How to Take Better Pictures of Your Children

With my first three children, I took a zillion photographs of my children without really thinking about the end result. I’d pick up the camera and snap away. I didn’t really know anything about photography. Of course, I love the photos of my children, but over the years I’ve learned some tips and tricks to improve my photography skills and take better pictures of my children.

Our children grow up so quickly so it’s a parent’s favourite thing to capture some of those special moments on camera to treasure when they’re bigger. Here are five of my top tips for taking photos of your children that you’ll be proud to display and you can look back on in years to come and cherish those memories.

Tip #1 – Find Natural Light

Natural Light

Especially when you’re taking portraits, natural lighting far beats anything that your flash will do. Using flash you’ll end up with red eyes or blown-out faces where everything is too white. You often also end up with that ‘deer in the headlight’ expression on your little ones!

Take a look around your home, and find which room gets the best natural lighting through. I often take photos in my bedroom, as it has a large window which gets a lot of light through the morning and early afternoon. Stand your child near to a sunny window, open the curtains wide to let as much light in as possible and look for the ‘catch light’ – when the light is reflected in someones eyes – it really makes the photos seem alive.

For outdoor photos, try taking them in the last hour of sunlight – the so-called ‘magic hour’. The sun is low enough in the sky that you’ll get the softest, most beautiful golden light.

Tip #2 – Change Your Perspective

Change Your Perspective

If you shoot photo without thinking, you’ll end up with a photograph album full of the same shots. So before you snap yet another head shot, STOP. Think outside of the box. Try taking the photo stood on a chair or laid on the floor on your belly. Getting down to your child’s level can be a great way of getting eye contact and a natural sense of engagement.

Also, you don’t always have to take photos of their faces. We know they are incredibly cute, but so, for example are tiny baby toes. Take some close up photographs, capturing the little details about your child – those gorgeous dimples, soft baby hair or sweetly folded arms. By getting up close and focusing on just a portion of your child, you will capture a more dramatic image.

Tip #3 – Quantity Counts

Quantity Counts

I’m never as grateful to be shooting with digital as I am when I’m photographing my children! To get one or two fabulous photographs, I may take fifty photographs! I can easily delete half of the photographs I have taken in one session before they even make it onto my computer. This is especially true if I am photographing more than one child together -getting that one magical shot where everyone is looking at you, in focus and not pulling a silly face can take many, many shots!

The biggest mistake is giving up too quickly. Snap away and pick the best photograph rather than snapping quickly and ending up with a less than fabulous shot. the more photos you shoot, the more likely you are to get that one magical shot that you will treasure forever.

Tip #4 – Let Them Be Themselves

Let Them Be Themselves

You may have in mind one particular shot… your child sitting sweetly, happy smile, arms folded in their lap, eyes on the camera. They may have a different idea to you, and you end up with a less than fantastic shot. Instead, capture your child in their environment. Let them play. Take them outside to play a game or blow some bubbles, and snap away {remember to take LOTS of photos}… you’re bound to capture the ‘money’ shot in there somewhere. Let your child forget that you are taking photos and you’ll capture them being themselves – not a posed portrait that doesn’t show their true spirit.

I like to photograph my children as they go about their normal day. I keep my camera on hand at all times, then if they are doing something I haven’t seen them do before, or they just look extra cute I can quickly snap a few photos of them.

Tip #5 – Watch The Background

Watch The Background

It’s something that often gets overlooked, but be sure to pay attention to what is behind your child when you are photographing them. If you are outdoors you may want to check there won’t be a tree or lamppost suddenly growing out of your child’s head. If you are indoors, clear some of the clutter to the side before you shoot.

Try moving a foot to your left or right before you take the photo if you have a cluttered background, move messy items of a table or push the clutter into a corner.

It’s also wise to check if there will be other people in the shot that you might not want there if you are shooting in public. Wait a few moments until they are out of the frame, or move a little to one side.

A cluttered background can distract attention away from your child – keeping the background clear and your child as centre focus draws the eye to them.

Polly Davies
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Polly Davies

Polly is a Mama to four little people and a full time blogger. She lives with her family in a small town in North Wales, nestled amongst the hills and valleys. She loves taking photographs, drinking tea and baking cakes.
Polly Davies
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