting past and through things in front of them too. This can add to the documentary of the picture. Sometimes, a picture above a child, looking down and them looking up at you can be fantastic too but unless this is intentional, getting down to their eye level makes for the best portraits. This is especially true when you’re storytelling and documenting.
My youngest, during homeschool – we did a lot of playdough. I got down low to be on her eye level and shot through some of the playdough cutters
An intentional shot taken from above
#3 Focus on their eyes
We are automatically drawn to the sharpest part of a photograph which is why it’s so important that this is the eyes – in this instance we’re talking about children but if you’re photographing a pet or even a statue, you should still focus on the eyes. This is one of the fundamentals of portrait photography. If the head is at an angle, as a rule, focus on the eye nearest to you – the other eye may be slightly out of focus and that’s fine, as long as the one closest is sharp
You can see the focus is on the eye closest to the camera and this is where I focused the image.
#4 Finding the best light for pictures inside
This is what can make an ‘ok’ picture of your kids into a ‘wow’ picture! In simple terms, when the camera has enough light to ensure a sharp clean image, with catch lights in the eyes (light reflecting in the eyes) you may get that one picture that you just know you will proudly display in your home.
Try to stay away from a pop up flash, you get pinprick lights in the eyes which is an real give away for using a flash. It also makes for harsh, flat light and tends to bleach all the colours in the image
Where possible, try to use window light. A large window in your living room, or some French doors/patio doors leading to outside. Put your back to the window with your child facing towards the window. This should get enough light to get a good picture. Window light is generally soft and lovely for a portrait. If you have sunshine streaming through the window this can cause harsh shadows however so try to avoid this.
This portrait was taken on a recent family shoot when we had a lot of rain! I had my back was against some French doors which let lots of light in and we captured a wonderful sibling portrait.
#5 Finding the best light outside
Even with grey clouds, the light outside is always going to be easier when taking pictures of your children. If you do have sunlight however – be careful of harsh and strong light on your child, shade is always preferable! If there’s no shade, face you child’s back to the sun. This avoids squinting eyes, the light on their face is softer and you get light behind their head (rim light). This can look gorgeous and also creates some separation between them and the background. The best time of day for to take pictures is Golden Hour. This is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset when the light is warm and soft. It is the perfect time for a gorgeous portrait.
This portrait was taken on a recent family shoot. We had big trees surrounding us, which helped with shade. The sun can be seen behind her on the ground, in the background of this image
#6 Keep practising and taking pictures
My last top tip for taking pictures of your children is to just keep practising! You may only get a handful of images that you truly love from a week’s worth of picture taking. If you don’t even pick up your camera you won’t capture anything at all. That’s what photographs are for in the first place; capturing memories.
KEEP IN TOUCH!
If you have any specific questions or need help with any photography related queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.