The weather is finally starting to take a turn for the better and I know the warm days of playing outside are just around the corner. It’s time to dust off your camera and get ready for some pictures of your kids playing outside. I wanted to give everyone a few tips on how to get better pictures of your kids’ everyday.
Tip #1: Take advantage optimal lighting conditions
The best time for pictures is just after sunrise and just before sunset because of the optimal lighting conditions. Although those may be the best times for pictures they aren’t necessarily the time of day your kids will be outside. For the rest of the daylight hours if you are able to shoot in the shade, this will give you best color and decreases the likelihood that everyone in the shot will be squinting because the sun is in their eyes.
Tip #2: Tell a story with your pictures
Don’t forget to try and tell a story with your pictures. For example, if you are taking pictures at a birthday party start early before everyone arrives and take pictures of the cake (preferably on a clear table without clutter), the balloons, etc…
Tip #3: Break out of the posed shot
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Try taking a picture of your child from behind running to the playground or just their bare feet in the sandbox. Experiment! Take a picture, check it out and take another…and another.
Tip #4: Get a smile with a good giggle
Instead of having your child say ‘CHEESE’ try a silly word or have them sing their favorite song that may get some giggles. Better yet, have someone clown around right next to the photographer. It won’t just be baby who’s smiling in that photo. If you have someone behind you trying to get your child’s attention or making them smile, make sure they are at the same level as you (i.e. if you are squatting on the ground they should be too) this way you’ll end up with a picture of your child looking into the camera instead of up in to the sky.
Tip #5: Don’t be camera shy yourself.
Make sure that the photographer gets into some shots too. I often forget to do this and end up with no shots of me in any of the pictures. If you are having someone else take a family picture while out on an adventure ask them to take 3 or 4. Hopefully you’ll have one in which everyone’s eyes are open and, with any luck, looking at the camera.
Tip #6: Use the right settings while in ‘Auto’ mode
Young kids may not stand still long enough to get a perfectly posed picture so have your camera set to “action” or “sport mode” to photograph a moving child.
Tip #7: Set your camera to maximum resolution
Forget about saving space in your memory card. Make sure you have your camera setting adjusted to take pictures at the highest level of quality. This will allow you to print your favorite pictures in a larger size while maintaining a crisp sharp image.
Tip #8: Take LOTS of pictures and always have extra memory cards
All good photographers take many photos. Don’t let yourself become limited by lack of memory. When photographing moving kids, it not unusual for half of the pictures to come out blurred. Memory cards are so inexpensive so bring a few and shoot prolifically. I recommend taking multiple pictures of similar shots. If your camera has a “continuous” mode, try it out. You are more likely to walk away with at least one awesome photo.
Tip #9: Always have extra batteries
I am a firm believer in always having extra batteries. I always have one in the camera and one charging. How many times have you gotten halfway through the day and then realized your battery is about to run out. Always carry a spare.
Tip #10: Don’t force it
Just remember, you are having fun and if your child doesn’t want to sit and take the perfect picture do not force it. What you will end up with is a very unhappy child who’s frowning in all the pictures. Just capture those candid action shots.