When I was little, my mom used to take us to a studio in the mall to get our pictures taken. Monthly baby pictures, school pictures, family pictures, Christmas pictures. You name it, we were there.
However, when I had my own kids, I knew that wasn’t going to be possible for us. Not only did we live waaaaay out in the boondocks, but there was no way we could afford to spend money, which we had very little of, on picutres.
For a few years, we were fortunate to live near a family member who was more than willing to practice her photography skills on the kids, but as soon as we started making a decent income, I invested in my own camera and few resources to learn how to take photographs myself.
Now, you should know, I am still NOT a photographer. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with as much lack of intuitive talent for photo composition and lighting as myself, but I read the books I bought, stuck with it, and learned, and eventually massively improved my photography skills.
If you’re like me, and taking your kids to a photo studio seems a bit far fetched, here are some of my favorite tips that I’ve learned about photographing your kids:
- Don’t make them look at the camera.
This is the absolute, without a doubt, most important factor in successfully shooting kids. They get bored and annoyed with us telling them over and over to look at the camera and smile, and before you get a decent shot, they’re in tears. It just doesn’t work!
Give them something interesting to do, and get beautiful, natural shots by photographing different angles of their play.
- Trying setting them up in the door frame. Our house is too dark for photography in the living room where the kids normally play. However, the light coming in the open front door is beautiful. The kids will probably think you’re pretty silly bringing their toy, book, or pet to the open door to play with, but the catchlight in their eyes is priceless!
- Get down on their level. Photographing from above is great in many cases, but you’ll find that for getting a good headshot, you’ll have better luck by getting down on the floor with your kids.
- Embrace the dirt and boogers!
Why is it that kids are happiest after they clearly just eaten a double handful of dirt? Beats me, but I know one thing – those are memories worth preserving! In twenty years, you won’t care about studio-pristine pictures, but those memories of them being who they actually are will be priceless.
I mentioned above, that I read several books, and took a few courses on photography after I got my camera. Many (but not all!) of them were food photography books, which I loved, because the principals of composition apply to all kinds of photography!
Here are my top resources:
- Tasty Food Photography <– This one teaches all the principles, plus photo editing.
- DSLR Photography Made Easy <— This one is free!
- Shultz Photo School <— This one is specifically for parents!