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Most parents who have a nice camera purchased it with one main purpose in mind – taking pictures of their kids. So why do some shots still look so “snap-shotty?” Here are 5 tips to take better pictures of your kids.
1. Learn to use your camera properly.
Whether you have a point-and-shoot or high-end DSLR, learning to use all of your camera’s features is a must. If you own a DSLR learning to shoot in manual mode is a must. There are some great online resources full of information and education. A few of my favorites are Clickin Moms, The Pioneer Woman (yes, she has more than recipes!), and Improve Photography. There are also a plethora of paid classes and resources like Lynda.com, or CMUniversity.
2. Edit your pictures.
Now, when I say edit your pictures, I do not mean adding filters to them until they look like Instagram shots. There are several basic photo editing programs that you can adjust white balance, sharpen, and tweak your pictures. I use Photoshop Elements which has features from beginner to expert, and covers pretty much all of my editing needs. Picmonkey is my favorite free editing program, although it is web-based and you can’t edit RAW files. You Tube is a great source for educating yourself on how to use the photo editing software that you choose.
3. Decide what style you like.
There are a lot of different elements that go into composing a portrait, from the pose to the editing style. As your browse different styles, note which ones you like. Its much easier to execute a photo shoot when you know what your end goal is instead of just snapping random poses in different lighting.
4. Use natural light.
The best time of day to take pictures of your kids is near sunset. You don’t want to shoot in broad daylight because it is harsh and unflattering. Pay attention to the way the shadows fall and light hits the faces. Unless you have a pretty thorough knowledge of light and exposure and/or quite a bit of lighting equipment, natural, outdoor light will be much easier and forgiving.
5. Plan ahead.
Get an idea of what kind of pictures you want. Do you want casual, lifestyle shots? Or posed pictures? Decide what poses you want to try ahead of time, and keep in mind that most kids will only cooperate for about 30 minutes maximum. Choose your kids’ outfits and even hairstyles ahead of time so you don’t spend those few minutes you have their attention fiddling with their appearance.
The most important thing to remember is that you are capturing memories of your children. I’m not a professional photographer, and I don’t stress when my pictures don’t turn out exactly like I had planned, because some of my favorite shots are candid ones.
Pull out your camera and start practicing!