Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to take better pictures of your kids - or at least my ideas

I've been MIA.
Life has been...well, crazy.  Curve balls and all sorts of fun.
So, I promise, I'll be back.  With pictures and everything.  But in the meantime, for all you moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and picture-taking people, I thought I'd share an article I wrote a while ago for Dupage Mamas about taking better pictures of your kids.  Maybe it will be helpful for someone out there!

Here you go:

They’re adorable. Ridiculously so. And you just want to capture the precious moment that is unfolding before your eyes. So you grab your camera and you press freeze (AKA: shutter button) hoping to remember this forever.
You excitedly press the playback button. You look at the photo, but somehow it’s not quite as great as what you had seen before pressing the shutter.
I totally understand.  That’s actually how I started in photography.
So today I want to give you a few tips for how to take better pictures of your precious little ones.

1. Turn off your flash
I know. It automatically turns on with your camera.  And who can forget your best friend – red-eye reduction? (Which may have given some of our poor children nightmares…)  I’m telling you. Turn it off. There are some instances where you may not be able to get around it, but whenever possible, find another way to grab light.
Here’s some possibilities…
Natural light:  It’s got it going on.  It’s yummy and when there’s enough of it, it can lead to images that melt hearts. And it is way better than anything our cameras put out.  So become friends with your windows. (Besides – I could always use motivation to actually clean mine…) Or shoot  outdoors. Just keep in mind that too much of a good thing won’t work out so well. So if it’s noon and the sun is blaring down and your in an open field – you’re probably going to get a harsh picture with squinting subjects.
(side note: garage light ROCKS. Open up your garage, turn off your flash, hang up a black sheet or a white one and see how wonderful the light can be. Added bonus: it might motivate you to clean your garage!)
Grab a lamp:  Sometimes it’s dark. And there’s just no getting around it. (Especially here around Chicago where it likes to stay gray for weeks at a time in the middle of winter…not that I'm bitter...)  Just grab a lamp. Especially those ones that have a spotlight head you can move or bend. Play around and see if by using that steady light you can get a better picture than if you blinded your poor child with the flash.

2. Move in closer
Chances are you’ll be starting out on your kid(s). I am now giving you an excuse to get even closer to them.  The truth is, sometimes those moments get lost because we’re too far away and the scene clutters the picture so we get distracted from all the cute our kids have going on. So move in. Closer than you think. Try it out. See what happens…

3. Know your subject
One of the best tips in motherhood works really well for photos too: Study your subject!  Learn what time they’re at their happiest. Chances are – that will make for the best time for pictures. Make sure they’re well fed. And watch how they play. You’ll find that you’ll sometimes be able to predict when they are on the verge of doing something hilarious and you’ll know right when to press the shutter button


Here’s an example from my little man. I took him beside the big window we have upstairs and started playing with him. (natural light!) I was within tickling reach of him (moved in close) and I knew he makes the most adorable face ever when he “growls.” So after getting set up, I just played with him and got him growling. I snapped the shutter and this is what I got. And I love it. And him…

So there are some tips to get you started. The main thing is keep trying and keep learning! And if you have any questions or are looking for more helpful books/websites, feel free to contact me. And of course, if you’d like some pictures that you are actually IN, I love capturing the beauty of families and telling their stories.

1 comment:

  1. Fun tips, Amy! Love the growling photo. Those are the types of faces I always forget to capture...but are still dear to my heart. Keep blogging!