5 Tips For Taking Better Pictures Of Your Children
If you are an avid Instagram user, the chances are you have successfully mastered the art of photography. Professionals might tell you otherwise, but don’t listen to them, that’s just their insecurity showing. The truth is, a great image can be captured from the phone in your pocket. A bit of contrasting, maybe a filter or two. Wham. You’ve got yourself a potential Pulitzer Prize on your hands, buddy.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Professional photography might still have areas that most of us mere mortals cannot replicate, but in terms of capturing life’s moments in a beautiful and impressive way, we have all become far more able in today’s Insta-grammable culture. I have found, however, that there is still one area of photography that eludes us all. Those hidden gems. Impossible to catch in the wild. Only attainable by the most experienced of experienced.
Ah yes, our Achilles heel. An actual good picture of our kids is hard to come by. That is to say a picture which doesn’t involve fidgeting, temper tantrums, or one less candy bar in the refrigerator which we used as a bribe for them to just. sit. STILL!
So, what’s the secret? How do the experts prepare to go into battle? Here’s what you need to know.
Use The Moment
Part of the reason people take pride in their Google photos memories, tag friends in their Facebook albums or decide to create an Instagram photo book is because all of us want to preserve the days we might one day forget.
This shouldn’t be any different with our kids. In fact, it’s best to stop focusing on what you believe is a perfect image and just use what the moment is giving you. Playing in the backyard, smothering their face in chocolate, taking a nap on the edge of the couch. These are the best times to photograph your child.
Obviously, a child does tend to be quite kinetic, but there is a way to get around this. Taking quick bursts of photographs on continuous mode can help you in achieving that perfect picture. Take the time to flick through them and bin the ones you don’t like. You’ll be surprised how many gems you’re left with.
Embrace Their Nature
As a follow up to the last point, taking a picture of your child in the moment is also a far better way to capture who your child actually is. The best pictures rarely turn out to be the ones that feature someone staring vaguely at a camera, their teeth bared in a strange smile and their eyes creased with impatience. You just know there is someone behind the camera shouting “cheese!” and almost pleading for some cooperation.
Instead, I flick through to the photographs of me in the kitchen. I’m standing on tippy toes, with a cluttered row of toy dinosaurs invading the kitchen counter. You can’t see my face, you can’t see a wide grin, but you can see me. And that’s what I like about them. Embrace the nature of your child and take pictures of them doing what they like to do. You will thank yourself when you both come to look back at them.
Encourage Interaction with Their Surroundings
Of course, a lot of us still prefer at least a semi-staged photograph of our children. If you are looking for something a bit more up market than your child smashing toy dinosaurs together in their fight over a piece of salami, then that is also totally doable.
Encourage interaction. If you have multiple children, get them to look at each other rather than the camera. Your child is way more likely to have a natural, smiling face if they are looking at their sibling rather than the phone in your hand. Asking for a good photograph can suddenly become a formal event. This gives the child far more of a reason to lose their individuality or get a bit antsy, so the best thing to do is disguise it. Get them to stand where you want them to stand and then just let them interact.
The Ornament on The Coffee Table Is Your Friend
Another tip to keeping your child preoccupied and natural is to give them a prop. Pick something that will keep their attention, even just for a minute. If no props are readily available to hand, then think about using yourself. Lower the phone from your face so your child can see you. They’re more likely to smile at a familiar face than the phone that is covering it.
This is a backup in the event that there are no props on hand, but this will be very unlikely. After all, it can literally be anything, since kids can be entertained by anything.
Use Your Experience
Some of your best pictures online will most likely be ones you have paid close attention to technically. A beautiful sunset causing the sky to go a deep orange, a perfect angle of your friend overlooking a deep vista on a sunny afternoon hike.
Don’t be afraid to learn from your best pictures when capturing your children. Use angles and lighting that complement their features. Try to get them in natural light. If they are inside, get them to move closer to a window. Use alternative angles. Instead of looking down on them, make sure to crouch to their eye level. This can create some gorgeous perspective pictures as your photographs give a hint of the world that they are living in.
Whether it’s the right angle, the right prop or the right moment, there are so many ways to create the perfect picture. Take your time, be patient and before you know it some of your best captured memories will be those of your children. Who knows, you might even manage to keep that candy bar in your refrigerator for later – you’ll certainly deserve it!