Something I hear frustratingly often is "your camera takes really nice pictures, I wish I could take better pictures of my kids". Well here's the thing, you can! It's actually not about the camera. I mean yes, having a flash SLR is super nice if you know how to use it, but taking better pictures of your kids is not about the equipment.
Here are 5 ways you can take print worthy photographs of your own kids today…
1. Get down to their level
Shooting from a kids eye view suddenly makes the world seem all the more wondrous and it ensures that your child is the focus. By getting down and shooting level with your child you make sure that you capture their face without distortion. If you’re not sure what I mean, scroll through your iPhone pictures. How many of them make your kid look like that have an unusually large forehead and dwarf legs? That’s because you’re shooting down on an angle. Conversely, if you get too low and shoot up at your child you’ll get all chins and nostrils. Back up, and shoot them straight on.
2. Change your perspective
This might sound like it contradicts my first point, but changing your perspective is a great way to add visual interest to your pictures and take them from plain to printable. Taking a shot of your kid’s dribbly ice-cream face? Make it cuter by having them look up at you slightly. This will emphasize their huge wonder-filled eyes and will make that smeared mess more adorable. Maybe you’ve just walked in to find the floor overrun with an entire chuggington railway? Try shooting from spider-eye-view by standing on a chair and shooting straight down over-head. If you want to get next level committed to interesting perspectives, trying lying under a park swing for a cool feet in motion shot.
3. Learn to recognise good light
This is a whole topic in itself, but for the purposes of this post here are a couple of things to note. Taking a picture in full sun (bright, over head sun with no shade) is going to result in dark shadowy eyes and patches of blown out skin. There’s just no getting around it. So if you want to take a picture outside when the sun is high, look for an area of “open shade”. This might be the shadow cast by a building or a tree. It’s “open shade” when you are standing on a shadow but can see the sky directly above you (i.e you’re not actually under anything overhanging). What if there’s no shade available? How about stepping back and shooting a wider scene, or photographing the child from behind so that those shadows on their face don’t matter so much?
4. Fill the frame
Filling the entire frame with that gorgeous cherub’s face will make for an eye-catching photo. Again, scroll through your phone’s camera roll. How many of your pictures have a tiny little body in the middle of a vast frame of dull surroundings? Take the time to zoom with your feet. Get up close, focus your camera on the eye nearest you and fill the whole frame with that cute lil’ gob.
5. Slow down
We are all guilty of this. Our gorgeous child does something incredible, we whip out the phone, wave it in their direction and “gir-girk” away (that’s the noise an iphone camera button makes in my head). The result is usually poorly framed and blurry. So slow down, take your time to frame what you want to capture, focus on your subject [here's how to focus your iPhone camera if that's what you're using] and compose your shot. If you miss the moment make a mental note to set the stage for this activity again, and next time pre-empt their engagement and be ready.
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