Take your memories into your hands
These days almost everyone has some sort of camera, digital one or simply phone camera. We take thousands of photos every day, we record our lives in the way unimaginable just ten years ago. We share our photos with friends and family and on social media. Photography is a storytelling and everyone has a story to tell so let's see what we can do to make it better, to make it special.
STEP 1. CLEAN YOUR LENS
This might seem obvious, but it’s something that often goes unnoticed. If you use your phone to capture your child remember that phones tend to spend a lot of time in pockets and hands, gathering dust and fingerprints that can cover the lens. A dirty lens will often result in pictures that seem cloudy. So clean your lens, shirt should get the job done ;)
Step 2. does clothes matter? The types of clothes that work the best.
I try follow a pretty simple rule: clothes shouldn’t be distracting. They shouldn’t take attention away from what’s happening in the photo. This rule is pretty simple but it can be harder to follow than you think. Kids clothes today are designed to grab attention — with bright colours, cartoon characters, and writing all over them. Try to keep it simple and keep it plain, but the most important is to keep your child happy and comfortable.
Step 3. TRY DIFFERENT ANGLES
Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
There is quite a lot of interesting information about camera position and angles, but I will keep it short today. Most people hold the camera at eye level and take a photo. That's okay, but there are a few options you can try to make your photo more interesting. Here are some of the most popular camera angles that will help you influence people’s feelings when they look at your images.
- HIGH ANGLE - this is an angle where you tilt your camera downwards to face your subject ( your child ) it is also called 'bird's eye view'.
- EYE LEVEL - this is standard shooting position where you hold your camera to the same height as your eye level.
- LOW ANGLE - this is where you point your camera upwards at the subject.
- LOW POSITION - this is position where you hold the camera lower than your eye level. It captures a different view from what you usually see.
STEP 4. GET CLOSE
If Your Pictures Aren't Good Enough, You're Not Close Enough. - Robert Capa
A wide shot can be nice when you want to share our location, beach, forest, street. But when taking a child portrait background can be distracting. Come closer, show your viewer what to focus on. Babies and toddlers don't stay small for long. Be sure to capture those tiny toes and noses before the cuteness disappears. For super-close detail shot while your child is sleeping (preferably near a window, for the best light). If you use your mobile phone do not use digital zoom, use your legs instead. I love close ups, all this details we want to remember but the digital zoom on a smartphone merely zooms into the photo by effectively cropping in, making subjects appear closer, but with a loss in fidelity.
few more examples
STEP 5. GET DOWN ON THEIR LEVEL
“The first rule with photographing kids is to get the camera down to their eye level, or even below. Get in close, and focus on their eyes“ - Unknown
Get in close, and focus on their eyes. It sounds obvious, but remember that you’re likely to be much taller than your child. Don’t spend all your time looking down on them: get down to their level. Bend your knees, even lie on your stomach, and watch your photos spring to life. You will discover a completely different world.
STEP 6. PAY ATTENTION TO LIGHT, TRY TO AVOID FLASH & harsh midday light
"Wherever there is light, one can photograph." - Alfred Stieglitz
I always try to look for the natural light first. Try to not use built-in flash as it will usually give you harsh, unflattering light and you should never use it unless that’s your only option. Remember to turn off any indoor lights, which can make your subject look yellow. Search for natural light instead! Do you have a window? If so, that is all you need! Window light is my FAVOURITE because it’s soft and universally flattering. To start, ask your child to stand so that they’re facing the window, and then put your own back to the window. The window light will make their eyes sparkle even on the cloudiest day!
When taking photos on the bright sunny day most people think it’s best is to have your model (our child in this case) facing the sun when taking photos. But for beautiful child portraits, this isn’t the case. If the sun is behind you, it will shine directly onto your child’s face. This will cause the child to squint – and you definitely don’t want that. Bright light on the face of your subject can also result in the skin being over-exposed (too bright).
STEP 7. SHOOT THEM AS THEY ARE (NOT HOW YOU WANT THEM TO BE)
“Adults tend to project what they want you to believe they are. Children are always honest and are comfortable with themselves. They lack that self-consciousness we seem to develop as adults,” says - Ryan Mills.
Whatever you do, do not say cheese! Instead try to make them laugh (tickles, snuggles, peekaboo, and ridiculously goofy faces) or simply be patient and wait for the moment. Look for ways to capture the beauty in the ordinary everyday moments. Life isn’t always perfectly styled, it’s messy and full of mundane, repetitive moments. Take the opportunity to photograph your kids just as they are right at this moment. Capture what they like to do, how they laugh and make funny faces, but sometimes they scream and cry and that is ok too. These moments are often worth capturing as well. If your child is in tears or is mad, keep shooting and see what happens. These moments of imperfection can result in fascinating photographs that not only tell a story, but also a glimpse into the hilarity of childhood.
STEP 8. CAPTURE THEM IN MOTION
Childhood is an amazing time, filled with laughter and mischief. As a parent, you want to capture some of these moments to look back on as the kids grow up. They have mood swings, don’t like to sit still, and absolutely hate posing in uncomfortable clothes. So let them play, run, let them be free and be crazy ... Set your shooting mode to continuous and hold that shutter button down to take a burst. Later you can go back and delete the blinking and blurry pictures, but you’re more likely to capture a good one amongst many.
Step 9. KIDS WITH PETS
Just like people, every animal is different. Some pets like to be photographed, and others don’t. With animals, you have to rely on a bit of luck — and constant patience. Aim to capture the photos when you are in the right frame of mind to do so. And if during it just isn’t happening and you can feel yourself getting frustrated – pause, put the camera down and take a little time out to just play. Candid photos, playtime, cuddle time is perfect to capture your kids with pet... be ready for action as it might happen when you are least expect it.
STEP 10. EDIT YOUR PHOTO
The maxim remains true: The best camera is the one you have with you.
I love editing photos, giving them a little boost but remember that no amount of editing will turn a bad photo into a good one. So always make sure that your original photo is well lit and well composed before you start editing it.
The App Store has thousands of photo editing apps that you can download to your phone. It can be a bit of a minefield, but my favourite so far is Snapseed. It has a variety of filters designed to bring out the beauty in your photos. But there is much more than that so check this little guide I have found for you on how to use it - Complete Guide To Using Snapseed
Bonus Tip: Get the Photos Off Your Computer or phone!
How many of us are guilty of taking hundreds of photos of our kids, maybe uploading a few to social media, and then letting them hang out on our hard drives in perpetuity? In all honesty, one of the most important parts of photographing your kids is to actually print the photos you take of your kids. There are so many great resources out there now, whether you want to send prints off to a professional lab or print a photo book right from your Instagram feed, there truly is something for everyone. One think to remember when taking photos on your mobile is to choose correct photo ratio, 3:4 or any thing close to it would be my choice . Otherwise prints will be cropped quite a bit.
Don't give up & Have Fun!
Finally, remember to enjoy it! Capture the fun that your children are having, but don’t forget to have fun yourself.