O K A Y moms and dads! It's time to put the fun BACK into taking pictures of your kids. Don't just wait for family portrait sessions to get beautiful pictures of your kiddos. Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE seeing all my beautiful families a few times a year! I just don't want anyone to feel that's the only time they can get beautiful pictures of their kiddos.
I like updating pictures of my kids for their birthdays and then usually twice a year all together. I love and cherish those photos and they always make it up on my walls. Some of my favorite pictures of my kids though, are of them playing, doing what they do best. They are the RAW moments, the true essence of my children that I will forever remember them by.
Some of you may not know this; my son has Autism. He does not like his picture taken at all. Try and have him pose for a picture? You will end up with lots of tears, screaming and no fun for anyone. Not the best pictures. I became a stronger photographer because of this. All I wanted as a mother and a photographer was beautiful pictures of my sweet boy. I had to think of his needs too though. So I learned to still capture beautiful moments of him while letting him live life the way that works best for him. That soon became my style for all of my shoots. Capturing life as it happens, as it is felt, not seen. When you pose for a picture you are just seeing that. The life from that very moment, the RAW emotions that were felt, all go away.
So how can this be done? How can you still capture beautiful moments of your kids without all the screaming and crying? I will give you some easy tips from home that will help you get some beautiful pictures of your kids!
Tip 1: L E T T H E M B E L I T T L E
Allow me to preach this point like a Grandma at a Sunday dinner! Don't worry about getting them dressed all nice, have a great location, etc. Leave all that for you family portrait sessions. Just capture your kids in the moments of them being kids. You will MISS these moments one day. Relish in them, capture them.
Take pictures with spaghetti sauce on their face! Playing outside, doing what kids do best....getting dirty!
Get the pictures of them exploring in dirt! It's a great sensory activity and the best part is....kids are washable!
Tip 2: FOR INDOORS, GO FOR THE GOOD LIGHTING SPOTS IN YOUR HOUSE
Okay Jennifer....you said good lighting. What does that mean? It means the areas in your house with the most NATURAL LIGHT as possible. Windows. The more windows the better. Now if you're like me, that may mean only a few rooms. I live in an apartment with only one wall that has windows. So one part of my living room, my youngest's room and my room are the best for pictures. Avoid lights (ceiling lights, lamps, etc) if possible, they can add unflattering tones to your pictures.
Both of these were taken next to windows. There was a beautiful amount of light to fill the room and give it that soft airy brightness that's perfect for taking pictures of your kids!
Pro tip: don't just have a fully open window if there is direct sun light coming through (the sun is on that side of the house). Have something neutral in color that is fairly thin to help diffuse the light (white sheer curtains of blinds work great). This allows for natural soft high lights and will not over expose your kiddo's face.
Tip 3: U S E D I F F E R E N T A N G L E S
I teach this to my students in the very beginning. Taking pictures with your subject straight on can cause flat and boring pictures. Stand off to the side, peek around something, get down low, get up high. Anything to add to depth and variety to your image. Your eyes are naturally drawn to angles. Use them to make your picture more captivating. Allow the angles to help tell the story!
Just keep in mind...the higher you are from your subject, the smaller they will appear. The lower you are from your subject, the larger they will appear. Both can make for amazing pictures when used the right way!
Tip 4: C A P T U R E T H E I R P E R S O N A L I T Y
I have 3 kids. I never approach them the same way when taking their picture. When taking a picture of all 3 together, I make sure to incorporate something that will work for each kid. My oldest is an old soul with the kindest heart. I know when taking pictures of her I can pretty much do anything, so no worries there. My son, as I said before, does not like his picture being taken. So that means keeping him busy with something outside or just following him around as he plays. My youngest.....is a force to be reckoned with! Personality pours out of that girl like a waterfall! She is a sassy diva, who loves to dance, dress up and be in charge. If I can throw any of that into the mix, I have a success for pictures!
This picture was just a random nature walk. Nothing special, they're in clothes that were meant to be played in, but this image captures their personalities so well. It's pictures like this that I love the most.
Wild hair, playing outside, but that crazy facial expression is my Carli to a T!
Pro tip: avoid direct sunlight! I love me some sunshine, especially for pictures but 11am-3pm is the WORST time for out door pictures. If you do not know how to take pictures in harsh sun light, find some shade, where there is light exposure but not directly on you.
Tip 5: J U S T H A V E F U N
We are going to go back with the concept of let them be little. Let them have fun and YOU too! The best time for pictures is when they're playing, exploring, and all those silly talks when they say off the wall things!
Normally I put all cameras and phones up during meal time. However, this girl was hamming it up one day during lunch. So yea...haha I took some pictures!
Catch them in their own world, fighting invisible ninjas and saving the world!
My oldest is always randomly dancing. So I try to catch her in the moment.
Whatever it may be, just have fun. Leave all the stress and worries behind. Pictures were meant to tell stories, to let beautiful moments in time live on forever.
To get more inspiration of capturing your kids in the moment, check out my videography page here
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