Imagine this Moms: You just got your little princess a brand new dress and she never wants to take it off.
She twirls and sashes side to side, dancing around the house like a little ballerina. She stops and the pose she is in is perfect!!! "Wait don't move honey! I want to get a picture of you!!" You grab your camera to snap a pic and you are so proud of yourself! You know this is going to be the one that goes in a frame on the wall. And post it on Facebook to show off that photography skill to all your friends, and they will just ooo and ahhh at that adorable little punkin of yours AND that stunning image!! A Smithsonian masterpiece!!!
You pull it up on the computer and....its. just. crap.
Its OK! I promise! See, there are things that photographers just know how to do on a daily basis. Its second nature to us. And I am going to give you 6 of those tips now!
No, I am not going to try to teach you anything complicated like all the 50 million settings on a camera.
With seasoned photographers, no matter where we are, we are ALWAYS framing up a photo. You know that cliche' frame, film makers and photographers make with their fingers in movies? We are actually doing that in our heads. No really...we are!
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#1. Move Around
I can almost guarantee that you are standing to take 90% of your photos aren't you? Try moving around and getting different angles. And most importantly, come down to your child's level. Sit down, kneel, or sit in a chair. Being at their level will make a surprisingly huge difference in the outcome of a photograph. Then, move around and get different perspectives.
#2. The Best Light
Have you ever heard of The Golden Hour? Or the magic hour? The golden hour is the hour just before sunset, and the hour just after sunrise. It is the time of day when the sunlight is the absolute best light to take photos with. The reason is because the sun light is more filtered coming to the earth than it would be at mid day where it is too harsh and bright. The light is soft and has more of a warm glow. Walk around your house and yard at these times of day and find the sweet spot. I promise you this tip for lighting will make a significant difference in your photographs.
*Side Note* Do not use flash. Most cameras have the option to turn the flash off.
Moms, when we hear that word declutter, we think about the hours we spend cleaning out our kids rooms right? All the toys they get for Christmas that end up in the closet collecting dust. Or the hundreds of DIY crafting projects that they just HAD to make and then end up shoved into a drawer. Don't worry. I'm not telling you that you need to stop and clean everything out before you take photos of your kids. What I mean by decluttering, is pay attention to what is surrounding your subject. Your focus is your tiny human. You want everyone that views this image, to focus on your child. Therefore, you don't want the viewer's eyes drawn to the Popsicle wrapper laying on the floor next to them. Or if you are outside, you don't want it to look like trees are coming out of your kids head. Or the dog licking his butt in the background. Yep. It happens. Just do a quick scan of the surrounding area and, declutter.
#4. Take Multiple Images
All DSLR cameras (even entry level) have the option to shoot in continuous mode. That is when you hold the button down and take multiple images at once. Why do you want to take multiple images of the same pose? Many reasons: Kids can't sit still! They blink. They have an itch. They don't know how to act infront of a camera. If you are outside, bugs fly. Wind blows. There are times when I have sessions with toddlers, that I will take 10 images of the same pose just to get the one shot that is the best of the best. And now that everything is digital, and not film like I learned on, it is completely OK to take many shots, and delete the ones that didn't work. However, Don't delete any of them in camera. Wait until you load them on to the computer to decide. A lot of times, images on the view finder on camera, look completely different on your computer screen.
#5. Let Kids Be Kids
Yes, absolutely we all strive for that perfectly posed still shot. But when it comes to kids, a lot of times that just will not happen. And that is OK. I have had a lot of parents have that expectation at sessions, but when they see their images, the candid ones are always the winners. Tell a silly joke and capture their natural smile and laugh. Tell them to pose because I guarantee they will pick a pose that they feel comfortable in. Feeling uncomfortable will always show in photographs. And that is not what we want the end result to be.
#6. Keep Them Entertained
I'm not going to brag, but ...OK, I am. I have been named "The Toddler Whisperer" by many parents. They come to our session and right before we start, moms and dads are always telling me good luck. Timmy or Suzi never sits still. I just don't know how you are going to get any good images. I'm going to tell you my secret! For toddlers, they NEED a job to do. And here are a few examples of what I mean:
-Hold this leaf/stick down with your foot and don't let it fly away. If they move, remind them.
-There is a "fly" on my camera *point to the lens*, do you see it? Make sure it stays right there and doesn't move!
-There is a bunny in the shrub over there *point behind you*, watching to see how you hold still and smile, can you do that for him? He is scared and doesn't want to come out to watch just yet. But he might if you are good.
Other ideas to keep their attention:
-Talk to them about their favorite character. Capture natural reactions.
-Let them pick flowers and hold them for you
-let them sit and tell you stories
If all else fails, the bribe always works! There is nothing wrong with offering them their sweet little treat as a reward for listening and being good while mommy takes their photo!
While these are things you may not have thought of, practicing all of these tips as well as taking pictures frequently, will all come naturally over time! It will become a habit!
I hope these tips serve you well! Try them out, come back and let me know in the comments below how it worked out! And hey, if you are interested in learning a little bit more about photography, come on over and join my group for bginner photographers on Facebook! You will get access to my Freebie Vault with tons more learning information, tools, and resources! Just click here!
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