I’m going to begin this article with a confession. Like many other parents, I am slightly obsessed with taking photos of my kids in order to capture those special moments.
And then posting them on Facebook, of course.
OK, I’ll admit it … sometimes I also post them on Instagram.
But in my defense, this is completely normal parenting behaviour – we all want to capture great pictures of our children so that we can look back in future years and remember those times when they were little. As it turns out, the old saying is true - they DO grow up way too quickly!
Another way in which I am like most other parents is that I am not a professional photographer and I don’t have a fancy camera or any other special equipment. Consequently, the pictures that I take will never come close to those taken by a qualified professional. However, in my efforts to more beautifully capture memories for my family I have discovered some really easy ways to significantly improve the quality of the photos that I take. All it took was a little research and lots of trial and error.
8 Easy-to-Implement Tips
Here are some tips that may be helpful for other parents trying to capture those special moments.
1. Get down on their level - this tip is included in just about every article ever written about taking photos of your kids. And for good reason – it works! Kneeling or laying down on the floor to take a picture of your child helps them to maintain better eye contact with the camera, and creates a result that better captures the world from the perspective of your child. Make sure that you clear away any toys or objects that are on the floor – it is easy to forget about these until you look at the picture and realize they were in the way!
2. Get up close and personal - this is another key piece of advice that I repeatedly came across when trying to improve my photographic skills. Sometimes people make the mistake of assuming that they need to capture their child’s entire body in every photo when in fact, the best shots often come from focusing on your child’s face and the unique expressions that they make. Close-up photos of cute chubby hands, feet, and arms can also be special.
3. Make sure your child’s face is clean - this is especially important if you plan to take close-up photos. As any parent knows, babies and toddlers regularly have some kind of mess on their face, whether it be dirt, milk, or a leftover smear of bolognaise sauce from lunch. Ensuring that your child’s face is clean before taking photos is much easier than trying to Photoshop or edit the marks out of an otherwise fantastic photograph afterwards.
4. Take lots and lots (and lots!) of photos - again, this is another commonly cited tip that really works. Instead of watching your child through the camera lens and waiting for the perfect moment to snap that photo, just keep snapping and snapping and take as many photos as you can. Given that young children barely ever remain still, it can be tricky to capture a moment where everybody has their eyes open and are looking in the right direction. The more pictures that you take, the better your chances.
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5. Use a high shutter speed – check whether your camera allows you to change the shutter speed, creating a shorter period of time between when you press the button and when the photo is taken. Some cameras also have a “burst” feature, which results in the camera taking 3 photos in quick succession. This setting can be particularly useful when trying to capture moving targets – such as kids running around or playing games.
6. Consider the lighting - get into the habit of looking around at the light in your room or location and considering which angle will provide the best opportunity for a good photo. For example, is the sun behind your child’s face? If so, it is likely that their face will be in shadows in the photo – so try moving around to change the angle. If you are inside, open the curtains or blinds to get more natural light in the room, or turn on some lights if necessary. Natural light usually creates a much better photo than light created by the flash on your camera, so wherever possible take advantage of this.
7. Focus on your child’s eyes – if you are taking a photo of your child’s face, ensure that the focus point is their eyes. Many cameras have functions that help you to pinpoint the exact area of focus – learn how this feature works and practice using it. Indeed, the most captivating photos are often those which capture the light in someone’s eyes, making them look more ‘alive’. Again, remember to use natural light to your advantage whenever possible.
8. Get creative and silly – have fun taking pictures of your kids, and if they are old enough ask them to do silly things so that there are more opportunities for great photos. Get them to jump up and down, pull faces, pretend to be a queen, king or princess – anything that helps them to relax and have fun is likely to result in better photos, with more natural smiles and a cheeky sparkle in their eyes.
So get snapping with that camera! How do you capture great photos of your kids? Any other tips, ideas, or suggestions?