Whether you’re using your iphone, a DSLR or a point and shoot, you have the ability to take amazing photos of your kids. Yes. YOU! And I want to help you.
If you do these 3 simple things, you will see a HUGE difference in the way your photos look. Pinky swear.
LOOK FOR THE LIGHT. If you do one thing, this should be it.
Start with a window in your house on a sunny or partly sunny day. Position your child near a big window (or even better, open your front door, have her stand there and clap your hands because of alllll the glorious light you see!). Have him/her move at different angles and watch how the light changes. See how the shadows fall? See how the brighter light hits her face as you change her position?
There’s a nifty little trick you can use to help you analyze the light around you, and figure out the best place to face your subject. I learned about it years ago, and I use it all the time.
Enter my BFF, The Hand Trick. You’ll want her to be your BFF too, once you see how easy this is.
Hold your hand out in front of you, and see the light on your hand.
With your hand held out, slowly move around in a circle and see how the light changes on your hand.
Once you find where the light hits your hand the best, have your subject stand there! See? Easy peasy.
It’s fast, efficient, and you don’t have to keep moving your subject around. Try it! You might want to kiss me when you see how easy it is.
I love for my house to be clean. Well, at least picked up. But reality is, on most days you’ll see toys on the floor, laundry piled up on the couch (and bed/table/counter, whatevs) and dishes on the counter.
If only I had a live-in maid (a nanny and a chef, too).
Your house doesn’t have to be clean, but if you can clear the clutter where you’re shooting, it really makes a difference.
Shooting in your bedroom? Look in your viewfinder and start at the top left corner of the image. Scan all the way to the bottom right corner. Is there anything in the frame that doesn’t add to the “feel” of the photo? Did you find anything distracting? Take a quick second and throw toys, books, and whatever else on the floor behind you. It takes a few seconds, and it makes a huge difference in how your images look.
On the flip side, if the story you are trying to tell is the realness of your life, then leave everything as it is. It’s totally up to you.
On top of shooting your kids’ faces, take notice of the little things. Pay attention to the little details you see every day, but might not recognize as an important part of the story. For example, I love to photograph my kids’ hands at their different stages. Chubby baby hands to grown-up-10-year-old-boy hands. I want to remember. Good gosh, how easy it is to forget the details.
What if you step back for a few seconds and look at what you see in front of you? What do you see that you want to remember when they’ve grown?
How about breakfast time, for example? Is your child sitting on a bar stool or a chair? Document how her little feet look, dangling from her chair. A close up of his chubby little hands poking his breakfast with a fork. His bedhead and mismatched jammies that he picked out the night before. Get on a chair, get down on the floor, look up, look down, move in a bit, then get in close. If you can, get in even closer. Shoot from different angles and document what your eye sees.
Is your child reading a library book? Working a puzzle? Coloring a picture? Try focusing on his hands holding the crayon or marker or putting the puzzle pieces together. How he sticks his tongue out or furrows his brow as he concentrates. The perspectives and options are endless if you really put your mind to it.
Okay, friends. I hope this helps! Practice these steps, and I think you’ll see a big difference in how your images look. Shoot me an email here, and tell me what worked for you! I would love to hear from you!
P.S. Check out my post on cropping and aspect ratio here. The more you know, the better your photos will be!