I’m no professional photographer but through this blogging journey I have learned a lot about taking fun pictures of my kids and I really wanted to share with you six of my top tips for awesome pickies.
I’m no professional photographer (I am an instagram addict though) but through this blogging journey I have learned a lot about taking fun pictures of my kids and I really wanted to share with you six of my top tips for awesome pickies.
You don’t need fancy equiptment, but it helps.
I’m going to quickly talk about cameras. You don’t need to be a photographer type to get great pictures but a good camera will really make all the difference. Some type of DSLR (you know the big ones that have removable lenses) is going to give you the best results so if you have a kind and generous family member who would lend you one then that is a great start. To take these pictures I used a Nikon D3100 with a 35mm lense, I basically take all my pictures with this set up. If it’s not possible to get a fancy camera, don’t stress, some of my favourite photos ever were taken on an iphone. If you have great light then you don’t need a great camera.
You want to light that baby up. (see what I did there)
Lighting is the number one thing that matters when you are trying to get fun, active pictures of kids. In all photography really. Basically, unless you want broody dramatic shots or a silhouette then the more natural light you have the better your pictures will turn out. My go-to place for photoshoots is our bed, there is a big window right next to it, the walls are white and I just rip off the colourful doona. This turns my room into a makeshift photo studio that bounces all the light around. As tempted as I was to leave my bright blue cover on (because it’s such a great colour) you can’t beat white for lighting. Even if your walls are coloured, a white sheet on a mattress is going to bounce the light up and illuminate their faces really beautifully.
Check out my other Instagram and photography related posts here.
The focus needs to be on the kids.
I like plain backgrounds, either a blank wall or some sort of repeated pattern like a tall garden fence or bricks. This will give your picture lots of negative space and make your kids stand out. There is nothing wrong with a wall that has some sort of artwork on it, especially if it’s one that you really love, but just be careful because anything in the background can make the picture look unbalanced if it’s not placed within the photograph perfectly. So although artwork can be a great feature, it can also leave you open to awkwardness. Same goes for garden or park pictures. If you are a great photographer with a fancy camera then of course there are lots of spots with beautiful landscapes but I’m talking about a basic-can’t-go-wrong-if-you-try photoshoots and this one is foolproof.
Time to pick the threads.
There are no rules except to make sure they don’t clash. I know it’s totally nineties but am a huge fan of matching outfits as long as they are super funky, it’s hard to go wrong! Buuut, it always turns out best if you pick outfits that firstly, suit your children’s complexion and secondly, have similar colour schemes. A lovely photographer once told me to dress the family like each item on everyone in the picture could be worn together. That was a really awkward way of saying that but basically, ask yourself; would his top go with her skirt and if they swapped shoes would the outfit still work? But again, there are no hard and fast rules, I picked these outfits because the white and bright colours look great on their sunkissed skin. Scout's playsuit is by KIDSAGOGO and Squawk's gorgeous outfit is c/o Pip Organic Clothing.
So do we go for props?
Ok, so I will never and have never put my child inside a flower pot or pumpkin for a photo but I am a huge fan of introducing something to the environment for the kids to play with. For these pictures I gave them a handful of felt balls and although you can only see them in some pics, the kids were having lots of fun bouncing them and throwing them around. I am planning on doing something similar to this but with confetti at some point, how cool would that be? You also can’t go wrong with bubbles or balloons – basically anything that lights their face up is a winner. If you are going to use balloons consider only using one or two colours for a more professional look. In this shoot, yellow would have looked awesome. Also, favourite stuffed toys always come up amazingly, especially if they are all scruffy and contrasted on a clean white background.
So now what do you say to make them behave?
In my past life as a drama teacher I learned a lot about children’s natural character, it never comes out well when stuff is too structured, but with just a bit of a framework, kids do amazing things. So you will never find me trying to get kids to ‘pose’ or ‘smile’, I like to confine them to a space (my bed) and tell them to dance or jump. This way you can stand in one spot (or maybe two) and catch all the fun. Apart from the lighting in this room being awesome, I also love how jumping on our bed brings them so much joy so there will never be a stuffy or awkward photo taken here.
Now where do I point the camera?
So long as you have a blank background and some seriously unbridled fun then framing doesn’t matter so much, it sometimes looks awesome when half of one kid is cut out, there are feet in the way of a face or someone is awkwardly placed in the frame. When in doubt I always think of what another very talented photographer once told me, get in really close (think chubby fingers and grazed knees) or move right back and take in the whole room. It is also more important to catch the moment than be picky, it could all be over in less than a minute, hypothetically, when someone bites their sister on the shoulder and the whole shoot goes in the pooper.
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Jess @ A Little Part of the World
Great tips Babs. I love photographing my kids and with me doing a photography course the poor things are my subjects ALL the time!! I adore the photos of the kids mid air on the bed!! cracking shot the the ‘hypothetical’ biting on the shoulder!! awesome! I’ve soooo been there!! I currently have a 19 month old miss who REFUSES to leave her 3.5 yr old brother alone. Jx
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
Awesome tips and super shots! I love that one of the mid air jump – what a cracker of a capture!
Great tips, I am a beginner photographer and learning slowly. Finally found someone with the same camera as me! Will check out the 35mm lens, most courses talk about the 50mm lens which I don’t have so find tutorials a little frustrating sometimes when my shots come out funny. Love the shots of your kids. xx
I would love a 50mm! That is on my wishlist! I’m so glad you liked it!
Thanks Sammy, I love that one too!
Yup, that’s exactly the same age as mine! it’s like constantly having to run interference! Thanks so much!
Fleur @ Our Urban Box
Really, no flower pot?? Not even one??? You know there are those places in the malls that still actually use them *shudder* Bahahaaa… Thanks for the great tips Babs. When taking pics of my kids outside I do try and stand them against a brick wall or fence, and I consider the light so I am learning bits ever so slowly. The mid air shot is the best!
Sonia Life Love Hiccups
OMG the cuteness in these pics are practically melting me.I cannot wait to meet those little cherubs of yours hun xx
erin @ erinmadethis.com
Erry time I see your pice they look profesh. Good job love x
Great tips Babs! Love the bites shot xx
Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions
Excellent tips mate!I love taking pics of the kids, they are definitely my most favourite subject! I would love a 35mm prime, they are just so expensive! I think that’s why I love my 50mm 1.4 so much, it takes awesome pics without the awesome price tag. It was only $450, and the 1.8 is only $150, definintely worth the investment and a nifty fifty is perfect for taking shots of the girls.