Want to start taking more professional quality pictures of the kids? Here are 5 basic techniques!
You came to the right place because I have experience. 10 years ago I became a photographer for a company that specializes in little league team and individual shots. At that point, I didn’t know much about the capabilities of a DSLR camera (Digital Single Lens Reflex)! Since then, I have learned so many other dynamics of professional photography!
You have potential too! You have this incredible opportunity to capture your family’s “behind the scenes”.
These blips of the ordinary day create the most sentiment. The first steps, slobbering babies, sleeping angels, tiny bare feet, that glowing soft skin of theirs, sparkling eyes, fuzzy blankies, cracker-crumb faces, their smallness, that special look they give only you….
You can create beautiful photos of your family. Don’t be overwhelmed though. You don’t need 10 years experience to start taking great photos of the family now! I will walk you through some simple tips to get you started. And we will fill-in-the-blanks another day!
5 ways to get a professional quality:
#1 Use natural light
Think softer light! Use natural light by shooting outside, or near a well-lit window. As far as the best day and time… pick an overcast day. If it’s clear and sunny, choose morning or late afternoon. Even shooting in full shade on a sunny day will provide that soft light.
The first photo was shot on a summer day outside in full shade. The second was shot indoors with two well-lit windows. There aren’t any overly white highlights or overly strong shadows (except a little whiteness out of the window). You want to see soft skin and true coloring with this soft light.
#2 Stabilize the camera
Get those blurry photos? It’s because you aren’t holding still long enough. A photo that requires a slower shutter speed has a higher chance of becoming blurry. Lack of enough light will cause the shutter to release slower in order to capture more light. To fix this, stabilize the camera on a tripod, platform, against a wall, on a bench, or other fixtures. If you are don’t have something to stabilize on, get a good stance and exhale as you press the shutter release.
On this shot, I set my camera down on the rail that goes around this exhibit. No shake here!
#3 Use the 3 main shots:
Close ups are great in the fact that you really see all the physical details. And on top of that, close ups capture raw emotion best! Here my son was hanging out on our deck while snacking. Maybe I’m just partial, but this is pretty adorable!
Three Quarters shot (or head shot) are perfect for individuals or fewer people. When you are planning to print pictures to hand out, these are a good solution. It showcases a little bit of the personality and the outfit.
Full Length shots give a perspective on the surroundings and actions. Full length shots are also easier to use for unpredictable or uninstructed kiddos. Sometimes it’s fun to just let my boys play and for me to capture what they are doing on their own.
#4 Get on their level
For example, if your munchkins are on the floor, lay on the floor and shoot at the same height across. This helps attract their attention better. You won’t be seeing tops of heads as much. Peek out often from behind the camera too. Kids and babies are drawn to faces more than a lens.
Being on your kids’ level really helps you see from their perspective and it helps you to see their face (regardless if they aren’t always looking back).
Auto focus can be a great tool with wiggly kids. It locks onto your subject and focuses as you are pressing your shutter release button. For older kids who have a greater attention span, try manual focus. Lock the focus onto their eyes and face area. When the image is crystal clear, snap.
This is one of my absolute favorites! The best part is he was looking at me, with a few attempts. I was able to shoot this with natural light from a well-lit window and get a crystal clear focus.
Get creative with trying different focuses (in manual focus mode):
- Foreground (what is closest to you)
- Middle ground (what is between the foreground and background)
- Background (what is on the horizon or farthest from you)
If there is one thing I want you to get out of this, it’s that you are capable of taking great photos of your family. Just remember; Natural light, Stabilize, 3 main shots, Get on their level, and Focus.
Lastly, don’t try to do it all on your own. If you are trying to get everyone in a family photo, hire a photographer. They will be able to tell you if your necklace is sideways, or if one of your kids isn’t paying attention. But when you don’t have a photographer and real life is happening, it’s up to you. You’re only a few steps away from ideally capturing those sentimental moments!
And really, don’t be so worried about getting 100 shots that you forget to be in the moment!