Children photography is one of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent. It is a time when you get to be a photographer as well as a parent. But as with most aspects of parenthood, there are some tips that will help make your children’s photos more memorable and capture some great moments. In this article we’ve put together a list of our best tips for capturing the right moods, poses and ideas. We asked our parents and children to share their tips for the best children photography, as well as some favourite poses and shots.
1. Family portraits – When it comes to family portraits, it’s important to think about what kind of family you have. If your family is made up of lots of different personalities, try to get them all together in one shot so that they can be seen interacting. If you are looking for a more traditional family portrait, try putting your children in the centre of the frame, then place your parents on the sides of the image.
2. Warm light – Natural lighting is often ideal but if you can’t find natural light, try a diffused source such as a softbox or softboxes.
3. Bounced flash – Use a flash only when necessary and don’t use it directly above your subject as it will wash them out.
4. Backlight – To get a bright, crisp, backlit portrait try taking the photo from above your child and using a large reflector to bounce the light off the wall behind them.
5. Fill the frame – Using a large reflector to bounce the light off a wall or ceiling means that all of the main elements of the photo are included in the image and not just the face.
6. Soft focus – A soft focus image will have blurred edges around objects and people in the scene. It’s a good way to get a sense of depth and is often used for portraits where the person isn’t front and centre.
7. Use natural colors – Natural skin tones are generally the best colour but for older children, darker colours can work well.
8. Natural colors – Natural colours give the best results but if you don’t want a photo that is too bland, you can add a little pink or purple to the picture.
9. Inverted shadows – Inverted shadows can make your subject look bigger, more powerful and stronger. This is also great for getting more dramatic and interesting poses as you can place your child where they look like they are about to take over the world.
10. Make the most of the light – Take advantage of any light around you such as the morning sun. If it’s winter, try taking photos in the afternoon when the sun is low in the sky. The light will make everything look a little better.
11. Look for patterns – Patterns can be found in everything from your clothes, curtains, rugs, wallpaper and furniture so look around you and see what you can find.
12. Frontal pose – This is the traditional pose for children but you can do it with adults too. It gives the photo a timeless, classic feel. Try putting your child in the centre of the frame and placing something or someone else in front of them. They will feel more like a hero than an extra in the background.
13. Side on – A side-on pose can give the image more dimension. For example, place your child in the centre of the frame with their head towards the camera, then place another element in the foreground to add to the composition. This will make your child look larger and more important.
14. Over the shoulder – Over the shoulder is a great way to make a younger child look taller and more mature. Put your child in the centre of the frame, then place their arm up over their shoulder. The other arm will be underneath their body and pointing upwards which makes them look taller.
15. Under the chin – For older children, under the chin works well. If you are using the traditional frontal pose, you might want to move the subject slightly forward or back. This will mean that the light hits the subject under their chin, making them look even stronger and more powerful.
16. With the face turned away – To get a great expression from a child, turn them so that their face is facing away from the camera. You can also use this for a group of kids if they are having a fun time together.
17. In front of an element – For older children, place them in front of something big, such as a chair or bookshelf. This will make them look bigger and more impressive.
18. In front of a wall – For children aged 6 years and over, place them in front of a large, colourful wallpaper. You can also use this to get a sense of depth and create interesting shapes in the frame.
19. In front of a mirror – Place your child in front of a mirror to give them a sense of power. Your child will look more confident and self-assured.
20. Up high – If you have a younger child, try putting them on a high surface such as a shelf or a table top. It gives them a sense of height and makes them look bigger.
21. On a chair – For older children, use a chair as an element in the image. It can help give a sense of place and make your subject look even bigger.
22. Group shots – Group photos are a great way to capture an entire family. They are more likely to come off well if you take a couple of groups, each with a different setting, a different expression, or at least one where they are in front of something interesting.
Useful tips to take some great shots of children
But here are some useful tips to get some great shots of your children…
• Be prepared. Know what your child is likely to do. If they like to stand still, tell them to hold their position. If they are going to run off, tell them to wait. If they like to dance, get them to pose to music. If they like to sit, give them a chair or table to sit on. They will have more confidence in themselves if they are comfortable.
• Choose the right backdrop. Be careful of too much distraction. I like to use the backdrop as part of the image; for example, a family portrait could include a garden or a busy street scene. However, it can be distracting for the subject. Make sure that the backdrop is something your child would enjoy looking at and enjoy the view from.
• Take lots of photographs. Try different angles and different poses. It can be hard to be patient but children can change quickly and take a while to pose for you. The more images you take, the better your chances are of getting the shot you want.
• Choose the best location. A quiet spot away from noise and distractions. I like to capture images in my garden, on my front lawn, in a nearby park, or in my back garden. I think this is the best place for portraits because it gives me some control over the environment and it is an area that my children enjoy looking at. It also means that they know where we are going and will be less likely to run off. I like to take photos in the morning and evening.
• Choose your camera. You can choose a digital camera or a digital point and shoot (P&S). If you are new to photography, digital cameras have many settings you can change to make your pictures better. You can change the settings on the camera you use, but most P&S have the same settings as the ones you use. If you don’t know how to use your camera settings, ask someone else to show you.
• Be patient. This might sound boring but it can be hard to get the shot you want. I am not going to lie and say it isn’t difficult at times. Children are unpredictable, and they can move quickly or slow down. They can start playing with something and then decide to stop, or they can start playing a game and go off. This can mean that you have to try different ways of capturing them. Sometimes they will become more settled if you leave them alone for a few minutes.
• Take some time to edit your images. This is very important. Once you have taken a photograph, you need to decide what you like and don’t like about it. You may want to crop the image, change the lighting, add a special effect, or remove distracting objects. You also need to decide on the final print size and resolution of the image. It is a good idea to send your photos to a local printer, rather than doing them yourself. This way, you will be sure that the print quality meets your expectations.
• Take lots of pictures. As mentioned earlier, you may have to take a lot of photographs. Try and take as many different types of shots as possible, from close-up images to wide angle shots and panoramic shots. The more images you take, the better your chances are of getting some good ones.
Children Photography Ideas
Here is some great advice about children photography from a professional photographer:
“The best way to approach any photo shoot is to be open and be yourself.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. And don’t expect the child to be someone they’re not. You can’t force them to smile, you can’t force them to stay still.
You have to be patient. You have to enjoy what you do. Don’t make it look like work. And don’t worry about the pictures looking perfect. They’ll come out great.
If you’re passionate about your subject, you’ll find a way to make it fun for the child. Don’t force the child to be comfortable, you’re only hurting yourself in the long run.”