When I shared a few photos of Alba on Instagram earlier this week, I was flooded with messages (OK, about 10 messages) from people asking for tips on how to take photos of their kids.
I wasn’t planning on writing a whole blog post about this. I’m not a professional photographer. I almost never take my camera out of auto, so I feel like a total fraud to give a tip.
But I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t want to take more photos of their beautiful children. Pictures of kids when they are relaxed, happy, and being their beautiful little selves.
I also feel that I have wisdom to share and would like to inspire and motivate non-technical, non-creative, non-photographers to take photos of their loved ones. I think.
As a travel blogger, I’ve gotten used to taking photos while traveling, mostly landscape, architecture, and street photography. Taking photos of children is a whole different ball game.
But it’s my favorite ball game.
I’m really happy to be able to take wonderful photos of your children. A gift to you, your children, and everyone around you who loves your children. It’s an absolute pleasure to have a collection of wonderful photos that document your child’s growth and bring back long-forgotten memories.
I know I’m biased, but I feel so lucky to have a collection of beautiful photos of my children.
I also believe that the best people to photograph children are their parents and loved ones. When you have a professional photographer holding a giant lens in your face, people freeze up and are unable to act naturally.
But when the children’s mother sits in the garden with a cup of tea in one hand and a camera in the other, the children relax. You can capture their funny, goofy, weird, wonderful, beautiful, fun little faces in a way that strangers can’t.
I may not be a professional, but I do take a lot of photos, so I would like to share some tips for taking photos of your loved ones.
Most of my photos are taken during family vacations and I love capturing special moments. But in reality, many of my favorite photos were taken within walking distance of my house. Photos taken in places we know and love are always the most relaxed and happy photos.
Remember that YOU are the best person to take these photos
I strongly believe that the best person to photograph a child is someone they love. As a busy parent, you probably don’t notice the look in your child’s eyes when they turn to you and show you what they just found. You’re probably just scared of the earthworm they just dug up or the floppy tennis ball they just found in the bushes. But your child will be happy and proud and will be looking at you with lots of love and waiting for your reaction.
If only I could capture that moment in a photo. Oh, gold!
Young children do not suppress their emotions when they are with loved ones. They are shy around strangers, which makes it difficult for professionals to take natural-looking photos. Yes, I’m talking about a school photo with a 1980s background where kids are laughing like they have a knife to their throat!
(P.S. The best professional photographers I’ve ever worked with have an absolute knack for making people feel comfortable. 90% of a photographer’s skill is not in taking pictures, but in being with them.) I think it’s about making them feel comfortable (thank you Mike O’Dwyer, Rosie Ann Butcher and Marie Lloyd do this so well!)
Digital cameras do make a difference
This is currently controversial. Because most people say “the camera in your pocket is the best” (that’s your phone!) and there are countless photographers who are taking incredible photos with their phones. It’s possible, but generally the best photos you can take will be taken with a digital camera.
Most people don’t say this because digital cameras are expensive and it’s unpleasant to be told you need to spend £500 at the first hurdle.
But I just want to be honest. You can take the best photos with a digital camera.
I primarily use a Canon M50 and love it. I have several lenses, but I basically use the kit lenses that come with the camera. I like this camera because it’s small and light so it’s easy to put in my handbag and I can always carry it with me.
another camera I have is a LUMIX G80 with a 25mm lens. This can be a little difficult to focus (when I hand this camera to Sam, the photos are almost always out of focus), but the sharpness of this 25mm lens is just a dream.
I also like that the LUMIX G80 has a time-lapse feature that allows you to continue taking photos at a set frequency. This allows you to put your camera on a tripod (or on a wall, bench, or stable surface), set it to take a photo every few seconds, and then jump into the photo yourself, making it much easier to get into the photo becomes easy. You can also use a Bluetooth remote control for the camera or use your mobile phone to control the camera from a distance, but I personally find this too cumbersome and don’t use it if you want really quick and natural photos. I feel it will take time.
Although cameras are expensive, I feel that the photos I take with these cameras are truly priceless and worth every penny.
It’s all about the light
Lighting is probably the most important element when it comes to taking beautiful photos. And the good news is that now is a great time to take photos because the fall illuminations are just dreamy!
I personally don’t like artificial light and can only take decent photos when I’m outside. So you’ll notice that almost all of the photos I take are taken outdoors.
When your child faces the light, you’ll get the best photos.
“Golden hour” is usually the best time to take photos. This is the time just before sunset or just after sunrise. It’s when the light is soft and beautiful.
Especially during the summer and during the day when the sun is strong, it is a very difficult time to take photos. It’s easier when it’s cloudy because you don’t get the harsh, strong sunlight that can make even the most beautiful little faces look unbeautiful.
The 100/1 rule
I don’t know if this is a real rule. I made this.
Basically, if you take 100 photos, you’ll get at least one good one.
The more experience you gain, the more that number will change. It’s probably around 30/1 at the moment.
But don’t let that discourage you. Anyway, all you’re looking for is one beautiful and fun photo.
I wanted to emphasize this so you know that I don’t just pull out my camera, take one great photo, and then put it away again. It costs hundreds!
