Saturday, October 12, 2013

Taking Good Pictures (of your kids): 31 Days of Intentional Living

Why don't you take more pictures?

What keeps you from pulling the camera out and photographing your family more?

Is it time? Do you always forget your camera? Do you feel frustrated because pictures you take of your kids never turn out well?

Last Saturday, I wrote about how being proactive in documenting life (through pictures or video) helps tell our stories. And I promised to give you some pointers so you can get out there and be more intentional about taking pictures of your kids.

Here are some tips I have found useful when photographing children:

  • Be flexible!
You can choose the location, but let your kids lead the actions (for the most part). Follow them, engage them, but most importantly, photograph them exploring their world. Sure you can pose a few, but don't waste time getting them all in the "right" position.

Photography by Christy Mae

  • Don't waste time!
Kids have a short attention span. Realize the longer it takes, the less cooperative they will probably be. Get right to it without wasting a lot of time with prep or set-ups.

  • Get on their eye level!
The best shots may mean crawling around on your hands and knees or sitting in the grass with your child. Experiment with different angles and heights. Have fun and try to think outside the box!

Photography by Christy Mae

  • Be aware of your surroundings!
A good photo can be taken in your own backyard. Just be aware of backgrounds — don't shoot your son with a trash can behind him or your daughter with the family car in the way. Unwanted items (even people) can distract from a good shot.

  • Don't be afraid to shoot close-up!
If there is one thing I've noticed is people seem to be afraid of the zoom button. How you crop your photo is almost as important as what's in it. Far away shots are nice, if the backdrop is important. Try zooming in for a more intimate, close-up shot.

Photography by Christy Mae

  • Don't be afraid to improvise!
If your child isn't cooperating try engaging them with an activity. Throwing leaves or jumping into a leaf pile can be fun. Let them blow some bubbles or climb a tree. Picture taking should be fun.

Photography by Christy Mae

  • Avoid "cheese-y" fake smiles!
You can tell the difference between a real smile and a fake one. After a while, most kids (heck, most adults) start plastering on a cheesy grin. Laughter is the best medicine for a fake smile — that and a wiggle break. Just not too long or you'll lose them for good!

  • Shoot a lot of pictures!
Now that we're in the digital age you don't have to worry about running out or wasting film. Instead of taking one or two, take like five (or more) at a given location or pose. Experiment and try different things. They won't all work out, but you'll have more of a chance of scoring a "winner" the more shots you take.
Photography by Christy Mae

So there you have it, you can be more intentional in capturing memories when you understand how to take good pictures. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy the process.

This is a post in a series, called 31 days of Intentional Living. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith

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