As a photographer and a mom, I get a lot of questions about how to take good, everyday photos of kids. The information I know about taking a quality picture is no secret. The basics of good photography are not reserved for professionals, and with a little time and practice, anyone can take a photo worth framing.
1. Learn how to use your camera in manual mode. Most parents I see out and about have invested in a good digital SLR camera, but until they learn to switch off the auto settings, the images will just be average (which is fine if that’s all you’re going for.) It took me months of trial and error and watching YouTube videos to figure it out, but the results are undeniable. I cannot stress it enough — learn to use your camera to its full potential!
2. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight if you don’t have to. Yes, sunlight is gorgeous, but it also causes harsh shadows and squinty eyes on the faces of your little ones. If you’re shooting in the middle of the day, find the shade of a tree or a building. My favorite time to shoot is an hour before sunset with the sun setting behind my subject.
3. Turn off the flash during the day. I never use my flash in the daytime. Once you learn to use your camera’s manual settings, it will become easier to make your image lighter or darker as you see fit. The flash washes out your subjects and makes them appear two-dimensional. Shadows are what add depth and interest to an image; the flash will make your photo seem flat and boring.
4. When inside, find the natural light. During Oregon’s dark months, it’s hard to get outside for a good photo. When I’m inside, I try to position Liam next to a window that has a lot of natural light coming through; that way, I don’t need to use a flash, and he doesn’t have a yellow skin tone from artificial light, such as lamps.
5. Don’t try to force poses. Every time I try to pose Liam, I end up with a screaming baby. It takes a little bit of patience and good timing, but my best photos of Liam are candid shots. It sometimes helps to bring a toy or two to keep him interested and happy.
Now go out and shoot!
Anne Creighton Blodgett is a former News-Review reporter who now has her own photography business. She is also one of eight moms who contribute weekly to the Douglas County Moms blog on nrtoday.com. She also has a personal blog at http://www.aviewfromthefrontpack.com.
The basics of good photography are not reserved for professionals only, and with a little time and practice, anyone can take a photo worth framing.