Happy Earth Day, Everyone! Today is the perfect day to get outside while social distancing, of course. Spring is my favorite time of year to take Family Portrait and Mini-Sessions. However, with the coronavirus affecting us this spring, I’ve postponed or canceled many of my spring sessions. Covid-19 has not stopped your children from growing like weeds, though, and I would hate if you missed out on documenting this time of their lives because you couldn’t hire a photographer.
To help you create your own photography session at home, here are 5 steps you can take to take better photos of your kids at home:
- Follow the light.
The word Photography has a Greek origin that literally means “to write with light.” Light is the most important thing while photographing, and an unwelcome shadow can ruin your portrait. Be careful to avoid harsh shadows on faces while photographing your kids. One location that provides beautiful light at home is a large window. It may sound counterintuitive, but when you place your back to the window and photograph your kids playing inside, the diffused window light is gorgeous!
- Your smartphone has tools.
If you have a fancy camera at home, go ahead and use it, but if you don’t, your smartphone will work just fine! Many smartphone (It’s 2020, I can probably just call them cell phones? haha) cameras give you the option of turning on a grid that you can see on your phone while taking a photo. This grid helps you follow “The Rule of Thirds.” The rule of thirds is a fancy way to line up your picture in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Try placing the horizon on one of the horizontal grid lines, and your child on a grid intersection, then sit back to be impressed by your eye-pleasing photography skills! Many phones also give you the option to brighten or darken your exposure. Now is a perfect time to have fun with your camera settings, and find the exposure you like the most.
- Play games, offer treats, and speak their language.
Now that you’ve found beautiful light, and have your cell phone ready for action, the next step is to involve your kiddos. Some kids LOVE having their photos taken, while others avoid cameras at all costs. You know your kids best and will know what will motivate them to get in front of the camera. My favorite images of kids are usually candid. I’m able to get them by setting up a fun treat (cupcakes!) or playing a game like “tickle monster,” “telephone” or “tree tag” (tag, but your feet are planted to the ground). Natural, genuine laughs make great memories, plus, your kids may enjoy a fun photo session as a break from remote learning.
4. Get close
Let’s be honest here, most of our homes are not photoshoot ready. But that doesn’t matter! You want to remember your children and not the pile of laundry behind them. Take a step closer or zoom in on what you want to remember. Close up shots of little toes or hands are often favorite images, too.
- Take more photos than you usually would
Even if you’re only trying to get one smiling shot to fill the empty frame in the hall, take more photos than you think you’ll need. Kids move quickly, and it may only be a moment between a look of confusion and a glimpse of joy. If your kids are older, it may be a photo of an off-moment that you like the most. Unique pictures of little interactions and unexpected moments usually turn out to be my favorite images.
- Bonus – If all else fails, trade rolls!
Let me be the first to say that I would MUCH rather be behind the camera than in front of it. But kids are smart, and they learn from you. If you are unwilling to get in front of the camera, then they will probably be unwilling as well. If you are having trouble getting your child to be comfortable in front of the camera, hand them the phone and let them take a silly photoshoot of you instead. They’ll see you having a blast, and before you know it, they’ll be begging to trade back so they can be in front of the camera again. Remember, it’s your phone, and you can delete it later.
There you have it–my top tips for taking better photos of your kids at home! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and learned something along the way, too! If you end up creating your own family photography session at home, I’d love to see the photos! Please don’t hesitate to share your images or ask me any questions you may have. You have a lot on your plate right now, and I’m here to help however I can.
Finally, I mentioned Mini-sessions earlier in this post, and I want to give you the opportunity to be the first to know when the next mini-session weekend will be. For those of you who don’t know, mini-sessions are 15-minute sessions that happen on the same day as other family’s mini-sessions. They’re cheaper and faster than family portrait sessions, and a great way for you to get that perfect family photo without breaking the bank. Because they’re such a good deal, they usually sell out quickly. To receive an email when I open up my next mini-session weekend, fill out the form below. Thanks again for keeping in touch, and I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of your family!