Take Better Photos of Your Kids?

I originally wrote this post for 5 minutes for mom.

I recently posted about the drama that unfolded behind the scenes of our most recent family photo shoot. I asked some photographer friends what I could have done as the mom to make it less of a disaster as well as how I could get some better pictures of my kids in daily life. They gave me these 12 tips for taking better photos of kids and I wanted to share them with you!

www.emily.bridgmanphotography.com

www.emily.bridgmanphotography.com

From Emily Bridgman of Mesa, Arizona

1. Go for the posed picture first then right into the fun! Have genuine interaction with your child.  BE with them, make them feel comfortable and figure out what grabs their attention. Then, when it comes time to get THE shot they have forgotten they don't like getting their pictures taken.  Remember: it only takes ONE picture!

2. A "say cheese" smile isn't real and does not reach the eyes of your child.  If all else fails, try the "whatever you do, DON'T smile" tactic.  That gets them every time!

http://www.pikkuarkki.com/

http://www.pikkuarkki.com/

From Sarah Frechette of Helsinki, Finland

3.  Bribe them.  Raisins, M&M's, ice cream, whatever it takes.  Ice cream is also awesome.  It keeps kids happy and is adorable to photograph.  

4. No matter what-NO MATTER WHAT- parents are in a good mood.  A photo can be salvaged if parents are smiling in a picture where kids are melting down.  It becomes a funny memory- maybe your favorite photo of the bunch.  Parents set the tone.  If parents get irritated, kids pick up on that, and it's pretty much over.

http://www.miahoren.com/

http://www.miahoren.com/

From Miah Oren of Dallas, Texas

5. Kids don't always know how to smile on command.  Often children are trying hard to please their parents, but the situation is overwhelming.  Remember that having a beautiful photograph of themselves is not something kids are that interested in.

6. Be flexible with your vision for the photos.  That precious genuine smile from your child will look more beautiful than a sad face, even if the lighting is bad or the location isn't pinterest-perfect.

http://pixbyemily.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

http://pixbyemily.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

From Emily Johnston of Gilbert, Arizona

7. Lower your expectations.  Sometimes photographing a child can feel like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks.  Accept the season of life you are in.  1 year olds drool, 2 year olds scream NO and any kid three years and older move 100 mph in a 100 foot radius.  Embrace the unique blessings that come with each season. 

8. Lower yourself.  Get down on your knees.  Some of my favorite shots were taken while lying on my stomach.  Enter their world and capture them from their perspective.

https://www.facebook.com/CaptivatingReflections

https://www.facebook.com/CaptivatingReflections

From Amanda Mills of Santa Maria, California

9. Let them be themselves.  Some of the best photos are the ones where kids are just being kids.

10. Photograph the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's not about perfection.  It’s about memories.

http://476photography.com/

http://476photography.com/

From Aaron Wheeler of Beijing, China

11. Lighting is key. If there’s not enough light where you’re standing, move somewhere else. Take outdoor pictures at sunrise and sunset.  When inside, remember that windows are your friends. Try to use a north-facing window during mid-day. Avoid using your flash whenever possible as it is the most unflattering light source available and should only be wielded when trying to blackmail someone. 

12. Whatever isn’t adding to your photo is taking away from it. Every stray toy or wall hanging draws the attention away from the person or people that you want everyone to focus on. The problem is that what’s good for photography isn’t good for decorating, and so few of us have an open space with bare walls in our homes. If you don’t have an empty area in your home, make one (preferably near a window.) If all else fails, remember that the least decorated spaces are the floors and the ceiling. Get creative and make them work for you.

Aren't those great tips?!  I sure do have a lot of talented friends.  If any of them are near you, I highly recommend them.