What parents don’t want to savor the memories of their cute, young kids? Whether it’s documenting important milestones, or recording everyday tenderness, great photographs are the way to do it. And let’s face it: the child-stage of life may be the cutest phase we have.
Don’t we all wish we had more of the tender baby pictures lying around, and less of the awkward teen portraits? Make up for your parents’ mistakes by taking pictures of your cute, young kids now while they’re still cute and young. Here are three tips for the photographing process.
1. If at first you don’t succeed, well why not try again!
I think the most important key in taking great pictures of children is, quite simply, taking a lot of pictures. Kids are unpredictable. They do cute stuff; they do gross stuff. They make disturbed faces very few would want documented. And they make the most precious smiles in the world.
However, the grins you most likely want to capture aren’t of the fake and mandatory variety. Taking candid shots can overcome that, but trying to capture amazing candid moments with an average digital camera can obviously be challenging. Hence, there’s the need to try and try again.
Even professional photographers can take hundreds of frames hoping to luck into one or two masterpieces. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially with the use of digital cameras in abundance. It doesn’t cost you, financially, any more to take a hundred photos and print five than it does to take ten photos and print five.
Since you’re much more likely to find great shots on your camera if you have a lot of options to choose from, take as many photos as you reasonably can.
2. Get in their faces!
Okay, so I don’t literally mean that. Maybe a more accurate title would be “Zoom in.” Often we stand so far back, or are zoomed so far out, that we miss the ability to catch the beautiful subtleties that make up the children we’re photographing.
In addition to the full body shots that you want, take close-ups. Take face shots, and hand shots, and feet shots, and whatever-else-you-want shots. We probably have all seen amazingly tender close-ups of small children, and those don’t come from standing fifty feet away from our subjects with un-zoomed cameras. (If I’m wrong, then I’d really like to see your camera!)
Experiment with taking close-ups and zoomed-in shots; try taking photographs from various angles. It’s during these experimentations that we often luck into the best shots of our collections.
3. Make it interesting!
Adding props and/or parents can easily create a desired effect that would otherwise be void. Placing a baby in a blanketed basket can reinforce a baby’s small size while increasing visual depth. Adding a parent’s hand to a photograph of the child’s hand can build a sense of family and togetherness.
Even if you’re a camera-shy parent, there are ways to include yourself in photographs that add to the artistry while respecting your own boundaries. You can hold your child up to your shoulder and have the camera angled as to crop the majority of you out, or you can stand next to your child holding hands in a way that the child is featured and, on you, the shot only includes your legs.
Be creative. Make good use of space, and strategically center (and not center) your subjects. Play around with organization and mix things up. You’ll likely enjoy the results of such efforts.