7 Tips For Better Photos of Your Kids
Getting better photos of your kids can be a challenge. Every week I photograph kids in my studio so I understand how difficult it can be to get natural expressions. As I work, I listen to parents talk about how they take a lot of photos with their phone, but never really like them that much. “I take a ton of photos but never do anything with them” is a common complaint. I think that the reason this happens is that none of the photos are ones parents relate to. So I am going to share 7 really easy things you can do to help you get better photos of your kids; ones you want to keep, look at and share.
Out With Clutter
The biggest amateur mistake I see in all those social media photos of peoples’ kids is clutter. There is often so much “stuff” in the photos that it is distracting and chaotic. Clutter makes images “hard” to look at; too much sensory input. Here are things you can do to reduce the chaos.
- Cover or remove diapers. Every day I see dozens of baby pictures on Instagram where he or she is wearing only a diaper. Even for a baby, this is not the most attractive look. Diapers are distracting. They tend to sag and bag and create odd shadows and lines. They are bulky and so our eyes tend to look right at the diaper first thing. Hopefully, your image is not about the diaper. Take a moment to toss a blanket over the baby’s bottom half, or put on a cover, shorts etc. Or, if you really feel the diaper is something you want in your image, shoot at an angle that downplays it. Shoot from the top of your child’s head down, or place it in shadow.
- Take out the pacifier. The idea here is similar. Pacifiers are a basic day to day items in a baby’s life. But they cover so much of the face, it makes it hard to see. They are also distracting. To really see expressions and the shape of their mouth, the pacifier has got to go. A 10-second pause to remove it can take an image from humdrum to super cute.
- Tidy Up the Scene. Before you take that shot, remove things that are not important. Things like Kleenex boxes, remote controls, toys, odds and ends in the car etc. end up hurting your images. Try to get rid of things that are behind your child so that it won’t look like it is growing out of their head in the image. Clear away as much as you can so the focus is where you want it; on your cute kids!
A couple of basic elements of composition can seriously improve and make better photos of your children. They are so simple. Just a side step can make all the difference.
- Stoop or climb. One thing that makes an image look dull is an average point of view. Our minds react to perspectives they are not used to. So instead of shoot downwards on your child the way you look at them most of the time, squat down and get to their level. Or climb higher than usual and shoot from much higher than usual. Alternatively, you can shoot with their back to you or their side. Get creative in seeing your child from new angles.
- Don’t shoot up your child’s nose. Nostrils are not attractive. I cannot tell you how many images I see, especially of babies, where the image is taken directly up the child’s nose. If you have a baby who cannot sit up yet, be sure to stand over their face so you are shooting directly over their nose. If your child is older and you are squatting to get a different angle, be aware of nostrils and avoid them.
- Centering is not your friend. Most people have the idea that if an image is not centered, it is not a good one. Actually, having the weight of a picture be on one side or the other adds a dramatic element and more interest to the image. Do not fear negative space.
Have your image professionally edited.
There is only so much you can do with iPhone filters. If you feel you have a great basic image of your child, send it out to a pro to remove clutter, fix exposure and clean up
Taking better photos of your kids may not happen immediately. But if you can incorporate even one or two of the tips above, you will find you like many of them a lot more. Sharing on social media will be more fun when you get hundreds of comments about how great a picture you took is.