I love instructables contests because they stretch me and force me to be creative. I am not a photographer, I don’t have an expensive camera, and I’ve never taken pictures of anyone else’s families or children. BUT, I do know a lot about taking pictures of my own child. I happen to think my child is pretty great, and have therefore taken A LOT of pictures of her. You don’t have to be a professional to get a great picture. I’ve learned a few things about photographing a toddler that I would love to share.
Any point-and-shoot will do J I have a little Cannon
Step 1: Capture the Emotion
As much as we love our little one’s precious smiles, I really think it’s important to try and catch pictures of all the different emotions they experience on a daily basis. Toddlers are emotional little people, and if we don’t take some pictures, it will be hard to remember ALL of the sweet little faces. If you do enough photo shoots, you’ll be able to capture all of your favorite “looks.”
Serious, quizical, mad, content, super happy, sad
Step 2: Fingers and Toes
If you’re like me, you adore every little part of that tiny body. You brush your fingers through their hair, you admire their petite fingers and toes, their ears, eyes, nose, eye lashes, knees, bum and belly button. Take a picture! Zoom in on it. Create a collage. They grow so fast! We want to remember how incredibly adorable their features were!
Step 3: Action
Toddlers are busy. Most of our time is spent chasing and rescuing, while they are completely focused on something else. When you take their picture, you should be doing the same thing. Take pictures of the things they do. What are they interested in? Do they love to read? Do they like to take everything out of the cupboards? Feeding ducks, bath time, climbing furniture, getting into trouble, picking flowers, etc. Take pictures of the way their body moves as they run. Or the excited look on their face when they see something interesting. When I decide to do a photo session, I usually take my girl somewhere that is interesting to her. I wear clothes and shoes I can run around in. I follow her.
Step 4: Angles
At their level
You want most of your photographs to be down at their level, placing the viewer in the child’s world.
Take some to remember what that child looked like from your point of view
From the ground
These can be fun pictures. It’s a view of your toddler that you wouldn’t normally see.
Toddler laying down
These can be super cute!
Make sure you get pictures of their profile, eyes pointed up, eyes down, and walking away.
The far away shot – Capture the tiny-ness
Step 5: Clothing
It’s fun to dress up our little girls in tutus, huge flower bows and wings and take their pictures, BUT I feel it’s important to take GOOD pictures in all sorts of ensembles. You want to remember those spunky, fancy, or out-of-the-ordinary outfits, but we also want to remember our everyday toddler. To bring out the natural, beautiful features of your child, dress them in something neutral and simple (No headbands, bowties, hats, etc.)
Neutral, simple clothing
Step 6: Light
I know that this applies to ALL photography, but I think it’s important to mention here. Lighting is everything. To take a beautiful picture, you need good lighting. If at all possible, take them outside for pictures and avoid your flash. I like to take my daughter to the park. It doesn’t have to be a super sunny day, overcast can even be better. If you must take a picture in your house because something is SO cute, open up the blinds, take the picture near a window. Play with your sunlight when you’re outside. Take photos at different times of day (my fav is sunset) See how it looks to have the light behind them, in front of them, etc… Digital cameras are amazing that way. You can take a gazillion pictures and go back later to delete.
Step 7: Get in the Picture
Whether you are a mom or dad, you need to get in the picture every now and then. You are important too and it’s important to show up in photographs every now and then. When your child is looking at these pictures when he or she is a little older, he’s going to wonder where mommy and daddy are. If you have someone around to take one, great! If not, that’s ok too! You can figure it out. J
Step 8: Don’t Be Intimidated by the Challenge
Taking your child’s picture frequently can be a simple and fun task. Does your child look cute today? Is he or she in a good mood at the moment? Take them outside to run around. Are you in the car already? Swing by the park. I keep my camera with me and charged all the time. A toddler session doesn’t have to last long. 15-20 minutes is fine. Be sure to take a lot of pictures in a session. Just click, click, click. It’s not easy to get a good shot of a toddler. Most of them will come out bad, but you’re bound to get at least one good one out of that session. You can edit your pictures with simple editing software that is most likely already on your computer. Taking pictures of your child can be a wonderful bonding experience.