Thursday, 24 December 2015

Tips for Photographing Children Like a Pro

We are thrilled to have our guest blogger back (yes, I, I mean...encouraged my hubby to write a post again) to help give us some tips on how to capture memorable photos of our wee ones:

We all do it...snap hundreds of pics of our kids hoping to capture at least a few winners to display proudly on Facebook or in the annual family calendar. This post will not touch on the technical aspects of taking photographs but will rather give you some pointers about how to take great shots with your existing knowledge of photography.

If the digital era has ushered in one major advantage over the analog era it is the ability to take thousands of photos, pick one you like, then throw the rest away without any consequence or cost to you.  Like cockroaches scattering when you turn the lights on, kids have a similar reaction to when you take your camera out and try to snap a picture of them.  There is no shame in taking 10, 20, 30 shots of the same pose.  When dealing with kids it is virtually the only way to ensure that everyone is looking in the same direction….hopefully.
1 of over 50 shots taken...finally he is looking at the camera!

One of the trickiest elements of photography to master is how to use a flash.  We have all seen those photos on a friend's fridge of people who look as startled as a raccoon being caught rummaging through your trash. Their eyes are red and the whole photo is bathed in a harsh white light with equally harsh shadows. So my solution, DON’T USE A FLASH!  There is a time of day called the golden hour….actually this time occurs twice a day, just after sunrise and just before sunset.  During these times the light travelling through the atmosphere gives off soft warm hues that will make your children glow. So, I know it’s hard to try to time anything with children, but if you can, try to take pictures during the golden hour.

One of the best tips to make your pictures seem more artistic and less like mug shots is to respect the rule of thirds.  Simply put, imagine your photo as a painter’s canvas, now divide the canvas into three vertical equal parts. Now next time you take a picture of your child, try to align their head with one of the imaginary lines. Therefore, your child will be slightly off center and the overall picture will actually appear to be much more artistic, balanced and pleasing to the eye. Well done….slow clap.

Ok ok, let me clarify something, do NOT point your camera at the sun.  Just like staring into the sun with your naked eye, looking at the sun can still cause retinal damage….and more importantly damage your precious camera!  That being said people always want to shoot with the sun behind them thinking that the light will illuminate their subjects. In reality it just makes your kids squint, squirm and whine that they are staring into the sun while you fumble with your camera.  Try taking some shots with the sun behind your subject.  It gives your subject a beautiful glow and their eyes will actually be open!

So in summary these are just a few pointers to help make your pictures look a little more pro!  But remember, nothing replaces PRACTICE.  Get out there and starting snapping pics!

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