With the holidays quickly approaching, I know that many people are starting to plan their holiday cards so I wanted to do a quick post on how to capture better photos of your kids! As any parent knows, capturing photos of your kids is no easy feat. My kids most definitely do not enjoy having photos taken, but I have learned a few tips and tricks to guarantee getting at least a few good photos!
My go to camera is my Nikon D7200 with either my Nikon 2.8 24-70 lens or my Nikon 1.8 50 mm lens. This camera is phenomenal and I can’t recommend it enough! That said, you can get good photos with whatever you have, even just an iPhone in the portrait setting!
Learn The Basics
When I had my first child, I knew that I wanted to learn at least the basics of photography, because I wanted to be able to capture good quality photos of him without having to depend on hiring a photographer regularly! As he grew I wanted to have lots of quality photographs and could capture the candid moments, but I knew absolutely nothing about photography & had no clue about how to shoot photos in anything other than auto. I was recommended the Scott Kelby series by a friend who is a fantastic photographer, and if you are looking to step up your photography game these are a MUST BUY. What makes these books so great is that he makes it so incredibly simple to understand and he also keeps it light & funny. I still go back and review these books from time to time, and always seem to pick up something new!
This is probably the most important aspect of getting good photos. The absolute best time of day to shoot photos is during what is called the “golden hour” which is when the sun is setting during the last hour of the day. You will get beautiful backlighting and vibrant colors with no harsh lighting in the face. You can also shoot during the first hour of the day as the sun is coming up if you are more a morning person! If you absolutely cannot shoot pictures at any other time of the day than midday, do whatever you can to get out of the sun. Get into deep shade where there is no spotty light filtering through. Bright sunlight is super unflattering & causes harsh shadows to the face, as well as washes out all color. Another option would be shooting on an overcast day!
Posing and Smiling
Helping your older kids with posing will help make the photos look so much more natural (rather than standing stiffly with arms at their sides!). There tons of blogs & Pinterest ideas for poses (also go back to your Scott Kelby books!), and for boys I like hands in pockets and/or leaning against a fence or wall. For the little ones I like sitting them down & just letting them kind of do what they want with their hands (leaves will keep them busy!) and try to capture their attention with something and make them laugh. It can be a real challenge getting a natural smile from kids, so I will often tell them a funny joke or instead of saying “cheese” I will have them say something super silly which makes them crack up! I also love capturing candids or photos while they are in motion. Pictures of kids throwing fall leaves or just playing and being silly are more fun & natural than overly posed photos! It is also much easier to capture candid photos when kids are having fun, rather than trying to get kids to cooperate & sit still for long periods of time in a pose. I do try to have a more relaxed approach to capturing photos and have an open mind about working with the kids rather than pushing them to do what I want. Trying to make the experience fun, and also giving the added bonus of promising them a special treat when you are done (bribes work!), makes capturing photos a little easier. And lastly, keep sessions short. I try to keep it to 20 minutes or less because that is really about the extent of the amount of time it is fun for the kids before they start to get bored.
If you are shooting with a DLSR, shooting in RAW format really makes things easier for you when it is time to go back and edit. I never worry about making sure my white balance setting on my camera is perfect while shooting, because it is so simple to fix in editing. Also, if you switch locations & need to capture a quick shot & haven’t adjusted your settings yet, shooting in RAW means you can adjust your exposure too & save a shot that may have been lost otherwise. I do use Lightroom & Photoshop, but I will say Photoshop has a pretty steep learning curve and there is still so much I have to learn even after using it for a few years now. Lightroom is a great place to start with simple edits, but if you are looking to make bigger adjustments you will want to learn Photoshop. I highly recommend purchasing a Photoshop Instructional Book which is how I learned, but there are also tons of Youtube tutorials out there as well.
I hope some of this information was helpful for you! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments for me!