Okay, so I might be giving away some trade secrets here, but photography isn’t rocket science.
You DON’T need a big swanky camera to take great pictures of your kids, and in fact, the bigger and more cumbersome it is, the more your wrist will ache. Mine does, and it means that I don’t want to carry it around with me all the time, which in turn means that I may often miss that gorgeous shot of my kids doing something goofy and cute.
There are a few golden guides to giving your photos that extra sparkle.
If you’re indoors, try to coax your child close to the window (have the window behind you or to your side) so you can use natural light instead of your flash. The result will be that the whole scene will be flooded with a soft light, intead of that harsh flash which makes skin look pale & pasty and anything in background dark and dingy. Flash also gives your child ‘spawn of the devil’ eyes, which although you may feel like your child really is spawn of the devil sometimes, you don’t want them looking that way! Red eye reduction flash never really works, particularly as the pre-flashes tend to mislead the child into thinking you’ve already taken the picture and have scarpered by the time the shutter actually clicks!
If it’s dark inside, you should be able to increase the ISO setting on your camera which basically means that the camera becomes more sensitive to light, and you can take non-flash pictures in darker surroundings.
If you’re outside, try to position your child side-on to the sun, out of direct sunlight. That way they won’t be squinting into the bright light, and the light coming in from the side gives lovely contours to their face and a feeling of depth to the photos. Also, photographing in the bright midday sun can cast harsh shadows across faces, so try to take your photos in the much softer early morning or afternoon sunshine. In fact, here in England we are blessed (!) with frequent cloud, which conveniently solves our problem of harsh shadows from the sun, one upside of our climate!
If you’re using a compact camera, try to press the button just before you think you need to. There is usually a slight delay before the photo is actually taken, which can make the difference between a lightning-fast small person being on one side of the room or the other – and you’ll have missed that magic moment. Try to anticipate it before it happens.
If you’re photographing babies or toddlers, always make sure they are well fed & rested before you start taking photos. Grumpy, uncooperative kids do not equal shiny, happy photos. I know I’m grumpy and uncooperative when I’m tired and hungry, just ask my husband.
Lastly, try to discourage your child from the ‘say cheese’ style of photo. Ask a child to smile and you usually get some kind of gurning that might look amusing, but it’s an unnatural smile and doesn’t put any of their personality into the picture. Try telling them a joke instead, or poking them with a tickle stick, you’ll get a much more natural reaction.
If in doubt, hire a professional photographer to do the job for you. That way you get to be in the pictures too!!!!