As a photographer, I could not be more excited about getting the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and share this giveaway with you on behalf of the NAPCP (National Association of Professional Child Photographers).
First, let me tell you a little about the NAPCP.
The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. The NAPCP connects parents searching for child photographers in their area with its professional members by providing a comprehensive directory of photographers and informative articles on what to expect from their professional photography experience. Serving as a valuable resource for both photographers and parents, NAPCP continually strives to raise industry standards in child photography.
The holidays are just around the corner, and I am sure you are already thinking about and planning your holiday family portraits for your holiday cards, right?
Here are the top 10 tips for taking photos of your children, courtesy of the NAPCP. (I will also be adding my thoughts and/or examples to these tips.)
TOP TEN TIPS FOR TAKING PHOTOS OF YOUR CHILDREN
1. Get on their level: Lay or sit down on the floor to capture the perfect picture. Not only will you be able to see the world from their vantage point, but you’ll also have better perspective and angles when shooting.
In the picture above, Lucy was lying flat on her belly, so I got flat on my belly and shot right at her level. This has always been one of my favorite portraits of her.
2. Lighting is key: Most parents think that having great lighting can be replaced with a camera’s flash, but the flash can actually make children appear washed out. Instead, utilize indirect, natural lighting by shooting near a window in the house or under the shade of a tree.
There is so much you can do with lighting. You can create cool silhouette effects, or you can move to the shade to get away from the harsh sunlight. Below are two photos that show the different ways I used the same natural outdoor light, first as a silhouette effect and then with a flash to see the family:
3. Never stop shooting: For every good shot, there are typically about 8-10 bad ones, but that’s the beauty of having a digital camera! Change the setting to continuous shooting mode to capture lots of shots in the midst of action. Even most standard point-and-shoot cameras have some sort of “sport mode” that can accomplish this task.
I couldn’t agree with this more! Even the very best photographers get shots that aren’t very good, and that’s why we take so many pictures and only show the very best ones. Continuous shooting mode will eat your battery a little faster, but you can get some incredible sequence shots, and you may just get that perfect shot with your little one looking right at your camera.
4. Get to know your camera: Consult your camera’s manual or look up the settings online so that you can take full advantage of all of its different settings. Three key ones to experiment and get comfortable with are the aperture setting, the shutter speed and the ISO setting.
Yes, yes, YES!!! There is a reason your camera comes with a manual. It is full of tips, tricks, and “how-to”s for you to learn how to make your camera function to the best of its ability. If there are things you aren’t sure of, get online and google “how to use xx camera” – you may find forums, tips, and other ways that will help you out even more.
5. Consider black and white: Black and white photos are not only timeless and classic, but they can also easily cover up the redness and blotchiness on newborns and babies. Adjusting the black and white settings is usually easiest to do after the photo session in photoshop or picasa.
Black and white is an excellent option for a more “elegant” look… or to hide those blemishes. Look at the difference between this newborn picture in color and then in black and white:
6. Make it fun for them: Kids love to play with their parents, so turn a photo session into play time! Play games, tell jokes and sing songs with them – pretty soon, they’ll forget that you’re taking pictures.
I had one family in Ohio that actually requested I take photos of them dancing. We turned the music all the way up and they danced their hearts out. It ended up being their favorite portraits, and they had them blown up and put all over the walls of their house. Another tip: If you are taking photos, and you cannot get the kids to look at the camera and smile, take a break and allow them to take a few “funny face” pictures. It gets the smiling, and it helps them understand that the sooner they look and smile, the sooner they can be done. ;)
7. Get up close and personal: Get close or zoom in to capture all of the small details that make your child unique.
I am all about the super closeups. I’ve got tons of them of my kids. The first example above is one of my favorites, but here’s another one:
8. Pay attention to the background: Before you start shooting, make sure that any unwanted or distracting items, like a vacuum cleaner or piles of clothes, are out of the way and out of the shot.
Sometimes this can’t be helped, especially if you are shooting candid shots. But, if you are actually stopping what you are doing to take photographs, take your child to an area with a pretty background, or remove unwanted objects from your line of vision.
9. Bring your camera everywhere: You never know when inspiration will strike. Camera phones make it easier to capture the everyday moments with your children – they can take decent pictures, but don’t always print well because of their low resolution.
I have 2 cameras, my professional camera and a point and shoot that fits in my purse or the diaper bag. While my point and shoot is always on hand, 99% of the time, I have my professional camera in the trunk or car, just because you never know when you might happen along the perfect setting or lighting for that “must have” shot. And, yes, I do use my camera phone for some shots, but only to upload to Instagram or Facebook – never to print.
10. Show off their personality: Standard portrait photos are parent favorites, but don’t hesitate to shoot pictures of them in their natural settings and behaviors. Their quirky and adorable habits today can usually create the best photos that you’ll treasure years later.
I love natural, candid photos. And when I think of grabbing shots of my kids as they are, I have one photo that stands out in my mind, and always brings a smile to my face.
The photo above is of my son, Jace, when he was a little over 18 months. That’s just him, playing in the yard, clothes off, pretending to be a cowboy. It’s a shot I will treasure forever… and will someday use to embarrass him if necessary.
What do you think? Helpful tips? Anything you would add to them?
What if you’re still unsure about taking family photographs? Then, I’d highly recommend you check out the NAPCP website to find a professional child photographer in your area.
Whether you choose to use the photography tips above, or decide to contact a photographer through the NAPCP website, the NAPCP wants you to walk away with a way to “Fill your frames.”
To help you do just that, the NAPCP is offering one lucky Blessed Beyond Words reader a uniquely beautiful picture from from The Organic Bloom. Normally, these custom-designed frames are sold exclusively to professional photographers, but now you have the chance to win one of your very own!
To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and have not been influenced away. Tips provided by the NAPCP. The NAPCP and The Organic Bloom will provide one winner with a picture frame. I will also receive a picture frame of my own as a thank you for sharing this post.