I want to preface this post by saying that I’m just a mom who loves to take cute pictures of her kids – I’m not a professional at. all. I took one photography class in college which I remember precious little from, and have learned most things through lots of trial and error, and help from my “fancy” DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. I love my iPhone’s camera, it’s so handy and accessible I probably take 80% of pictures with it, you can get some great ones! But I can say if you like that “professional look” then a DSLR is the way to go. That camera has played a huge part in helping me get some pretty gorgeous, professional-looking, pictures of my kids. I don’t even go to photography studios any more!
Here’s what I’ve learned about taking pictures of small children:
1. Go outside. Outside is just better for pictures, when you can make it happen – the background is generally more appealing and most importantly the light is 1,000,000 times better outside (just make sure the light is behind you, not behind the subject). If I take a picture where I needed a flash, I already know that even photo-editing isn’t going to make me like it. This tip is easy when you’re at Disneyland, since you’re outside most of the time, and when you’re inside you’re usually not supposed to be taking pictures anyway (*wink*).
2. Timing is key. Timing is important for two reasons: 1) Don’t try to take pictures at a time when they’re tired/hungry/cranky/etc. – pick a happy time when they’re feeling good or they’re doing/watching something (like watching a parade) that’s making them happy. 2) Don’t spend a long time taking the pictures. If you have little kids you know what they’re attention span is like, yep, snap-your-fingers short. Take pictures for as long as they’re happy and into it, but don’t expect much more than 15 or 20 minutes. And if it’s just not working out at that moment, give up and try again in an hour, if anyone involved in frustrated then no one will enjoy the experience.
3. Have help. In pretty much every decent picture I’ve taken of my kids, there is someone or someones standing behind me doing insane and embarrassing things to get the kids to look and smile – but hey it works! When you’re in the Parks consider the Characters and Cast Members your help!
4. Get low. After a year or so of taking the same so-so pictures, I finally figured it out (face-palm) that I needed some new perspective – mainly the kids’ perspective. Get down where they are, no more standing and pointing the camera down at them! When you crouch down and get on their level, and experiment with some new perspectives and angles – it will totally change the quality and unique factor of your photos. Not only will you get a better view of your child’s adorable face, but the background doesn’t have to just be the ground – look here to see BiD’s Top 10 places to take pictures in Disneyland and Top 5 places in California Adventure.
5. Snap away. One of the reasons I love my digital camera is because it has this “action” mode – all I have to do is hold down the shutter button and it clicks away taking a couple shots a second, focusing itself whenever I or the subject move. Because the shutter speed is so fast you may need to adjust the brightness on the photo later, but it will look just as nice. The only problem is you may have to wade through a hundred or so bad photos to find that one money shot, but getting “the one” makes it all worthwhile!
I’ve only had my DLSR for a couple of years now, and although I tried to get some really nice pics of the kids at our last Disneyland trip, it was a half-hearted effort in between running to attractions – I don’t even want to show them to you. One of my 2013 goals is to take my time with picture-taking when at the Resort this year and get some really great ones. So here are some pics I took outside, when she was happy, with my helper, getting down on her level, and snap-snapping away:
|This is how I get that smile out of Carolina for her pics, Liam is a great little photographer’s helper.|
|Being 3, he’s easier to get to sit still for pictures, but the “cheesy” smile factor comes into play, we get a real smile out of him when we ask if he wants dessert 😉|
Those are my 5 tricks for getting good pics of the kids, hopefully they are helpful and get you excited to snap some great new photos! What do you do that works when taking pictures of your little kids?
Read more from Jessica on her blog, Idahome. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or on Instagram at @jesshner.