Take Better Photos of your Children
Keeping a record of your children as they grow up is something most parents love to do. Don’t we just love to take photographs of everything the kids do, from birth to graduation and beyond?
However, we all too often find the pictures disappointing when they come back from processing or when we download them onto our computers. But there are some basic rules to follow which will ensure we take pictures to look back on with pleasure.
- There are basics that apply no matter what you are photographing. Fingers must never stray over the lens – in fact you should never touch the lens if possible, as cleaning it could cause scratches however careful you are. You need to keep the camera as still as possible. Hold it with both hands and stand with your feet slightly apart to keep yourself steady while taking your shot.
- One of the hardest things to get your brain around when you first start taking pictures is that what you see in the viewfinder is pretty much what you will get in your picture. When I got my first camera I remember trying to photograph aeroplanes and being utterly amazed that the pictures came back with a lot of sky and a tiny spec in the middle, rather than a close-up picture.
- If the subject of your picture is tiny in the viewfinder it will be tiny in the picture. If it is fuzzy or doesn’t quite fit in, that is how your picture will look. So, if you want to show your kids happy faces step closer or zoom in if you have a zoom facility on your camera.
- Next, look at your background. The simpler you keep the background the better. For a posed shot, try to find a pale, plain coloured wall. For your holidays and days out try to avoid placing people where trees or lampposts will seem to grow out of their heads and cluttered backgrounds which will distract from the subject of the picture
- Finally, consider lighting. How many great shots have been ruined as everyone is squinting because the sun is in their eyes? Ignore the advice you saw on the envelope your last set of prints came back in. Don’t make your family stare into the sun, risking retina damage and sunburn. Photograph in the shade and use flash.
Some kids love posing for pictures and some simply will not be photographed. If you don’t want people asking if one of your children didn’t go on the family holiday this year, you may have to get sneaky with some candid shots. These are much easier if you have a zoom facility on your camera, but it is not impossible.
Take some tips from bird watchers and try some camouflage. You may need to hide your camera behind a book, towel or hat and grab a quick shot of your shy family member. Remember also that younger ones may fall for the trick where you set up the shot, yell “Hey There!” and grab a shot as they look around. However it will only work a few times during the week!
Above all try to make taking photographs fun for everyone, don’t spend ages posing the family and don’t stick the camera in the kid’s faces when they are tired and fractious.
Why not take along a cheap or disposable camera for the kids to use on days out or on holiday? After all if you keep photographing them it’s only fair that they should be able to get their own back!
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.