Do you like taking photos of your kids?? Yeah, me too!
But sometimes, I think we trick ourselves into believing that we have to have a GREAT camera or know exactly how to use it for it to be worth it to pick up our camera and start clicking. While I DO recommend learning to use your camera well, you can start taking better photos of your kids TODAY with whatever camera you have!! Here are my top 3 simple steps to take better photos today!
Step 1: Find the light!
You might ask…what is good light?! It is natural to turn on every light in the room that you want to photograph in and assume that is enough OR good light– but it isn’t your best option! What you need in order to take the best photo is good WINDOW light! Walk through your house and open up all the blinds/curtains/shades as far as they go. Then, take stock of what rooms have a lot of light pouring in. Look at the space near the windows, and also look at the room as a whole.
Pro tip: Rooms with lighter colored walls will reflect window light better and probably appear brighter. Those rooms that seem the brightest to you are the best rooms to photograph in! Also, a room with a sliding door or even you front door might be your best bet!
Once you FIND the light, that is where you want to photograph! Put your kid FACING the light that is coming through the window, and if they are up for it, move them forward and backwards a bit to see how their distance to the light changes how they look. Your subject should be FACING the window with at least half their face so the light is on them, not behind them!
Step 2: Get on their level!
Kids are little, and often playing on the floor. While it can be a fun perspective to photograph them from where we are standing or sitting as adults, in general, when you photograph something from above it makes them look smaller, and might not give you the full picture. I definitely recommend sitting on the floor right at their level so you can really capture them as they look- and so you can see their faces (vs the top of their heads!).
So if I first set my son up to play in good window light, after giving him some activities to do, I would then sit in front of him on the floor so I could capture him at his level. Then- just let them play! You can change perspectives for sure, but make sure you catch the right-on angle–it is such a cute one for little kids and let’s them fill the full picture!
Step 3: Think like a kid!
This helps you creatively photograph your kids, and also allows you to do so in a way that can be fun for them so they don’t try to hide when you get out your camera! Try and focus in on the details of what they are doing. Their little hands holding the cars, their feet touching each other as they read together, the book in their hands, etc. Tell the story of how they are playing! Even if you really want a picture of them smiling at the camera, let them play first! Interact with them while they play and ask them questions about what they are doing while you are photographing. After a little interaction, maybe you can say something that you know will get a laugh out of them, or that they will look at you for since it is all a part of playing vs “ok smile at the camera!” which often gets those forced, cheeeeeeese smiles (you know the ones I’m talking about!). Those aren’t all bad- but it is fun to get their real smile also!!
Good luck, mama, and don’t forget to take this one step at a time until you are comfortable with each of them! Don’t be too hard on yourself, and start having fun taking photos of your kids!
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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!).
As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids. I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!
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You're in the right place! As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business! I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).
I'm so glad you are here! Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business! I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).