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4 Tips for Taking Great Photos of your Kids

Devon Takenouchi

Posted on July 18 2018

4 Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

School is out and summer is in full swing! Bring on the summer BBQs, hiking, swimming, lots of time camping and filling the summers with family memories.  What mamma doesn’t love to catch their kiddos being adorable in all the fun they are having, right?

Many times I see parents stopping their kiddos in the middle of their summer fun to snap a quick photo.  Family groups posed neatly in front of signs or landmarks. And catching that prize winning trout from the lake is definitely a snap worth taking!  I’d love to share a couple tips on how you can get the BEST possible photos of your kiddos (and, let's be honest moms, dads, pets, cousins and anyone who is partaking in the summer festivities!) and get on with really enjoying the summer!


Tip 1: OBSERVE THE DIRECTION OF THE LIGHT

This is the number one offender of poor photos! If you are going to start somewhere for taking great photos of your kiddos, this is the place.  Simply put your subject's back to the sun!! What this helps to do is create even light on your subject's face.  When we face our kids towards the light we end up with harsh shadows under the eyes, or squinting kiddos because the sun is too bright.  Another trick is to move your subjects into full shade (such as under a tree or onto a porch) to take your photo.

There are times where you want the backdrop to show in the image - and if that’s the case (and you can’t put your subject's back to the sun) take a step back and take a wide angle photo - think “little human, big landscape”. This allows you to capture the setting without worrying about how the light is shining in the kids' eyes.



Tip 2: ANTICIPATE THE CANDID MOMENT

When I teach photography classes we talk about “posed” and candid photos. Each are great to have and serve a purpose. Often we can see an adorable moment coming from a mile away; brothers are playing nicely, kiddo is walking the dog, friends are gathering to get popsicles from the Ice Cream Man. It is so nice to have your camera handy and ready to catch these candid moments.  


A candid moment tells more of a story of the relationship between your subjects, and may reveal more about personality.  Those little moments in between the posed images can help breathe life into your photos and help you to remember some of the quirks of your children that may long be forgotten.


I’m going to let you in on another secret. I still might do a little “posing” or positioning so I can get the angle or photo I see in my head.  After I’ve moved my subject to the location that I want I’ll prompt them to continue playing, once they have settled back into doing what they were doing I secretly snap my photos.


 



Tip 3: KNOW YOUR CAMERA 

It is often said that the best camera your own is the one you have with you at that moment. So it is helpful to know how to use it no matter the situation.  And let’s be honest here, 9 times out of 10 its your cell phone. But if you do have your DSLR handy it is well worth taking the time to get to know how to use your camera fully so you aren’t having to mess around when the time comes to get that priceless moment.

If you have a DSLR it is worth the afternoon to take a class to learn how to use in manual mode so you aren’t fighting your camera to get those photographs you want.  I would encourage an in-person class over an online tutorial - mostly because I like the idea of being able to interact and answer questions. When I’ve taught DSLR classes in the past I encourage parents to go out and practice, a lot, so when they are is that priceless moment they are ready and prepared.

And, just a side note, if you have an iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, learn how to use Portrait mode and use it often.  It really is a game changer and I promise you will love it! In the coming months I will be exploring some tips on how to take some great photos using just your smartphone!

 

Tip 4: KNOW WHY YOU ARE TAKING THE PHOTO

There are so many summer moments that we just love and want a photo of.  But I would encourage you as a parent to think about why you want or need the photo.  Photos are lovely to have, but it's even lovelier to participate in the memory with your family.  If you must have your camera out to take a photo have a purpose for that image - will it be posted to social media? Sent to grandma? Printed for christmas cards or for an album of your trip or event?  With the easy availability of cameras it’s way too easy to snap photos just because your kiddo is adorable in the moment. These are such fun images to have, however, I would encourage you to err on the side of being present with your family rather than behind the camera. Take a couple photos and then place your camera in a safe spot and enjoy your cute kiddos!

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