We know how much you love your kids and want to preserve and celebrate their life and journey as they grow from baby to toddler to kid. It happens so fast, but photography can be a fun and rewarding way to enjoy and, to some extent, capture the magic as it develops right there in front of you along the way.
But as with anything with children, getting great photos of your kids can be uniquely challenging. Here are some tips for getting some beautiful, fun, and memorable photos of your children:
1. Work with what you’ve got, not just what you want
We all know kids have (often times somewhat goofy) minds of their own, and your idea of what makes a good family portrait may differ hugely from what they’re willing to sit still for or oblige. Instead of fighting against the current, work with it! As tempting as it might be to have the whole family dressed up in the same outfits, perfectly posed and staring at the camera with perfectly-synced smiles and no blinking (or crying!), kids aren’t going to fake their emotions or what they’re doing, no matter how much you want that “perfect” photo. Use that to your advantage instead! Kids’ portraiture is often at its best when you can catch them in a natural environment and state of being – smiling, happy, and playing in the fun world around them. Instead of trying to stick to only studio setups, get out into nature and roll around in the grass with them, and laugh and play! Not everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera for it to be a great family portrait!
2. Remember to get down on their level
If you want to capture the wonder of being young, get down to the level where you can see, literally, what the world looks like through their eyes! It’s a much different perspective when what you see isn’t faces, but kneecaps all around you. Taking photos of your child at your child’s level will capture their essence and the essence of being young and small in a much better way than shooting down at them from adult-height all the time.
3. Work fast
Remember you only have a limited window of attention span and patience when working with kids. Don’t waste a lot of that time fussing with your equipment or lighting rigs. Outdoor settings with good light can really be your friend, because it will save you time setting up strobes or adjusting reflectors, and so on. Typically the beginning or end of the day has the best lighting conditions because the sun and shadows aren’t as harsh.
4. Engage with and speak to them, not just at them
Sing songs, play games, dance with them, ask them to tell you about their favorite story or toy, or tell them stories as you click away. These things will keep them more engaged in the photo shoot than just telling them “ok pose like this, now like this” in a very rigid and formal way. If they’re very young and you want them to look at you, you can make funny noises to get their attention, or strike silly poses and faces to get them to laugh – or at least look at you with curiosity and interest!