As Debs is still out of action, and photography is normally her ‘bag’, I thought I would use the opportunity to bring you my top tips for photographing little people! Now, I’m no professional, far, far from it, but I do have a lot of experience of photography attempts on wriggly, sulky, whinging kids (did I mention how lovely they are?!) and I know how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to get a good shot for relatives/thank you cards/the empty frame on the mantelpiece.
Numero uno: Relax
They say animals can smell fear. Well kids can smell stress! And it’s contagious. So caaaalm down and they will follow. Don’t worry if it’s not going well. Put the camera down and try again tomorrow. Never try to get a specific shot of your kids if it needs to be done that day – Sod’s law says it simply will not happen.
Awesome image credit: Wallcoo
If you have toddlers that are walking, leave them sitting to get themselves up. Otherwise? You stand them up and by the time you’ve brought the camera to your eye, they’re halfway down the street/across the field/up the trouser leg of a passing stranger.
Awesome image credit: Margaret Gruesbeck
Dress them comfortably. Sounds like common sense hey? But it’s so easy to put the dress on that Auntie Marjorie bought for Christmas, just because it’s beautiful, and find that it’s in their face or they’re tripping over it and causing havoc. Remember, there’s nothing more beautiful than a naked baby. Keep it simple, especially with younger children.
Image of Beatrice from my own collection
Happy kids look happy! The temperature can change whether you’re inside or out, so layers are always a good idea for keeping kids comfortable.
Awesome image of Alice by Gavin Trezise
For outside shoots – steer clear of direct sunlight. Although I love a sunny day shot, there’s nothing worse than bright sunshine causing your child to squint at the camera. If you’re outside on a sunny day, try to keep in the shade. Under the trees with dappled light can give a lovely effect. The light will be bright enough without ending up with those squinty, heads down shots.
Awesome image credit: Belinda McCarthy
For indoor shoots – try to have as much natural light available as possible. Conservatories are the best for this, but big, bay windows can have the same effect. Flash light just doesn’t give the same results.
Awesome image credit: I Heart Faces
Focus their attention. Try to have something to keep their interest. Special toys or books that you know they love and will keep them occupied will help to stop boredom and help you to get some more naturally happy shots. If you’re planning to be outside, find somewhere interesting for them to be. Dried leaves to throw around or sand to build castles with are examples of easy entertainment providers.
Awesome image credit: Better Photo
Colour co-ordination. Make sure your babies are co-ordinated. It might sound a bit psycho-mummy, but it’s important. If you wouldn’t choose to wear the colours together, don’t dress your children in them together. They will look awful, no matter how beautiful they are.
Image of Alice and Beatrice from my own collection.
Keep in mind that eye contact is not necessary. Don’t try to force them to look into the camera. The most natural shots are usually taken when they are genuinely interested in something else or smiling at a sibling.
Awesome image credit: Bertie Plaatsman
And last but not least, your camera. Do not go out and spend hundreds of pounds on a top of the range camera. But do use the best camera you have available to you. Some of the best pictures I have of my two were taken on the camera on my mobile phone. As long as you include as much natural light as possible, and take multiple shots of seemingly the same image (children’s faces change incredibly within seconds!) you will end up with good pictures.
Awesome image credit: Stacy Alonzo
So, I hope this helps you to take some good pics of your little ones. Please send them in if you do have some you’d like to share! And don’t forget to BACK THEM UP! Once you get that good photo, you won’t want to lose it!