I also think that when you’re only trying to get one good photo, there’s less pressure and you can enjoy taking pictures more than being frustrated that you haven’t gotten a billion great photos.
Even if you only take one great photo a month, you’ll still have a great collection of photos when your child gets older.
Gorgeous photos don’t just happen
Of course, sometimes that happens, but most beautiful photos are planned.
It’s no coincidence that we ended up in a beautiful location at the perfect time for nice weather and beautiful lighting. Oh, and my kids are all clean, happy, and wearing cute clothes. Oh, and I happen to have a fully charged camera and a clear memory card. And oh look, I just happen to have a pocket full of goodies to make them smile. Oh, and I have a picnic blanket and lots of snacks in my bag, and the blanket matches their jumper perfectly. What a coincidence!
It seems like a coincidence to them (and usually to the husband too), but this was all planned after seeing the weather forecast last week.
Plan your location and background
The background is a big part of a great photo, but it’s something that many people forget.
You might get the most beautiful photo of your child…but there’s a trash can in the background. Or maybe there’s an ugly railing, or there’s half a stroller in the photo.
Although you’ll probably focus primarily on the child’s face, don’t forget about the background.
That’s why I love taking photos in nature, especially in the forest. With only trees in the background, you don’t have to worry about unsightly things like railings, trash cans, signs, etc!
When you’ve found a location that works for you just keep going back
If you find planning location shoots too much, just keep going to the same location.
Whether it’s your local park, nature reserve, forest, or a particular corner of your garden that looks really pretty, keep coming back to it.
It’s much easier to take pictures in an environment where children feel comfortable and confident. You will also feel more comfortable and confident in a familiar location.
Don’t forget to focus and clean your lense
Most cameras have a feature that automatically focuses on your face, making it crisp and clear, but it’s not 100% reliable. Be especially careful if the lens is dirty!
There’s nothing worse than taking a photo home, looking at it on your computer, and realizing that your child’s face is just a little out of focus. It will be a little blurry and ruin the photo.
You can usually select focus by tapping the camera screen or half-pressing the shutter button.
It really annoys me that this photo focuses on George’s middle button instead of his face. The buttons are sharp and clear, but can you see how his face is a little out of focus.
Let your kids be themselves
The biggest mistake you can make when photographing children is trying to force them to do something they don’t want to do. It could be wearing something you don’t like, posing in a pose you don’t like, visiting a place you don’t like, or even standing near a sibling you currently hate.
Children will be happier if you let them be themselves. This can be seen in the photos as well.
Be an observer, not a director
There is no need to tell children what to do or ask them to pose in a certain way. Just sit quietly and observe with your camera.
You won’t be able to take great photos by asking your children to pose for you, but if you happen to sit nearby, you can take a lot of great photos while they play.
Stop as soon as they ask you to stop
When it comes to photos, you need to respect your child’s boundaries. If they tell you to stop, or if they start getting angry or bored, put your camera away immediately. Either way, if they get frustrated with the situation, they won’t be able to take good photos.
Show your kids all the photos when you get home
My kids love looking at the pictures I take, so I always take the time to show them each one. This makes them feel a little more satisfied with having their photo taken from the beginning and a little more involved in the process.
It also means we won’t ask to see all the photos you take while you’re out and about!
Don’t forget to get in the photo
Most people hate seeing photos of themselves. It’s okay, that’s normal! Almost everyone hates them.
But I’ll never forget taking pictures with my kids.
No need to blow it up and stick it on the wall. But please keep them safe.
Your kids will love looking at these photos (both now and 50 years from now) and you’ll treasure them forever.
I also like to remind myself that I will never look as young as I do today. When I look back at photos that I used to hate, I now love them. I even love the pictures now where my kids are babies and I look exhausted and bloated with my squishy post-baby belly. It’s a moment I don’t want to forget because it brings back so many memories (both happy and sad.
To take your own photos, you usually set up your shoot by placing your camera on a tripod. Then connect the camera to your phone and control it from your phone. We use a 2 second delay to give you time to click the shutter and hide your phone somewhere. I either do this or use the Lumix camera’s time-lapse feature (above.
A little tip for taking photos of babies
If you’re having trouble taking a photo of your baby, one of the easiest ways is to lay your baby down on a plain blanket near a window and stand on top of it to take the photo.
As your baby grows older, he or she will hear the camera’s click and start looking toward it.
This is another example of how the best person to take the photo is the parent, as young babies smile at their mother instead of smiling for others.
Don’t over edit your photos
You can re-edit it if you want, but be sure to save the original. Trends in photo editing change, so if you edit your photos to fit current trends, you’ll end up with outdated photos in the future.
Remember when filters and high saturation were all the rage? Yeah, we all regret it now.
I am editing using the VSCO app on my phone. Usually I just use exposure settings to make it a little brighter, but sometimes I add filters.
and finally (if you made it this far, well done!) just have fun! Have fun, be creative, and use photography as an opportunity to be intentional and focus on the beautiful details of life. Great photos don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes the best photos are actually shaky, out of focus, and taken with an iPhone. But they capture small moments of joy that you will treasure for a lifetime.
And as soon as the camera is no longer interesting to anyone, put it away!