From special effects to papping the unexpected, boost your child photography skills with these professional tips
Ever since we saw the incredible photos Russian mum Elena Shumilova took of her boys with their pets, we’ve been in a seriously snap happy place. After all, there’s no better way to record all those mini (and not so mini) milestones your baby goes through.
And doing something a bit different and quirky with your pictures isn’t just for the professionals. Your smartphone or regular digital camera will still give great results.
Move over, Annie Leibovitz. It’s time to play photographer.
1. Think candid
Whether your child’s toddling around the park or having a super-cute moment with your best friend’s little one, spontaneous = memorable photos.
‘If you’re capturing something quickly, the most important thing is crouching down to her level for the best angle,’ says photographer Jess Morgan. ‘Don’t worry about getting her attention or eye contact – just snap away. ’
2. But if you do plan shots…
The key is lighting. Whether you’re inside or out in the garden, make sure your child’s face is towards the light source – looking out of a window, for example.
‘Having a favourite toy is good because it encourages interaction from your baby, and is something you’ll both look back on and have fond memories of when she’s older,’ says Jess.
3. Know your kit
Even simple digital cameras have settings that can make the difference between a photo to keep and one that has you reaching for the delete button.
'The shutter speed of your camera influences the focus, which makes a big difference'
‘The shutter speed of your camera influences the focus, which makes a big difference when you have a moving child,’ explains Jess. ‘If it’s slow, you’ll get quite a blurred image, so experiment with different speeds until you get a result you like.’
Some cameras have a sport mode, which freezes your baby’s movement.
4. Embrace the blur
There are times when a lack of focus can be ideal, though – imagine a sharp image of your toddler looking at flowers in front of a softly blurred hedge.
‘Find the portrait mode on your camera or play around with a setting called the aperture-priority,’ says Jess. ‘This affects how much of your image is in focus when you take it, and gives a smooth haze over the background while your child stands out.’
5. Play with editing
Editing software for working on your photos can be expensive, but Photoshop Elements is a simplified version of the original and costs around £70.
‘As well as Instagram, you can also buy phone apps such as Colour Splash to make certain colours “pop” and appear more vibrant – perhaps the blue in your toddler’s eyes or the pink in her scarf,’ says Jess.
There are also other programs that create image collages, including Photo Wall Pro.
What’s your tip for taking great pictures of your kids? Let us know below.