We all want happy, smiling photos of our kids, right? Those photos do get a little stale after awhile though...so let's capture them do everyday things in a creative way! It’s completely possible to capture photos of your kids that are authentic, impactful, and that tell your family’s story. And let's be honest-we have A LOT of time at home right now! Let me start off by saying, I’m no expert at this. I’ve just learned a few helpful tricks along the way, and I’m happy to share my knowledge with anyone who wants to start documenting their kid’s childhood.
You can use the information in this post regardless of the type of camera you use. You can use a DSLR, a point and shoot camera, or even the camera on your phone. I won’t go over camera settings or which type of camera is best to use (hint, it’s the camera you already have). But the information here is practical for just about any camera, and for kids between the ages of 0 and 10.
Let’s get started!
Let Them Play
Play is the number one, most important thing when you are capturing images of your children. Letting them play allows your kids to feel comfortable being photographed. You will photograph them with genuine emotions and smiles. Capture them doing the things they love; puzzles, drawing, jumping in puddles, arts and crafts, cooking, etc. Anything that allows them to feel true to themselves is huge.
And when I say play, I mean little to no posing of your child. Keep in mind, these are essentially documentary images that allow you to showcase what your life is like right now. Feel free to guide them to a specific area of the house or the yard that you particularly like, or suggest an activity for them to do while you photograph them. But make sure it’s a fun experience for everyone by keeping it quick and easy to do.
Look for Light
"Good Light" as we photographers call it, is the number one most important thing when it comes to creating an interesting photograph. Light is essential to any image you take. Using light properly can take your image from Eh, to Ahhhhh! Experiment with different types of light. Try shooting in the same part of the house at different times during the day. You’ll see how much the light changes throughout the day. It’s also fun to see how light changes at the same time during the day, but during a different season. One morning it might be beautiful and golden at 7:30 in the morning, but during another season the light might take on a bluish or grey tint.
You can also experiment with shadows and how they impact your image. I love a deep, shadowy photograph where the subject is lit with just a little bit of natural light. Gives me all the warm and fuzzies. You can see in this gallery how I used the natural light coming in through the windows to highlight just the right part of my subject to illuminate his face or his hands. Having bright highlights and deep shadows will add drama and interest to any photograph.
Angles are Everything
If you feel like the photos you’re taking are flat and uninteresting, think about moving! No, not your subject-YOU! You will notice that most photographers are actually natural acrobats. We will basically hang from the ceiling or stand on our heads to get the perfect shot. Taking a photo of someone from the same distance, same height and same angle gets super boring. Once you have your subject in place, make sure to do a full 360 around them and shoot from every side. Get down really low, and then shoot from up really high. Get super close to them and take a closeup of just their hands playing with the LEGO's, then back up really far and get a wide angle of the whole scene.
Also, including layers in your image gives depth and provides interest to the story behind your image. Layers could include something as simple as shooting through a couple of toys on a table or floor, or through a bush or tree in the yard. Try bannisters, partially open doors, a stack of books, anything that can give your image a little pop!
You now have a good foundation for capturing authentic photos of your kids at home. Now it’s time to shoot! Grab your camera and get started.
I would love to see what you create! If you feel like sharing on Instagram, please tag me @jamie.lemaire.photography and let me know if this blog helped!