In the world of Pinterest, it seems like there are thousands upon thousands of pictures of children smiling on que. Perfect children that are happy to pose, laugh, and quietly blow bubbles. Who are those children? Now that my son is walking, it seems like most of his energy is focused on trying to head out the front door!
In non Pinterest life, when your own attempts do not produce the same results it can feel like failing. I often feel this way about my own photos and I love photography! People will remark how I take great pictures of Noah and tell me that they just aren't able to take good pictures of their own kids. The truth is, I have the same limitations that everyone has, aka taking pictures of a live moving child. But I have found ways to keep pressing on, to not give up, and to maximize what I am able to capture.
I wanted to start a series of blog posts about tips to overcome obstacles. Great pictures of your kids are possible! I should say, some great pictures of your kids are possible. Some will be bad, in fact most may be bad, thats okay! The ones that are good are worth it and can bring actual tears to your eyes. For those pictures we press on!
Pull your camera out and keep it out. Some of you may exclusively be using your Iphone.
That little beast does take some great photos! This tip is for those of you that have invested in a DSLR (a digital camera) for "family photos." Pull that guy out of the closet and have it in close access to you. You are never going to capture impromptu candid shots if it lives in the dark. Most DSLR's are built tougher than you think and can stand to be out and ready to use. Mine lives on my desk.
I keep it high enough so Noah can't reach it, but close enough for me to grab quickly. If my camera lived inside a bag in the closet, I would question whether it was worth to bring it out when I wanted to take a picture. With it ready to use there is no question, it is ready, use it!
You're less likely to feel frustrated at not taking the perfect picture during the one day of the month that you have your camera out. If it's ready to go you will start using it more often, and it may become your go to instead of your Iphone.
Take photos in excess. This is a simple game of numbers. I cannot tell you how many photos that I take of Noah that are simply no good. He is not looking, it is blurry, he is eating a K cup, you get the picture.
Shoot, shoot, shoot, and delete most of them. No one has to see the bad ones! Who cares how many are bad. Sometimes I laugh at how many pictures I took to get one decent shot.
Talk to your kids while you are shooting, stop and play with them, give them Ice cream (wait is that bribery?), change up what room you are in, but just keep shooting.
Pay attention to how long you have actually been taking pictures, you'll often find that it's only been a minute or so. Challenge yourself to take ten minutes of pictures off and on. More than likely a few of them are going to be beautifully candid or capture a happy moment that will bring you joy in years to come.
Lighting! Light makes a big difference in photos, in fact the most important difference. Most indoor light bulbs, Tungsten lights, can make skin tones look a bit weird. Try turning off all the lights in the room where you are taking pictures, pull back all the curtains and raise the blinds.
Look at the gorgeous window light on your children's faces. It is pure and elegant and will make an immediate difference. Look around your home at rooms that get the best light. This will also change depending on what time of the day it is. How do you know if it has the best light? That room will feel bright and beautiful. Don't pay any attention to what the room actually looks like, if it has the best light it will be the best place to photograph them! Move your children into that room.
Light walls, white bedspreads, and white tubs all act as reflectors (something to bounce light back at your subject) and make the room feel brighter. Bring your kids closer to the window for even more light.
North facing windows typically have beautiful light in the morning. You can use the compass on your Iphone to figure out exactly what windows are North facing, my smart friend Anna Reynal showed me that trick. My master bedroom is flooded with gorgeous light in the morning. It is velvety and warm. I will often bring Noah in there when he wakes up and simply let him play, knowing that I am already at the best possible place in my home to capture beautiful photos of him.
Great pictures of your kids are absolutely possible! With knowledge and persistence you can set yourself up for success that will have you beaming when you look at your pictures. Yes, there will still be many non beam worthy photos but thats okay! Keep practicing and the rewards will begin to speak for themselves.
I will be sharing more tips in this series of blog posts but am excited to hear some tips of your own! Leave them in the comments below. At the end of the day, we are all just
mommas trying to capture the ones we love most.