I have always gotten a lot of questions asking for tips when it comes to taking good pictures of kids. From the type of camera/lens I use, to the settings, to just how the heck to get them to cooperate. And, obviously, some of those are easier than others. Since there are so many ins and outs, I thought it was time to document my tips for taking good pictures of your kids here on my blog. Of course, if you still have questions after, please leave me a comment, send an email, etc. This is just a good starting point. Also keep in mind I am not a professional photographer! I have invested in a Canon Rebel DSLR camera, I have read a lot of articles online, but I am not professional and really only have experience photographing my own crazy kids.
TIPS TO TAKE GOOD PICTURES OF YOUR KIDS
Tips for planning the photos
1| Research. You are probably not going to have an hour to snap pictures of your kids. If your kids are anything like mine, you probably will get 10 minutes out of them. So go into it knowing what you want. Get on Pinterest, pin examples of what you want. Knowing how you want them to pose will help you when it comes to setting your camera to the proper settings.
2| Pick outfits. This part can be so much fun… or a nightmare for some people. Pick pieces that coordinate, they don’t necessarily have to match (although they can!) but just be sure to pick colors that compliment each other. If they’re wearing the same color, they may blend together.
3| Scout locations. My goal is always to find a versatile location. I want to be able to shoot a few different backgrounds without having to do more than walk a few feet away. You don’t want your location to be in direct sun, make sure it is completely covered. If it’s not, you will end up with some shaded and some sunny spots on your adorable little models. You want the sun behind your subjects. So keep in mind your location when picking what time of day to take photos and vice versa. If you are inside, get as close to a window or door as possible. If you have to lug your comfy, white bedding into the kitchen so you get all of the light from your sliding glass door, do it!
4| Have realistic expectations. Sure, you are going to want one with them both smiling at the camera. But even getting just one is tough! My goal is always to get pictures that are actually in focus (lol) and capture their personalities. You know those expressions your children always give you, give each other, give their friends? You want to capture those!
5| Think through your poses. I love to look at Pinterest for ideas! When posing your children, make sure they’re both at the same depth of field. For me, this one is sometimes the toughest. It wasn’t something I ever had to worry about as a mom of one. But now with three kids who are young and are constantly moving around, it makes me crazy. Also know that sometimes the way they naturally interact with each other is the best pose of all.
tips when taking the photos
6| You can’t edit away bad quality. If your subjects aren’t in focus, you can’t fix that with Photoshop. If they are blow out (blown out means an area is so white all the detail is gone) you can’t fix that in Photoshop either. So just remember, there are a million ways to edit a photo, but make sure you focus on the quality while you’re shooting.
7| Take some test shots. You don’t want to snap 30 pictures and then look through them and realize the lighting isn’t what you thought, or the focus is off, etc. Ideally I have Jason with me and he can sit where the kids will be. If not, I use the baby’s carseat (or the baby in their car seat) or will ask Blaire just to sit there and let her look at her iPad. My goal is not to use up their attention span or their patience while I’m testing everything.
8| Try not to shoot in manual. For my DSLR I typically shoot in AV mode because my goal is to have a blurred background. I use a 50MM 1.4 lens, so I like to shoot as close to 1.4 aperture as possible, because I love a good boken background. With the 50MM, to really get a good boken (blurred) background, I find I have to be fairly close up to the subject. So, typically no full body images. It’s usually their faces and maybe shoulders. In addition to aperture, make sure you pay attention to the ISO. The higher the number, the grainer your photo can be, which is something that happens to me when I leave it in AUTO mode. If I’m shooting outdoors and it’s overcast, usually 200 or 400 are the best settings.
9| Using your phone? If you’re using your phone, there are still steps you can take aside from making adjustments to the settings of your camera. DO. NOT. USE. THE. FLASH. Do NOT do it. Still use natural light. Still have the sun behind you, with your subjects out of direct light. I like to turn on the grid because I feel it helps me. If you’re using Portrait mode, just know you’ll need to stay rather close but you will end up with gorgeous photos that have the blurred background you can get from a fancier camera. I prefer the Natural Light mode in Portrait, but that is just what has worked best for me.
10| Check your photos often. Take a break, give your kids some fruit snacks, water, a binky, whatever… and check the photos you’ve taken. If there are some good ones, you can move on to another pose. Sometimes, I have found it easier to move to a different pose to give the kids a change of scene or a change in what I’m asking them to do and then going back to the pose where I want some better shots, hoping they will be more content the second time around. It doesn’t always work, but hey, you win some, you lose some, right?
I am someone who loves having photos of my kids everywhere, and while I wish it was in the budget to hire a professional all of the time, it’s just not for us. So learning how to take good pictures of our kids has definitely saved us money in the long run and helps me make sure I will always have plenty of photos to look back on this short time in our life with little babies. I hope my tips to take good pictures of your kids was helpful to you.
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