SINCE starting Three Li’l Princesses there’s been two recurring questions. The first: how did I start the blog (and did it cost me a lot of money) and the second: how do I capture such great photos of the girls?
The first question I’ll leave for another post. However, the second question I will tackle today. Please bear in mind that, while I have had some professional training many moons ago and did take photos as part of my job as a journalist, I am by no means a pro. You’ll need to visit someone like Carly Webber from Mamma-razzi or Darren Rowse from Digital Photography School for that.
So, here is my experience with photographing babies and children:
- Find when the best part of the day is for your child/ren. We schedule photo playtime for early in the day when the kids aren’t tired and the light is good.
- Often the best shots are candid ones, when they’re totally unaware of the camera. Go to the park, play around with craft or get them to do some other activity they enjoy, then start snapping.
- Use your zoom. By zooming in on your subject you create depth of field, which creates a beautiful blurred background.
- Consider your background. Is it too cluttered and will it detract from the subject? Unless you’re trying to achieve the above point, in which a busy background can look quite effective, keep your background clean.
- Avoid windows as a backdrop. It will play havoc with lighting and your subject.
- If you struggle to get a baby to look in the direction of the camera, dangle a noisy toy above the camera. This can also achieve that “winning smile’’ you’re after.
- Sometimes it can take 20 photos to get “the one’’. With the advent of digital, this is now no longer a problem.
- Get down to your child’s level. Taking a photo from your level only produces photos of the top of their head or distorted images. In saying this, sometimes it is fun to play around with different angles though.
- Think outside the square. Babies have the cutest toes, fingers and noses. Get up close and then zoom in on these features to capture something unique. If your camera has a “macro’’ setting, switch to this as it accentuates detail – exactly what you’re after.
- Use others’ photos for inspiration. My only disclaimer with this one would be to avoid Anne Geddes. Lovely as her photos are, she takes hours to produce one shot.
- Have in your mind what you’d like the photo to look like. Often it comes out nothing like you predicted, but often it’s also a lot better!
- When you get to the editing stage, consider changing the photo to black and white. Sometimes an ordinary photo can “pop’’ in black and white. It’s particularly ideal if your bub or child has the less appealing spots or scratches over their face, and can soften the look of a photo.
- If you’re taking indoor shots in winter and light is a problem, try putting your camera on the low light setting, turn the flash off all together or bounce the light off a wall or ceiling to avoid washing out the subject.
- Use the rule of thirds – that is, to break your photo into nine squares and place the important elements of your composition where these squares intersect. It produces nicely balanced photos that are easy on the eye.
- Some days the kids just aren’t in the mood. These are the days when it’s best just to pack the camera away. Otherwise, you run the risk of them hating the camera all together.
- My biggest tip would be to have fun. If you’re stressed by the whole thing, the kids will be too. Get out the bubbles, a ball, go for a run in the park, a swing or a slide and simply shoot.
I also attribute some of it to our camera, a Canon PowerShot S95, which I would highly recommend. Firstly, it’s compact, which means I’m more tempted to pop it in my handbag when I head out, as opposed to a full DSLR, which is too bulky for a mum struggling with two kids. It has full manual capabilities, while also having the auto option. It seriously is one of the smartest cameras I’ve used. I may even write a review on it soon if anyone’s interested.
What tips do you have for taking photos of your kids?