How to take great photos of your kids
I decided to pursue the art of photography nearly a year after my daughter was born, when I realized that the first year of her life had flown by. I wanted to make sure that all of the memories that I held in my heart were captured, and that when my young mind had begun to forget the memories, I would have those moments preserved. Photographs are our only way to encapsulate time; and that is very important to me as a mother. It has been a journey of trial and error, but now I am confident in my ability to accurately capture my daughter’s life through photos. I’m here to share the five most important things I have learned about taking photos of young children:
1. Don’t stop moving!
Photographing babies and toddlers can be very challenging since they never stop moving! If you are waiting for them to stay still (never going to happen), you will miss out on important moments. So move with them. Literally follow them around with your camera and snap away!
2. Get low
The biggest mistake I see parents make is taking photos of their children from grown-up height, looking down instead of getting down on their kids’ level. By doing this you lose context, emotion, and engagement with your subject. Capturing photos at your child’s eye level always makes for better images. So make sure get down on your knees before you start snapping away!
3. Work with what you have
Of course there is a big difference between a DSLR camera and a smartphone camera. However, not everyone has access to a fancy camera but most of us have a smartphone in our pocket. Reality is, we use what we have quick access to. While smartphone cameras are not ideal, there are ways to take great photos with your phone if you know how to maximize its potential. Try changing the camera’s settings to ‘manual’. This allows you to adjust things like the ISO and colour temperature, for better results. Though camera phones are notorious for functioning poorly in low light, you may want to consider turning off your flash and instead use accessible light sources (like windows and lamps), for more accurate pictures.
4. Catch real moments
Photographing children (and all people for that matter), is not only about beautiful posed shots of your kid attentively looking at the camera (does that ever happen?!), but also (and more importantly, in my opinion) about capturing your child interacting in their environment. Make sure to pull out your camera and take pictures of them playing with their toys, playing in the park, doing crafts, baking, and playing with you. Real moments evoke real emotion, and that is the goal of photographing memories.
5. Capture their attention
Capturing young children’s attention can be very challenging, especially when they are defiant and despise you for taking so many pictures of them! Keep in mind that their attention is fleeting so you need to act fast. Like, lightning fast. I like to have my camera ready, finger on the shutter release (‘take picture button’) before attempting to capture the child’s attention. Once I am ready, I blurt out something absurd for them to look my way, and then SNAP! Moment captured. Some attention-getting tips: I usually ask the child if I have a bird or animal of some sort on my head, pretend to sneeze (little babies love this!), jump up and down, or pretend to bump my knee. Pretty much anything to make yourself look like a fool will work in capturing a child’s attention. Now, go get silly!
Photos by Meaghan Milne Photography
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.