Photographing kids is my speciality and I wanted to pass on my 5 top tips for photographing your kids. We all love photographing our kids, I know I certainly do, okay, I might be slightly obsessed with it and now my kids run like the hills when they see me with my camera. These school holidays are almost over, our little ones are going up a year at school, beginning prep, starting kindy or perhaps daycare. Now is the perfect time to capture those moments. I have put together a few tips to capture really beautiful images of your children. Photographing kids can be a challenge at times, the most important tip though is to have fun! Do not stress, if it isn’t working, put that camera down for a little while and join in on their fun. Sneak away if you can when all is calm and try again.
1. Have a look at the light, be mindful of the time of day. Harsh shadows and hot spots can really impact a gorgeous photo. Photograph early morning or late afternoon. I photograph in the late afternoon or early evenings, I adore the soft, warm light in my photography. Squinting from the bright sunlight and feeling too hot will distract your little ones and make them cranky. (you don’t want cranky)
2. Think about connection, connection with the camera and with their siblings. Don’t ask them to look at you. Instead, you could ask them to close their eyes and think of something beautiful, like a butterfly with pink spots. (Obviously you want to tailor that to what you know your child will react to) Hopefully they will smile hugely and open their eyes like my daughter does when I tell her to do this. If you don’t get the correct reaction, just talk, but don’t command anything. You could try silly jokes and dancing, that always works. Asking a child to smile and look at the camera will never work, they smile and it is never a genuine smile, or they simply say nope, not happening lady. The key is to have fun.
3. It’s not about capturing a smile, it’s about capturing a moment. Forget about those smiles all together. Photographing a child when they are deep in thought is always my favourite image. Capturing siblings chatting together or simply playing is always going to melt my heart, rather than 2 siblings standing side by side with forced smiles on their faces. Ask them to tell each other a secret if you want them to get closer, or to tell each other a silly joke. Play games to get them interacting with each other. It’s about that connection. It speaks volumes in photography.
4. Capture a moment. Little moments happen every day in the lives of a child. The best images of my kids are taken when they don’t even realise I am taking them. I quite often use this technique when I am working too. If one or both of my children are sitting and reading a book, building lego, laying on the ground or playing on the swings I will grab the camera and take that photo.
5. If you are photographing kids at play, they are often moving, and moving quickly, so you need to up that shutter speed to keep up with them. I am often sitting at around f250 when photographing children, I keep it there when photographing families too.
So, once you have that gorgeous light sorted and a high shutter speed, think about those moments now that may be happening in front of you, don’t distract them but simply capture them. To capture those gorgeous smiles interact but don’t command. Have fun and enjoy. At the end of the day, you will have a beautiful image to admire and along with that a beautiful memory of the moment you took that photo.
Enjoy ~ Kellie Johnsson ~ Family photographer Brisbane