We all love to get professional portraits done of our little ones as they are growing up, but today I wanted to share a few ideas on how to get the most of the snapshots you take at home. Using these simple techniques you can dramatically improve the way you capture these moments, whether you’re using a digital SLR or a camera phone.
1. Finding the Light
As a professional photographer, before I begin shooting, my first job is to look at the quality of light. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to be talking about soft, even light that looks great when photographing kids and is really easy to get right.
Natural light is one of the best ways to get this look. If you’re outside on an overcast day then you’re in luck! The clouds act as a big diffuser creating really pretty, soft light and you can pretty much take photos anywhere. If the sun comes out it can get a bit trickier. The best thing to do is place your little ones at the edge of a shaded area to avoid any harsh shadows.
If you’re looking to get some pictures of your little ones inside, just turn them towards a window or open door to utilise the natural light. If it’s quite bright out side you can move them back a little bit to soften the shadows, just remember to turn off any artificial lights.
2. Clean Backgrounds
Another great way to make your pictures look more stylised is to have a quick look at the background. Anything that doesn’t add something to the image is a distraction. By moving it out of the shot you get a nice, clean, professional looking photograph.
A catchlight is a reflection of light in the eyes. By having your child positioned towards the light source you get a gorgeous little highlight which really brings an image to life.
When I’m photographing children I’m always looking for a way to get those natural smiles and those little looks that really capture your children’s personality. As a parent, you’ve got the upper hand! You know what silly things make your kids smile, what games they love to play, and what makes them happy. So, instead of drawing attention to the fact that they’re having their photo taken, use these little tricks to get the best out of them. Turn it into a game. No need for “look at the camera and say cheeeeeese!”.
Before a session, most parents will ask me what to dress their children in. I would always advise to start with something they feel comfortable in. A happy child makes for great pictures! I do tend to recommend avoiding anything that could go out of fashion too quickly. I still cringe when I see myself as a toddler in a poofed up purple dress with a pair of round, thick rimmed glasses…but hey, it was the eighties!
Think about how the colours work with the background. Complimentary colours harmonise beautifully, but a bit of contrast draws your eye to one particular part of the image.
6. Close – Ups
Don’t shy away from getting close in with the camera. It’s a great way to draw attention to the eyes and is the best way to exaggerate long eyelashes.
7. It’s all in the Details
I love taking pictures of baby’s hands and feet as these little details are often forgotten. Show the scale by having your little one hold your partners hand or by standing a toddler in your shoes.
8. Telling the Story
Include props to add context to the image. If you’re making cakes, a little chef’s hat and a apron makes a cute image that will bring back fond memories of the day when you look back on it. Taking pictures with their favourite toys, comforters or blankets is also perfect way to remember the things they love.
9. Patience is a Virtue
It can take time to get the picture you’re looking for. Avoid snapping away in the hope that you’ll get a good picture. Take your time and wait for that perfect moment before you take the photograph. If you don’t feel like it’s working, just take a break and come back to it later…having treats on hand always helps!
10. Make the Most of Your Pictures
In this day and age it’s so easy to have hundreds or thousands of photographs stored on your phone or computer. The trouble is they rarely get viewed. Why not make a photobook of a few of your favourite images or create a slideshow to one of your favourite songs. They make great gifts for friends and family and are presented in a way that you can really appreciate them.
If you’re looking to get some professional pictures of your little ones or if you’re just looking for some inspiration, you can visit my website at www.sarahelliottphotography.co.uk.