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Photographing Your Children & Making Memories

Want great pictures of your kids? You should, and these tips will help you achieve that.

Young children are fast and often have trouble focusing, so you have to get creative on photo shoots. Take as little equipment as you will need – it’ll just lug you down and get frustrating. Also, consider shooting in burst mode (where you hold down the shutter and the camera takes shot after shot) or panning (when the subject is in motion and you follow them with the camera to keep them in focus and blur or streak the background and surrounding). And be patient – you may miss perfect shots, but you’ll have plenty of other unexpected shots.

Don’t make the kids pose and smile for every shot because you will just get cheesy grin after cheesy grin. Strive for various expressions. Get them in action playing with toys or running around; basically, make suggestions and let them take the lead. You could try the park, the beach, the playroom or their bedroom, the backyard, swimming, etc. Just try to make sure the background is simple and maybe colorful. In some instances the background helps tell the story, so be aware of what’s back there. Consider bringing in props – they could relate to things the child loves (toys, books, dolls, sports equipment) or upcoming holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day) or seasons (Fall would relate to a pumpkin while Spring would relate to a flower). Remember, though, that simple is usually better and less is usually more .

Location is very important – not only do you want the child to be comfortable and the scenery provide a great backdrop, but you want the location to provoke excitement. Find a place that provides a curiosity to explore and to play.

Photography by Kelly Heck

Photography by Kelly Heck

Think of the angle you are on. Most adults photograph from their level, resulting in average images. DO NOT hesitate to kneel or lay down to get a fun angle or to bring yourself and the camera to your children’s level. Even though they may be half your height, shoot from above, stand on a chair, shoot upside down, hide behind branches, in a flower bed – the list goes on!

Most people shoot from a distance to capture the whole figure and sometimes the whole environment and to be honest, people just don’t consider the whole frame, corner to corner, top to bottom. Really look around the frame and get VERY close on some shots – if your camera can still focus, you aren’t too close. Sometimes getting really close can alter the perspective, or to avoid altering perspective, you may choose to use your zoom feature. In fact, take a photograph of them from behind, of just their feet or hands, or maybe just a portion of their face. These can be very playful and help to produce a series of images that all work together. In one phrase – fill the frame with pieces that tell a story and make every inch of the image count.

Depth is great in creative photographs. Depth of field is your range of focus. A landscape photograph tends to have little or no depth, while macro photography typically has a large depth of field, with background and foreground subjects out of focus. Depth is a great feature to use with your kids – your point and shoot probably has a macro feature you can use when photographing your children up-close (and is usually indicated by a little flower symbol). And it’s a good tip to always focus on the eyes since this is the part of the image viewers are always drawn to.

In closing, the more fun they have the more genuine and engaging the shots will be. Show them pictures and if they’re old enough, let them take a few of you, tell them how great they look – make them feel special. These tips will help you capture your children for years of wonderful memories. However, don’t be scared to break the rules and flow with the wind. And don’t pass up the everyday moments. Eating dinner, playing board games, eating dinner, picnics, family parties – all of these are fun moments to look back on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One response to Photographing Your Children & Making Memories

  1. Great advice. I love 2nd picture you posted, it's really great even though it doesn't show the childs face.