Keep it simple! Gaudy colours and patterns are harder to match to the backgrounds, as are tops with branded logos on. However a generic top or jumper with a suitable or ironic quote that matches the child’s personality can be fun! “Whatever”, “Here Comes Trouble” or “Princess in Training” can add some humour.
Take some photos of your child in their favourite clothes, even if it is a football shirt or dance outfit. They won’t say no to a chance to dress up! For girls, a cute bow or hair accessory to match their outfit makes a nice addition and can be left in its original colour while the rest of the photo is turned black and white for an arty, impactful photograph.
Get to their eye level
Don’t just shoot from your great adulty height advantage. Get down on the floor with the kids! This not only lets you photograph the world from their point of view but also lets you make a more direct and personal eye contact. It also avoids you shooting from above all the time and making their heads look huge and their feet tiny…unless you’re going for that sort of thing.
Don’t be afraid to get in close! Fill your camera frame with their cute little faces. It makes for a far better shot than when they’re a speck in the distance surrounded by all sorts of distracting clutter…which brings me onto my next tip:
Find a clean background
It doesn’t just have to be a plain white wall. Even simply patterned wallpaper makes a pretty and unique backdrop for your photos. Move a chair, a lamp, take a picture down from the wall. Get them to lie on the floor/carpet/rug and take some pictures from above! If you are shooting outside in the garden or park, move them away from distracting elements like a rickety fence or gaudy play area, get close to them, fill the frame and this will help to blur the background.
Focus on the eyes
It is, after all, the window to the soul! Or you could do a series of features, focusing on their eyes, eyelashes, cheeks, nose, lips, little fingers and toes.
Use natural light
A window or a cloudy day make for the ideal shooting conditions. Contrary to popular belief, shooting in bright sunshine in the middle of the day is one of the worst times to shoot! You don’t want squinty eyes and shadows from bright sunlight. Clouds diffuse the sun and make for a more even light and flattering photo.
Avoid turning on a lamp or ceiling light during daytime hours, you don’t want to mix two different light sources. Instead get the child to turn towards a window or if they refuse to be complacent, make a silhouette against the window light!
Be patient, let the kids lead
OK, so you may not get the perfectly posed, cute smile, sitting with their hands neatly folded in their laps, but you will get plenty of candid pictures that better show off your children’s personality. Play with them, photograph them as they play. For younger children get your significant other to pick them up and swing them upside down; play peek-a-boo with their treasured baby blanket.
Don’t just take one shot and be done with it. We’re not wasting precious film like in the olden days! Take a burst of shots. You’ll either get one in perfect focus or if you get a few you can make a series of arty prints to put in a frame on the wall.
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