Having been in control of a camera for a good 5 years now, I think it is safe to say I have some pretty sound knowledge on the dos and don’ts of photographing children. I have run a successful photography business for just over 3 years and I don’t travel without a camera in my hand! One of my aims when starting blogging again was to offer advice to other Mums who are either amateur photographers or just want to gain a bit more knowledge and control of their camera! I could explain so much more with each of these points but I wanted to keep things easy to understand and not ramble on too much.
So here are my top tips for Mums when photographing your kiddies!
Consider your background
Before taking a photograph, have a look at your surroundings. Is there a horizon? Is it too ‘busy’ for the image you have in mind? Is your subject going to stand out? All of these things, and more, ideally need to be in the forefront of your mind when taking a photograph. You want your subject to be the main focus of your image so consider what’s around your subject too! If it’s busy, make sure you have a wide aperture so your subject is in focus and everything around behind them is blurred. If there is a horizon, make sure it’s straight! There is always an answer to every query.
Point Of View
On many occasions I have seen what could be a really beautiful photograph with one thing holding it back – the point of view from which the photo was taken. So when photographing your children, get down to their level! You will be amazed at the difference this makes. This tip goes for anything you photograph, consider the angle from which you are taking it. Obviously in some cases, from up high is great looking down. Capturing those big eyes or long lashes. Get creative!
Don’t say cheese!
I have definitely learnt this the hard way. Photographing lots of children of all ages, this is the one thing I say to all parents who step into my studio or I meet on location. “Please don’t tell them to say cheese!” I even have a print on my studio wall that says it! Just as an example of what saying cheese does. I feel my children have mastered this perfectly!!
So instead of cheese, depending on how old the children are, I either shout rude words (boobies, mainly. Although depending on the client, I may just shout poo!!) or tell them not to smile. This usually sets them into complete giggles. I’m not sure about your children, but mine do the complete opposite to what I say. “Guys, please don’t smile. I will be really annoyed if you smile at the camera right now…”
Ta-daa! A proper smile and it says so much more!
This is probably the most important of all! Again, I have definitely learnt this through experience and I am the first one to hold my hands up and say I have become sooo stressed when trying to get that perfect shot. Over time I have come to realise that those perfect shots are the unplanned and relaxed ones. Let them play, let them goof around and sit back and relax. If you have a zoom function, even better! You can watch from afar and capture them when they’re least expecting it. Win, win!
Keep all your pictures!
Quite often we get carried away with pointing, clicking, flicking and deleting. Don’t do it! In this technology fuelled era we are in, we can get so wrapped up in just pointing and shooting, then flicking through and deleting a load of images as it is just so easy to do on digital cameras. You’ll be surprised what you can miss on a little screen and you could have captured a cheeky expression that you discover on a bigger screen. You can always delete them once they are your laptop or PC. Invest in a large memory card and get snap happy! My husband is the worst at this and deletes so many on camera! Joe, listen up, I demand you to stop!
Now things are getting technical…
If you have a DSLR or a camera that allows you to change the settings of ISO and the aperture then super! If you are unsure on what either of these are i’ll give you a little breakdown (Will try not to make it too complicated. It took me ages to get my head around this so read it a good few times and don’t be disappointed if you just don’t get it yet).
ISO. This is the cameras sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to light and the higher the ISO, the more sensitive. The higher your ISO, the grainier / noisier your images will be so you want to try and use as low an ISO as you can. If you don’t feel comfortable switching to manual or fiddling with your settings too much, then keep your ISO on auto and your camera will adjust this according to the light.
This is the size of the hole in your lens that allows light in. Imagine you are looking through a tube. If you have a tiny hole, you can’t see as much and not much light is coming through. Make that tube super wide, you are seeing more and letting in a whole load more light. That is essentially what aperture does. The wider the aperture (smaller number), the more light it gathers and the narrower the aperture (higher number), the less light it gathers.
So for those beautiful bokeh blurry background shots you have been after, you need a wide aperture (roughly 2.8 is the ‘perfect’ portrait aperture). If you don’t want to use manual, on most cameras you can set your mode to aperture priority, allowing you to change the aperture and the camera will sort the rest out for you. Wahoo for technology!
I am more than happy to go into these points more, if you would like to know any more then just drop me an email or comment below! I was thinking of doing a post on the equipment I use with perhaps ‘What not to buy!’ as well? If you would be interested then please let me know and I can start writing some more posts!
Hope you found this interesting and learnt a bit more about your camera and how to photograph your little munchkins!