Hey, friends! I’m excited to introduce a special guest today who is going to share some great tips with you while I’m learning and playing at BloggyConference! Faith, who is a blogger, a mama, and a pro-photographer is here to share her best tips with us on taking great portraits of children! Here she is…welcome, Faith!
Hey everyone!! I’m so very excited to be joining you all here at the One Artsy Mama community! I was thrilled when Amy asked if I would share some photography tips with you all! While I love blogging, my “real” job (besides being a mom) is a professional wedding and portrait photographer. I’ve been in business for 5 years this April and love my job! The best part is having the skills and equipment to photograph my own children.
So now I’m going to share some of my experience with you in hopes that it will encourage you to take out those cameras, snap away and create wonderful keepsakes of these fleeting childhood years! Since I can’t share everything all in once post I have provided links to articles throughout this post as well as at the end for further reading.
By far, my favorite types of children portraits are candid. I love catching my kids off-guard when they are really into something, have a random surprised expression, working hard on a project, or showing their sibling some love (shhh don’t tell!).
Let’s look at the image below……
Make a Collage and Tell A Story
Many people love to scrapbook and create storyboard from pictures. This is a great way to tell the story of a particular memory through pictures. To create an amazing collage you need to have a few key pictures in mind when you start shooting…
1. The Action Shot.
An action shot doesn’t necessarily have to mean a sports shot or kids running around the yard at 100 mph. Photographs where the main subject is captured in the act of doing something is an action shot too. In image #1 you can see my son drawing a picture. While you can only see the profile of his face, the main subject of this photograph isn’t his face, it’s WHAT he’s doing; drawing.
2. Filler & Detail Shots
Filler and detail shots are pretty self explanatory. You might want to take a picture of a crayon with your son in the back coloring like you see in #2. While you can’t see the his face because it’s out of focus, it creates a beautiful, creative shot that still helps tell the story. In image #4 you see a detail shot my son’s drawing.
3. The Main Subject Image
Somewhere in the collage you will need to have a picture focused on the main subject. In this case it was my son, the artist. This is the shot where you want to capture the face, the expressions, etc. It doesn’t mean the child has to be looking at the camera. Most of the time children will have a more natural expression if they don’t know you’re there. (Or in my case…my children are so used to me taking a million photos of them they just block me out!)
The Magic of Lighting
1. Indoor Ambient Light
I prefer natural light over flash photography for day time photos. 🙂 Let’s look at image #3 in the collage above. My son was sitting next to a dining room window and the light reflected off his drawing paper onto his face creating the perfect lighting situation. Windows are amazing lighting sources indoors. Unless you’re using creative lighting techniques and need the orange glow of a sunset, the best time of day is midday because the sun is overhead and the light coming in from the windows is clean, white ambient light. Reflective surfaces such as paper, books, even a bright stuffed animal can work well in these situations and be used to reflect light onto the subject’s face eliminating shadows.
2. Outdoor Ambient Light
The best time of day to capture outdoor photographs is either one hour before sunset, often referred to as the “golden hour” or about an hour after sunrise. Since most of my clients don’t like to roll out of bed that early on a Saturdaymorning I photograph many of my portrait sessions in the evenings. If the sun is bright and there’s not a cloud in sight, make sure to have your subject facing at about a 45 degree angle to the sun so the light illuminates their face without causing them to squint (due to staring right at the bright light). Having your subject in front of your light source and exposing the background (some cameras have auto settings for this) will create a silhouette.
If its the middle of the day (with the sun shining bright) and you want to capture some nice shots, look for a shaded area by some trees or brush. Stand on something so you are higher above the child and ask them to look at you. This will brighten their eyes and create beautiful catchlights as they look up toward the sky. Overcast days are also GREAT for capturing catchlights and you won’t need to go to a shaded area since the clouds provide a filter for the sunlight.
Let Kids Be Kids
1. Kids Are Super: Let Them Dress Like It
The BEST photoshoot I ever had with my kids was letting them dress up in costume for pictures! Yes, it’s nice to have those “perfect” portraits, but are they really always so perfect? Usually someone’s blinking, saying “cheese” so hard that they have a fake smile, has tear-filled eyes, or is downright throwing a tantrum and being forced against their will to have a picture taken. Been there? I know we have. So let loose and have fun!! Toss all of those expectations out the window and let kids be kids. My kids had SUCH a blast with this photoshoot and this is something that could be easily done outside. If they want to wear a princess crown in the picture, sure why not? You’ll probably catch a better smile if she has the crown on because she’ll feel like a real princess. 🙂
2. Photograph Them In Their Natural Habitat
Yes, I’m still referring to children, not wildlife. 🙂 Let your kids outside to play and just follow them around. When you see a moment seize it! Watch them as they explore. Capture their faces, dirty hands and feet, and what they’re doing. Get down on their level. Don’t shoot from above them. If you can kneel down and shoot from their level and seeing what they’re seeing. In the image below you will see that my two boys were hugging each other while playing down near Grandma’s pond. Thankfully I had my camera but the first shot wasn’t clear enough. I said very casually to my two year old, “Awe that was so sweet, go ahead, give him another hug.” That time the shot came out perfect. Sometimes you can assist in creating the shot without them knowing they’re being posed.
There is so much information I would LOVE to share with you but I must refrain from writing a full blown novel here. 🙂 I hope you find this information useful! Now go out there and shoot!
For further reading check out these valuable articles to help expand your photography skills:
Faith is a wife and stay at home mom of four children. She has three boys and a girl who keep her on her toes, teach her new things each day, inspire her, and at times drive her crazy! Faith is also a professional wedding and portrait photographer, running a small business, Photography Central, on nights and weekends. She has felt a calling into youth ministry since the young age of 15 and uses her role as Mommy and her blog at Artistic Hands of Faith to fulfill that calling. She loves anything hands on and creative and enjoys using her artistic talents for God’s glory.