If you are anything like me, you love taking pictures of your children. You follow them around with a camera or iPhone in one hand and a coffee in the other, waiting to document the ins and outs of their day. After all, they grow and change so quickly that it seems that a picture is the only way to freeze time. A quick scan of my camera roll on my phone reveals that I've taken hundreds of pictures over the last several months, and most of these images are of my kids. You don't need a fancy camera or a photography background - just a little extra patience and some cute kiddos and you'll be on your way! If you too take loads of pictures and are ready to start taking more meaningful everyday pictures of your children, then keep reading.
SAY NO TO THE CHEESE
We've all been guilty of it, shouting "Say Cheese" and expecting a beautiful, genuine smile from our wee ones. Let me be the first to tell you, the only thing you are going to get is, well, a big, cheesy smile- and who really wants that? Now, I will say that in certain situations when time is of concern (like when you have a mile long line of people behind you and you just REALLY need to get that picture with Mickey Mouse), then encouraging your child to say "CHEESE" may do the trick. But, if you are looking for an image of your child that will show their gleeful smile and showcase their genuine personality, then steer clear of those two words. Instead, be patient and engage your child in conversation. Sing with them. Find a way to make them smile. Because let's be honest, you know them better than anyone and know just how to make them tick. I promise you, it'll be worth it.
Most children are much shorter than adults. An image taken looking down on a child will definitely show just how small that child is, but this isn't necessarily a good thing. If you want an intimate image of your child, then you will need to get down to their level. Shooting at their eye level will give you a much more balanced image and will help you connect with them. Some of my favorite shots of my children have been taken while lying on my belly observing them. The next time you are ready to snap a picture of your child, remember to crouch down a bit. And, as an added bonus, you'll be working out those thighs!
GET LOST IN THE MOMENT
This is basically a fancy way of telling you to embrace a candid approach. Candid images are a great way to capture the essence of childhood without torturing your child by trying to make them look perfect or asking them to look at the camera. Watch your children in their environment. Let them play. Observe them as they gaze upon animals at the zoo. Instead of having them pose in front of an animal exhibit, why not photograph the look of sheer wonder and excitement that spreads over their face as they see the animals for the first time. Set up a pile of toys in a room with good lighting and let them play while you snap away. You'll become so good at it that they may not even notice you are there!
LET THEM BE SILLY
Take the time to ask your child to pose in a way that is fun for them. Let them be crazy, messy, goofy. These are the moments that you will be longing to remember years down the road when you are the proud parent of a sulking teenager. Nothing beats the fresh perspective of a child.
GET IN CLOSE
Don't be afraid to fill the frame with your child's face. If there is too much space in your image, the little details will be lost. Get in close to capture the gap toothed smile, the freckled nose and dimpled cheeks, and while you are there you can sneak in a tickle or two!