How to Take Great Pictures of Your Kids

Introduction: How to Take Great Pictures of Your Kids

About: I'm currently a writer of photography-training articles.

This article offers tips on the type of equipment needed as well as instructions on how  to take great pictures of your kids.

Step 1: You Need the Proper Equipment

For starters, you need:

• A decent camera. If your camera is just a step up from making cave drawings, you should probably invest in some equipment.
• Some basic skills that enable you to use that decent camera. If you don’t know your way around a camera, take the time to learn. You will be glad you did. There are some great online photography courses that are both affordable and convenient. You will never get these years back; so don’t put off improving your photography skills until you “have more time”. By the time you “have more time,” your kids will be grown. Are you really going to care as much about getting great photos of your balding, middle age children?
• Cute kids. It’s possible to take great photographs of not-so-cute kids, but it is much more challenging. Oh, well… Work with what you’ve got. It’s probably not worth going out and getting new kids, and you’re probably pretty fond of yours.

Step 2: Things to Remember

When attempting to take portraits of your children, remember:

• Remove visual clutter. It’s nice to be able to photograph your children in their natural habitat, but their natural is probably filled with five trillion Legos and every dream Barbie has ever had. (That woman needs to pick a career and stick with it.) We become immune to the clutter in our own homes. It’s fine to take a few shots of some of your children with their special toy, but your scrapbooks shouldn’t look like an ad for FAO Schwarz.
• Outdoor shots are timeless. Harvest gold carpeting and lava lamps age interior photos. But grass is always green. Sky is always blue. And flowerbeds always need weeding. Timeless! Overcast days create the most beautiful photos because the colors “pop”.
• If you need help with finding the proper indoor lighting, this is where you can be greatly helped by taking an online photography course.

Step 3: Who Shot Jr.?

The idea is for your home-done photos to have a professional flare to them. Learning to take great pictures of your kids takes some effort. You don’t want them to stick out like the home permanents your mother used to give you!

You might try some of the following shots:

• Have your child lie on a favorite family quilt, in the grass. If the quilt is a “busy” pattern, dress the child in something simple and monochromatic. There shouldn’t be a lot of competing colors.
• Capture your child being a child. Children like to run through sprinklers and eat ice cream. Don’t wait for them to look like they’re going to a cotillion. Childhood is joyously messy! Let some of your pictures reflect that.
• Play with angles. Get down on their level. Stand on a chair and look down. Perspective changes everything.
• Go in close. Dare to fill the frame.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    thank you for sharing. i am always trying to take better pics


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's very good to hear danlyne07, and thanks for the stars.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    9 years ago on Introduction

    In high school our camera club advisor said said we should get close. When we think we are too close, we should get closer yet to the subject. Henri Cartier-Bresson was a famous French photographer who got very expressive pictures of people in all sorts of situations. He took most of his photos within about four feet of his subjects. He dressed in a way that people would pay little attention to him. He also gave people enough time to begin to ignore him. Then they became themselves and then he took his pictures.

    Another good technique is to pre-focus the camera for a distance you like to use, if your camera allows you to focus the lens manually. Practice judging that distance so you can recognize it instinctively. Then either wait until the subject moves into an area that distance from you, or move to that distance from your subject. Also, pre-set the proper exposure. When a moment presents itself, you will be able to squeeze off an exposure without giving a thought to any of the settings on your camera.

    Even outdoors lighting, especially shadows, can be a problem. Try to keep on the side of your subject that has the lighting you want. Pictures of people do not work very well when the background is brighter than the tone of the skin on faces. In step 2 the photographer used some fill-in flash because the lighting was not optimal for the angle of view. Some newer cameras can be set to give the proper amount of fill-in flash automatically. Otherwise, getting the right setting requires some mental agility and planning.

    Another good tip is to take many more photos than you can possibly use. It is a way of increasing the likelihood you will get exactly the expression you want. That can be expensive with a film camera, but is easy and inexpensive with a digital camera.