You’re only a few clicks away from shooting the best ever photos of your children. Follow our 10 quick tips to instantly improve your photography. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a smartphone, compact camera or even a DSLR, these tips will work for everyone.
Think about the backgroundWhen you’re focusing all of your attention on the child in the foreground, it’s easy to forget about what’s behind them. The background is equally as important when it comes to making a good photo a great photo. Use plain walls, foliage and trees as a backdrop. Try to avoid distractions like people and cars.
Get down to the right levelWhen shooting portraits it’s best to get down to the level of your subject. This might even mean laying on the ground with your chin touching the floor. The advantage is that it puts the baby or toddler at the level of the camera, and nearly always results in a much more pleasing photo with a more professional finish.
Try timeless black & whiteBlack & white adds a beautiful timeless quality to your photos, and removes distracting colours. Almost all cameras have a black & white function that can be found in the menu under settings like Shooting Styles or Picture Controls. Just don’t forget to change the setting back to colour when you’re finished.
Have funMeal times can be messy, but that also means a fantastic photo opportunity. When your toddler or baby has finished eating, take a photo when their face is covered in food. The whole process will make you laugh, they’ll laugh, and you’ll have the makings of a photo that will make you chuckle for years.
Use props and unusual anglesWe’ve already said that it’s best to get down to the level of the child, but it’s not always the case. Using the floor as a background opens up a world of fun and creative possibilities. Incorporating a child’s favourite toys, like the cars in our example, can make another ‘boring photo’ session much more fun.
Be spontaneousIt’s a bit of a cliché among photographers when someone says you should always keep a camera to hand, but with children it’s a must. You really never know when a photo opportunity will present itself, so always have one nearby to capture spontaneous moments as they unfold.
Shoot close-up detailsTiny hands and feet don’t stay that way for long, so grab a few shots of your sleeping baby while they’re still small. To crop in tight, zoom in with your lens and try to fill as much of the LCD screen as possible. For an extra touch, you can also carefully position a blanket to frame the hands or feet.
Use natural light rather than flashFlash can produce flat direct light that loses any sense of atmosphere. For stunningly simple newborn photos, position your baby next to a window on a white blanket to create a clean background. Use a sheet of white paper to bounce the soft window light back onto the baby.
It’s not always about the faceSometimes the best images are simple snapshots that capture an activity. Rather than simply snapping away, try different viewpoints and angles to find something new that works. We’re all guilty of being obsessed with beaming smiles in every shot, but sometimes a turned back can do a much better job.
Use seasonal inspirationWhatever the time of year there will be activities, items of clothing and even toys that provide the perfect theme for a photo. Woolly hats, scarves and gloves make excellent props in the winter. In the summer take advantage of paddling pools, tents and long meadow grass. The possibilities are endless.
Tips courtesy of James Abbott from Practical Photography magazine.